The Sahel region faces a set of overlapping peace, security and development threats and challenges. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the region has witnessed a stark increase in inter-communal conflict and an upsurge in terrorist attacks, with terrorist groups expanding their territorial foothold at an alarming rate. Response measures to curb the spread of the pandemic are jeopardizing the jobs and livelihoods of populations in the Sahel, most notably the informal sector. These compounded threats have together resulted in an increasingly worsened humanitarian situation, with rising food insecurity and large-scale displacement; creating life-threatening conditions for the region‟s millions of inhabitants of the region.
In the face of such challenges, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Sahel region is in dire need of a new modus operandi. To date, the plethora of strategies launched by the various actors at the different governance levels have been insufficient in capturing and addressing the complex realities on the ground. Now more than ever, Sahelian states must strive to promote interlinkages and synergies, both among themselves and with international, regional and sub-regional organizations. Accordingly, this session will take stock of how the pandemic has affected international and continental peace and development efforts in the Sahel region. It will discuss the need for reassessing priorities in the Sahel region on the short, medium, and long terms, as well as the need for coherent partnerships and coordination; most importantly the integration of approaches (including programming and funding) with the goal of relief, recovery and resilience building.