Thursday, 24.02.2022 - Bamako - Mali

Workshop to present the results of the study : From a focus on security to diplomatic dialogue : should a negotiated stability be considered in the Sahel ?

On Thursday 24 February 2022, the Peace and Security Competence Centre of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES PSCC) organised a workshop in Bamako to present the results of the study : From a focus on security to diplomatic dialogue : should a negotiated stability be considered in the Sahel ? by Baba Dakono, Executive Secretary of the Citizen's Observatory on Governance and Security, Mali. This activity was attended by academics, researchers, government representatives, defence and security forces, research institutes, international organisations, civil society organisations and women's organisations from Mali.

The Sahel region has long been confronted with political and humanitarian crises, and for more than a decade now has been in a spiral of violence against which the security responses envisaged until now appear to be less and less effective. This insecurity in the Sahel, characterised by the activism of violent extremist groups, transnational organised crime and the resurgence of local conflicts, is above all the consequence of the fragility of states. In most cases, it is the result of the inability or sometimes the inefficiency of states to integrate border areas into national policies. It is also due to the absence or low level of productive investment in these areas. The lack of protection and deficits in access to basic social services, particularly in rural communities, have slowly eroded trust in the state and weakened the social contract between the state and the population. This has made the presence and authority of states highly questionable and created an environment for the emergence of 'alternative' forces such as violent extremist groups and vigilante militias.

Yet, since the security crisis in Mali began in 2012 and spread to the region, notably to Burkina Faso and Niger, numerous initiatives, with a military focus, have been taken. Thus, from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to the G5 Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S) and the Barkhane operation, there is what some have called a "security logjam" in the region. Today, several years after the beginning of this crisis, the security situation remains precarious, and more and more voices are being raised within civil society, not only in the region, to demand a political management of insecurity in the Sahel. The option of dialogue with violent extremist groups seems to be part of this approach.

The study presents an analytical overview of the security contexts and highlights the important dynamics underlying the situations in the countries concerned (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger). It analyses the issue of negotiated stability for security crisis management and suggests options where appropriate.

This meeting, moderated by Mrs. Fanta Sadibou KONE, Programme Coordinator AROP-MALI, aimed to present the results of the study to the various actors for greater appropriation and popularisation. The comments of the study's discussant, Dr. Mariame SIDIBE, Project Manager of the Sahel Analysis, Monitoring and Learning Platform (Mali), as well as the debates and sharing of experiences, enabled a better understanding of certain security dynamics in the region, reinforced the idea of the future of negotiation as a strategy for containing instability in the Sahel, and enriched the study's recommendations.

The study is available in the publication section of the website.

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