UNODC and the Embassy of Palestine in Senegal collaborate to engage the Arab community in the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel
On 7 April 2015, the Ambassadors of Arab countries in Dakar participated in a roundtable meeting organized by the Embassy of the State of Palestine and UNODC in Dakar, Senegal.
The Sahel region is increasingly affected by a number of transnational threats, ranging from drugs, firearms and human trafficking to radical terrorism, facilitated by corruption, which remains unpunished in many cases. The region is also affected by many chronic and acute crises, exacerbated by these criminal flows that undermine development and reduce the ability of countries to meet the basic needs of their citizens, such as security or food sufficiency.
Moderated by His Excellency Abdalrahim Alfarra, Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Dakar, the event, supported by the Embassy of the State of Kuwait, brought together the ambassadors of Arab countries accredited in Senegal (more than 17 countries represented) around these key themes for the first time.
Pierre Lapaque, the UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, presented the challenges of transnational organized crime in the region. As he explained, "one of the sources of funding of AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and associated groups comes from various forms of trafficking including drugs, cigarettes, fuel and ransom payments in exchange of hostages". The geographic scope, scale and the interdependence of these crimes are a major cause of insecurity and political volatility ravaging the development efforts of many countries.
Regarding these issues, UNODC's efforts fit into the framework of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel 2013-2017 (based on three pillars - governance, resilience and security) and aim to support the development of accessible, effective and accountable criminal justice systems in the states of the region, while also strengthening their detection and border control capacities.
Mr. Robert Piper, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, also recalled the imminent need for a coordinated, coherent and integrated approach for of all humanitarian agencies in the region. Food insecurity, malnutrition and virus outbreaks are among the chronic problems affecting the Sahel, which require lasting structural investments and effective humanitarian assistance to vulnerable groups and those displaced by acute attacks.