UNODC facilitates security cooperation between G5 Sahel States

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On the 6 and 7 October 2015 UNODC experts took part in a workshop on the formulation of the legal and institutional framework for cooperation on security and defense between the G5 Sahel States. This event followed a meeting held last May in Niamey between ministers in charge of security in the region, during which UNODC offered its assistance to the G5 Sahel in order to elaborate the legal framework at the basis of the institutions' creation.

This meeting also allowed experts from the G5 Sahel to examine and pre-validate two texts prepared by UNODC defining the powers of the Defense and Security expert, and regarding the functioning of the Security Cooperation Platform. Such texts, prepared by UNODC following numerous consultations with experts from regional States, were also submitted to ministerial authorities of the Sahel G5 for examination and eventual signature during a meeting scheduled for December in N'Djamena, Chad.

The Minister of African Integration and International Cooperation, H.E. Mr Cheickna Seydi Ahmady Diawara, presided over the opening ceremony alongside the Permanent Secretary of the Sahel G5, Mr Najim Elhadj Mohamed, and the UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, Mr Pierre Lapaque.

During his opening speech, Mr Lapaque stated that: "the ratification of the document [...] will testify not only to the dynamism that prevails within your young organization, but will also contribute to the reinforcement of its credibility internationally and to the acknowledgement by other international actors of the importance of the role it must play in the fields of regional and international security".

Created in December 2014 in order to coordinate the development and security policies of the regional States, the Sahel G5 is an institutional framework bringing together Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

To this end, and in parallel to this regional event, Mr Pierre Lapaque met with the President of the Republic of Mali, H.E. Mr M. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Prime Minister, H.E. Modibo Keita, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, H.E. Mrs Sanogo Aminata Mallé as well as the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark, H.E. Mrs Winnie Estrup Petersen, over the course of hearings granted to him.

Mr Pierre Lapaque and H.E. Mr M. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
Mr Pierre Lapaque and H.E. Mr M. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

The different personalities encountered expressed their concern regarding the upsurge in transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking in Mali following the 2012 coup d'état. As a result, they indicated their desire to work with UNODC, recognized as a key partner on these issues, in order to reinforce Malian capacities in the fight against such scourges. The Regional Representative likewise assured the authorities that UNODC was ready to assist them in this respect, to help and offer guidance, as the custodian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Organized within the framework of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, these meetings represent a new step in the institutionalization of the Sahel G5. They therefore reflect a willingness on the part of the different actors involved to cooperate in the fight against transnational organized crime and to promote peace across the region.

UNODC assistance in this area takes place within the implementation of its Sahel Programme, which aims, among others, to strengthen the capacities of law enforcement bodies in the region through the creation of mechanisms for the exchange of information. It also seeks to facilitate cooperation between police forces across the region to fight terrorism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and other serious transborder crimes.