UNODC Sahel Programme reaches 10,000 beneficiaries
Since its launch in 2014, the UNODC Sahel Programme has implemented more than 400 activities reaching 10,000 direct beneficiaries in the region. The Programme has organized comprehensive workshops and trainings on the fight on transnational organized crime, terrorism, corruption and provided support for the implementation of judicial response mechanisms according to international rules and standards.
To harmonize its activities in the region and to further anchor its interventions in regional policies, UNODC works closely with the G5 Sahel, a major partner in the region. UNODC supported the establishment of the Security Cooperation Platform (PCMS) and the Police component of the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel. In this regard UNODC also coordinates closely with the strategy of the MINUSMA in Mali and other UN agencies to implement its programme.
" By providing legislative and technical assistance, the UNODC Sahel Programme strengthens the capacities of relevant national and regional authorities. UNODC intervene on several issues to support Sahel countries in their efforts to develop effective criminal justice systems and thereby ensures that all the representatives of the criminal justice chain benefit from activities", highlights Erik van der Veen, Coordinator of the UNODC Sahel Programme.
UNODC supports national efforts in strengthening and developing legislative frameworks, regional cooperation, policies and strategies against terrorism and its financing, including money-laundering. Law enforcement officers are trained to acquire the necessary specific skills to fight terrorism and violent extremism in the region.
Besides promoting capacity‐building at the national level, UNODC ensure an integrated cross‐border approach in the fight against illicit trafficking and organized crime, addressing the transnational dimension of trafficking routes. Through trainings which enhances techniques and instruments of law enforcement officers in the region, support from UNODC has led to encouraging results in various areas of intervention. In 2017 for example, a total of 35.54 kg of drugs was seized at international airports in the region and also foreign currencies for a total of USD 1,001,632 and EUR 113,120 have been seized, following assistance of the AIRCOP Programme.
UNODC also strengthens the capacities of governments and civil society actors to identify and combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants by providing advisory services to national training schools in Sahel countries for the integration of training modules in their training curricula and programmes. Instructors of the Police and Gendarmerie Academies of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have recently validated training manuals on the fight against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
By improving and strengthening criminal justice systems in West and Central Africa, UNODC is contributing to an environment that promotes and advances justice and stability. in 2017, UNODC recruited and trained ten UNVs with a judicial background to assist a specialized judicial unit in providing legal assistance in Niger which has led to the processing of 230 terrorism cases in 60 days.
Furthermore, the development of national and regional capacities to prevent and effectively address corruption remains an important priority for UNODC. With the establishment of the Norbert Zongo Cell for Investigative Journalism in West Africa (CENOZO) in 2015, UNODC aims to develop investigative journalism and to increase their capacity to investigate corruption and expose corrupt practices.
Firearms circulate throughout West and Central Africa with ease and without checks. There is a growing availability through trafficking of firearms in the G5 Sahel countries which increases the threat of terrorist attacks. With support from UNODC, The Sahel countries have recently conducted the Operation Africa TRIGGER III to identify illicitly obtained firearms.
Following the mid-term evaluation of the programme, UNODC is committed to further advocate for gender mainstream and human rights in the delivery of its activities. In accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, UNODC continues its efforts to promote gender mainstreaming in the region. Currently 13% of beneficiaries of UNODC activities are women, and the Programme is promoting the role of women in the criminal justice chain in the countries of intervention.
" Achieving this milestone is the result of a collective effort of our highly-qualified UNODC experts based in Dakar, Senegal, but also our staff on the ground. Since 2014, we have witnessed a positive change on how the governmental institutions in the five Sahel countries are taking ownership of the security challenges they are facing, and are producing encouraging results thanks to the assistance provided by our organization", mentions Jeffery Bawa, Programme Officer for UNODC.
The commitment of UNODC in the Sahel region is facilitated by funding from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United States.