The G5 Sahel strengthens security cooperation

      
  This activity was funded by Denmark,
Japan and the Netherlands 

The G5 Sahel Security Cooperation Platform (PCMS) is a regional security coordination and information exchange mechanism aimed at strengthening capacities to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime. UNODC has supported the G5 Sahel Secretariat in drafting the legal framework of this platform, adopted in November 2015 by the Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, and continues to support its implementation on the ground.

In the framework of this mandate, UNODC organized an expert meeting on 8-9 November 2016 in collaboration with the G5 Sahel on the operationalization of the PCMS in Nouakchott, Mauritania, to discuss and agree on the mechanisms required to ensure effective cooperation between the 5 States and deliver results on the ground. The meeting, made possible thanks to the contributions of the governments of Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands, also aimed to integrate the PCMS into the security architecture of individual countries in the region, and to increase its visibility at the international level.

In her opening remarks, the UNODC Deputy Regional Representative for West and Central Africa emphasized that "only harmonized security structures, effective information exchange and adequate communication and action can enable fruitful regional cooperation against phenomena as threatening and complex as terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime."

Panelists during the opening ceremony

UNODC experts then presented the operational tools available to UNODC to combat various forms of trafficking by land, air and sea, terrorism (including the movement of foreign fighters), migrant smuggling, firearms trafficking and transnational organized crime in general.

These tools, along with the proposal to associate the judicial sector to this process of operationalization, were discussed and supported by the experts, including the G5 Sahel Defense and Security Expert; the Regional Coordinator, and the 5 National Coordinators of the PCMS. The heads of the specialized units responsible for combating transnational crimes in each of the States, which will constitute the operational component of this regional project, were also present during the event.

  

Group photo of meeting participants

Participants then agreed on a set of recommendations that will guide the next steps in the implementation of the PCMS. These include, inter alia, the adoption of the operational mechanisms proposed by UNODC and the facilitation of their ownership by their relevant units, namely national platforms, and the security services in charge of the fight against transnational organized crime.

These recommendations, as well as an action plan and a roadmap, are expected to be submitted for political approval at the next Council of Ministers of Defense and Security of the G5 Sahel to be held at Bamako, Mali, in January 2017. The meeting also allowed reaching an agreement with INTERPOL regarding the provision of a secure communication software (I24/7) and the connection of the Platform to international and regional criminal databases ( WAPIS )-a development that was welcomed by the G5 Sahel and national experts.

Established in February 2014 by the Heads of State of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, the G5 Sahel's main objective is to coordinate the development and security policies and strategies of the five States. UNODC has established a close partnership with this institution to support the design and operationalization of its security architecture.

UNODC is supporting the G5 Sahel's security efforts in the context of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and its Sahel Programme, which aims to strengthen the capacities of authorities in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime through accessible, effective and accountable criminal justice systems.

For more information:

The G5 Sahel

UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel

Contribution of UNODC to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel

UNODC Sahel Programme