Deployment of the G5 Sahel joint force: UNODC increases its engagement

The security situation in Sahel countries is becoming increasingly challenging, and has substantial spill-over consequences in the region, as seen by the recent terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso and against the MINUSMA in Mali. The UN Security Council Resolution 2359 of 21 June 2017 highlights a need for increased regional cooperation and a regional response to the threats of terrorism and of transnational illicit trafficking. It also welcomes the creation of the G5 Sahel joint force, to complement and facilitate the fulfilment of MINUSMA's mandate.

UNODC is working on a plan of action to support the G5 Sahel joint force, from a civilian law enforcement perspective, in order to ensure that the force complies with international norms and standards.

UNODC has worked closely with the G5 Sahel since its inception in 2014, to promote an integrated response. UNODC has assisted this new organization in the institutionalization and operationalization of its Security Cooperation Platform, which brings together law enforcement and justice officials, both nationally and regionally.

"UNODC support to the G5 Sahel has been most beneficial since 2014, and has been instrumental in creating a security cooperation platform (PCMS) and in providing technical assistance for actors in charge of counter-terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel", emphasized Mr Najim El Hadj Mohamed, Permanent Secretary of the G5 Sahel.

MINUSMA contigent in Gao, Mali

"I wish to pay tribute to the activities undertaken by UNODC and its Sahel Programme, and commend the synergy and coordination efforts they have shown in partnership with the countries of the region", highlighted Ms. Mbaranga Gasarabwe, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the MINUSMA.

UNODC also works closely with MINUSMA to provide specialized assistance to law enforcement and justice officials to improve their capacities. This cooperation has produced concrete results (as outlined by UNODC's Sahel Programme's progress report published in June 2017)

UNODC delegation, accompanied by Mr Najim El Hadj Mohamed (Permanent Secretary of the G5 Sahel) meets with Malian community leaders

As the report demonstrates, results achieved by government institutions in the Sahel showcase strong ownership in dealing with the various security challenges they are facing. For instance, in January 2017, Burkinabe legislators passed a law to create a Specialized Judicial Unit to strengthen the fight against terrorism and its financing, while Chad has established an anti-terrorist coordination cell regrouping law enforcement agencies and magistrates to facilitate information exchange.

Malian authorities have also dismantled an international drug trafficking network operating in Mali. The arrest was made possible through specialized training, cooperation and information exchange between law enforcement agencies in the region, which UNODC and MINUSMA facilitated. A more complete overview of the results can be accessed here.

The partnership that unites and rationalizes the efforts of the various UN agencies on the ground has grown dramatically, especially since the signing of a MoU between UNODC and MINUSMA. UNODC and DPKO staff in Mali collaborate in many aspects, from carrying out assessments and identifying partners to designing and implementing training workshops and curricula.

As guardian of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, UNODC provides technical guidance for peacekeeping personnel on the implementation of those conventions. These joint efforts are part of the UNODC contribution to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS).

For more information:

UNODC Sahel Programme

The G5 Sahel

UNODC Contribution to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel

United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel