UNODC holds the 4th meeting of Sahel Programme Steering Committee

UNODC activities in the Sahel are supported by financial contributions from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands and the European Union

In response to the deteriorating security situation in the region, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) established the Sahel Programme in 2014 to support Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in their fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime. To reach this objective, the Sahel Programme strengthens the accessibility, efficiency and accountability of criminal justice systems of Sahelian states.

Since then, the UNODC brings together representatives of the G5 Sahel, its five member states and Maghreb states each year to discuss the implementation of the Sahel Programme. This meeting aims at highlighting the results achieved by States with the support of UNODC and ensuring the Sahel Programme best meets the expectations, needs and priorities of the beneficiary countries.


Participants of the fourth Steering Committee of the Sahel Programme in Dakar

Representatives from Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, and the G5 Sahel Secretariat participated in the fourth meeting of the UNODC Sahel Programme, that was held between 24 and 26 April 2019 in Dakar. They were able to interact with experts from UNODC headquarters in Vienna and the Regional Bureaus for North Africa and the Middle East, and for West and Central Africa to identify the best ways to continue their partnership. A total of 40 participants, including 10 women, were present during the three-day meeting.

  Niger delegation reflects on the results achieved in the fight
 against organised crime and terrorism, with UNODC support
     Mrs. Chantal Lacroix, Regional Representative a.i, recalls
   the progress made in the past during the opening ceremony


During the opening ceremony, General Mohamed Znagui Sid Ahmed Ely, G5 Sahel Defense and Security Expert, recalled the historical links between the Sahel Programme and the G5 Sahel. " For nearly five years, the Sahel Programme and the Defense and Security Bureau have been working hand in hand to help these five governments fight against drug trafficking, illicit trafficking, organized crime, terrorism and corruption. Important results have been registered while concrete solutions have been proposed to the States and put together by G5 Sahel and UNODC, in particular, the Security Cooperation Platform (PCMS) which collects security information at the national level exchanged at the regional level, and the Joint Force Police Component, an innovative and novel instrument that complements military action through a judicial process", he explains.

Mrs. Chantal Lacroix, acting Regional Representative of UNODC for West and Central Africa, also underlined "the Sahel Programme has led more than 600 national and regional activities and reached more than 15,000 direct beneficiaries". "After four years of implementation, we are already seeing positive systemic changes. " she added.

This meeting was also an opportunity to present the achievements of the cooperation between UNODC and the Sahelian authorities in recent months, in particular:

- Chad's ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in June 2018;

- The judicial assistance to more than 1,000 detainees awaiting trial in several prisons in Niger, leading to 450 dismissed cases, 320 releases, 214 sentences, 42 provisional releases;

- The rapid operationalization of the G5 Sahel Joint Force Police Component, including the adoption of a decree to create an investigative unit in Chad and Mauritania;

- The establishment of a Special Brigade for Anti-Terrorist Investigations and Combating Organized Crime in Burkina Faso during the autumn 2018;

- The seizure of nearly 30 kilograms of cocaine and 18 kilograms of heroin by the Bamako's Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITF), 2.5 tons of cannabis and more than 100 kilograms of gold by the JAITF of Niamey, and 10 kilograms of heroin by the JAITF in Ouagadougou, since their establishment respectively in 2011, 2014 and 2017, as part of the AIRCOP Project.


Malian and Chadian delegations to the 4th Sahel Programme
Steering Committee
Rich exchange between UNODC experts and
Sahelian representatives


These contributions included over 60 recommendations, discussed and approved during the third day of the meeting to adjust the implementation of the Sahel Programme according to the priorities of the States. Cooperation with Maghreb states on counterterrorism and countering drug trafficking, including the sharing of expertise and the exchange of good practices, has been highlighted. The focus has also been directed towards new areas such as the fight against falsified medical products and the non-medical use of prescription drugs, as well as prevention in the fight against drugs and psychotropic substances. Finally, the protection of witnesses and victims of terrorism, the promotion of integrity, responses to recruitment and exploitation of children by terrorist groups and support for the Police Component continue to be on the agenda of UNODC assistance in the Sahel.

This is the fourth consecutive meeting of the Sahel Programme Steering Committee following previous meetings in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and it is part of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

For more information:

UNODC Sahel Programme

UNODC Contribution to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel

Sahel: Governments achieve positive results with UN support

UNODC Sahel Programme reaches 10,000 beneficiaries