On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, the Research and Awareness Unit organized a ceremony at the United Nations Information Center in Dakar to launch reports on trafficking in medical products, fuel, firearms, and migrants in the Sahel as part of the TOCTA Sahel research project.
TOCTA Sahel consists of a series of research reports that provide an in-depth analysis of recent trends, victim profiles, actors involved in each criminal market and their modus operandi, trafficking routes, and links to armed and terrorist groups. As part of this project, UNODC worked closely with Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad to collect data, which was validated and approved at the 6th Sahel Program Steering Committee in December 2022.
The panelists, consisting of Ms. Giovanie Biha, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of UNOWAS, Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UN Special Coordinator for the Sahel, Mr. Robert Kotchani, Regional Director of OHCHR, and Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, Representative of the UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa, discussed the security situation in the Sahel as well as the impact of organized crime on development in the region
Guests of honor in attendance, including H.E. Abbami Ari, Ambassador of Niger, H.E. Florbela Paraíba, Ambassador of Portugal, and H.E. Efthymios Georges Costopoulos, Ambassador of Greece, as well as representatives of the Ministries of Justice of Burkina Faso and Mauritania, INTERPOL and the G5 Sahel participated in the discussions.
This work is part of the implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, the UNODC Strategic Vision for Africa 2030 and the UNODC Regional Program for West Africa (2016-2023).
TOCTA Sahel aims to promote better regional collaboration at the operational and strategic levels to combat criminal networks by strengthening the legislative framework, police and judicial cooperation, and the sharing of crime-related data.
Indeed, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, Representative of the Regional Office for West and Central Africa, stated at the launch that the project "aims to support Member States in their political and programmatic decisions related to organized crime in the region, and to strengthen regional and international cooperation by providing a comprehensive view of the phenomenon."
The TOCTA Sahel project is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany.