OPTIMISTIC FOR THE SAHEL
Despite its enormous potential and abundant resources, the Sahel region still faces multiple challenges that hinder its progress towards peace and sustainable development.
Undoubtedly, the impact of the security situation on the stability of the region is most significant and worrying. But as we have already pointed out, to address this challenge, the security response, although necessary, is not and will not be sufficient to eradicate this scourge and move the Sahel in a dynamic of development.
There is a need for a holistic and coordinated approach that effectively acts in areas as diverse as security, governance, resilience and development, as the root causes facing the Sahel today are interconnected. And the reality of the Sahel reminds us of this regularly.
There is a need for a holistic and coordinated approach that effectively acts in areas as diverse as security, governance, resilience and development
The United Nations has recalibrated the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) in order to take into account the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Strategy. A UN Support Plan has also been developed to enable agencies and programmes, and UN country teams, as well as resident coordinators, to work together and in close coordination with Sahel countries, regional organizations and partners to improve the living conditions of people in the Sahel.
Indeed, as part of the implementation of the Integrated Strategy, the work provided by the various UN agencies and programmes has been vital for thousands of people across the Sahel.
The countless on-going projects and initiatives which are reported in this UNOWAS Magazine special edition demonstrate the added value of the United Nations' work in strengthening the development and resilience of women, youth and men in the Sahel.
The projects carried out by the World Food Program (WFP) to reinforce resilience of the communities in the Sahel; United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which is dispatching drinking water through solar energy to help communities in Mauritania cultivate their land; the United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), which jointly supported Malian refugees integrate into Mauritania through a training and employment assistance programme; UN Women, which mobilizes women and youth in the Sahel to intervene in peace processes; or the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) SWEDD project, which focuses on bringing the demographic dividend to sustainable development in the Sahel by reducing gender inequality; or the International Organization for Migration (IOM) work with United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Niger helping communities affected by migration flows; or UNODC's active support to countries in the region in their efforts to combat security challenges - all of these and so many other projects demonstrate the effectiveness of the holistic approach and the coordinated and integrated action of the United Nations agencies and programmes with regional and international partners to consolidating development and peace in the Sahel.
The challenges are not insurmountable, and the Sahel region will be able to live in can envisage a future of peace and development. But this requires from us a multi-faceted approach and perseverance.