Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Policy Workshop: Peace and Security in the Sahel | Wilson Center

Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Policy Workshop: Peace and Security in the Sahel

The Wilson Center Africa Program partnered with the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR) to co-host a Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding (SVNP) Regional Policy Workshop on Peace and Security in the Sahel from July 22 to 23, 2019 in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop, hosted under the banner of the Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding (SVNP), followed on the heels of and built on the four-day Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Annual Conference on “Youth and Peacebuilding in Africa” which took place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from July 25-18, 2019.

The theme of the workshop was “Peace, Youth, and Security in the Sahel.” Workshop deliberations focused on three sub-topics: Security in the Sahel: Issues and Challenges for Senegal; Peace and the Governance of Natural Resources; and Youth, Migration and Peace. Participants included representatives from the SVNP, Senegalese researchers and practitioners, organizations working on development, youth, and security, policymakers—including several members of Parliament—as well as several youth organizations.   

Dr. Adama Faye, the Chairman of the Scientific Council of IPAR, opened the event.  Dr. Cheikh Tidian Gadio, former Foreign Minister of Senegal, and President of the Institute of Pan-African Strategies, provided the keynote. The Ministry of Youth was also represented at the workshop by the Youth and Sports Inspector/Technical Advisor to the Minister of Youth.

Over two days of presentations and dialogue, participants analyzed the security situation in the Sahel and responses to the crisis, and offered recommendations for addressing more effectively both current and emerging challenges. 

Some key points from the discussion included the importance of addressing the deteriorating situation in the Sahel, noting, “You cannot think about development without sustainable peace and stability to mobilize the human and financial resources for needed growth...” Another observation was the challenges posted by inconsistent definitions of what constitutes the Sahel and the proliferation of strategies that exist for the Sahel without improvement in the security situation. The global and transnational implications of insecurity in the Sahel was brought up as well as the current mismatch between the seriousness of the insecurity and the awareness and actions being undertaken by many leaders. Another consistent theme was the crucial role of governance in addressing long-term challenges of insecurity and peace in Africa.

Questions of youth and the youth bulge were discussed by looking both at the potential challenges posed by the growing population as well as the great opportunity and benefit they bring to society. Investments in youth capacity, youth leadership, education, and inclusion in public policy are key to harnessing the benefits of the Sahel’s young population.

This meeting is a part of the Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding that works to bring African knowledge and analysis to U.S., international, and African policymakers in order to develop the most appropriate, cohesive, and inclusive policy frameworks and approaches to achieving sustainable peace in Africa.


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