The Sahel region presents some of the most important development challenges in recent history, with a commensurate magnitude of effects on communities, peoples and states. The UN has developed a results-focused multidimensional approach through the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), around key priorities in governance, security and resilience. UNISS was designed to address the root causes of the Sahel crisis while supporting national and regional capacities for peacebuilding. The project sought to support all the challenges covered under four thematic areas by the I-ACT Framework for the G5 Sahel, which were based on needs assessments conducted by CTED and other UN entities, and were aligned with the priorities established by the G5 Sahel countries. These focus areas were: (1) preventing violent extremism; (2) border management and cross-border cooperation; (3) rule of law and criminal justice; and (4) overall counter-terrorism coordination. The Framework was implemented within the Framework of the U Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), and mutually reinforced the support provided by the United Nations system and bilateral partners to the G5 Sahel region.
Towards a Solution
This project actively engaged government officials of the G5 Sahel countries from relevant agencies involved in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism, and civil society organizations from the G5 Sahel region.
UNCCT supported regional efforts of G5 Sahel countries to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism. In March 2019, the Center organized a regional technical workshop in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on good practices in community resilience to radicalization and violent extremism in the G5 Sahel countries. This workshop was instrumental in pulling together shared practical experiences, lessons learned and good practices and local context, that was used to develop a handbook on good practices in building community resilience against violent extremism including among cross-border communities in G5 Sahel countries.
In May 2019, UNCCT organized a regional workshop in Nouakchott, Mauritania, to validate the draft handbook. The validation workshop provided participants with the opportunity to put forward suggestions on the content, which covered several topics such as community dialogue, counter-narratives and alternative messaging to violent extremism, youth and women’s role in building and strengthening community resilience to violent extremism, as well as initiatives developed by cross-border communities.
The active participation of civil society, religious and traditional leaders, youth and women’s representatives, as well as State actors involved in the prevention of violent extremism and the fight against terrorism made the development of this handbook an inclusive process. The handbook was prepared in French and translated into the five other UN official languages for further dissemination to relevant stakeholders. UNCCT is in the process of reviewing the translations and will be printing the handbook in 2020.