The Sahel and the Sahara: Challenging Terrains for Peace and Security
October 10, 2017
A conference on “the Sahel and the Sahara: Challenging Terrains for Peace and Security”, was organized by the Moroccan Council in Scandinavia and Nordic Countries (MCSN), in partnership with the African Institute for Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation (AIPECT). The conference brought together researchers, analysts, politicians and university students to debate over factors that impact political stability in the Sahel and the Sahara. It sought to bring to discussion key issues, which are of vital importance to the European public opinion, especially the academic environment and civil organizations, on the purpose to raise awareness among them on mechanisms to enhance peace and security in the whole region.
The Sahel and Sahara region has faced enormous political and security challenges over the last few years, coupled with the proliferation of violent extremism, the swelling terrorist activity, arms trafficking and organized crime, not to ignore the emergence of failed States in the region, threatening the stability and security of the entire Sahelo-Saharan strip.
The instability of the region now poses serious threats to the security and sustainability of peace, beyond the African continent, with regard to the drifting fundamentalist ideologies and the widening spheres of influence of non-State groups. The stability and development of the Sahel and the Sahara is crucial not only for Africa but also for Europe, since everything that happens on one of the continents has an impact on the other. These issues are at the top of the European agenda because, more than ever, Europe is directly affected by terrorism and concerned by the geopolitical stakes of the region.
With regard to the fact that security and development issues are closely intertwined, the threats facing the Sahelo-Saharan geography are transnational in nature, that they necessitate solidarity between all regions of the continent and the international community. European non-governmental actors should consolidate the efforts geared by governmental institutions, and play their part in building societal resilience in the face of complex and multiform crises. There can be no question that proactive and inclusive work, which invests more on the African human capital, will provide effective tools to dismantle the influence of non-State groups in the region.