EDCPM issues new report on Sahel region

…Sahel alliance under scrutiny

A new in-depth report on recent development initiatives by the European Union and some of its leading members in the Sahel region is out with detailed examination and critique of the processes and outcome of Sahel Alliance and other related initiatives.

The European Centre for Development Policy Management [EDCPM] issued the report this Thursday extensively reviewing Sahel development initiatves, listing shortcomings and recommending improvement measures.

Titled “All together now? EU Institutions and Member states’ Cooperation in Fragile Situations and Protracted crises”, the authors of the report are Alexei Jones and Vera Mazzara.

The report identified lack of full consultation with EU states, France overbearing role in the initiatives and challenges of coordination as immediate and medium terms difficulties plaguing the interventions particularly in the Sahel region.

The report raised questions “on how its institutions and member states could better coordinate their activities” especially as “numerous initiatives were launched to put into practice their repeated commitment to work more closely together, particularly in situations of fragility and protracted crisis”

The report analyzed three specific policy initiatives where EU institutions, member states and other non-EU players are working together namely the operationalisation of the humanitarian-development nexus in pilot countries, the Sahel Alliance, and the EU Trust Funds.

“The three initiatives have so far managed successfully to bring together all the relevant actors, thus signaling the political commitment to have a joint, quick and effective response to complex challenges in fragile contexts.

“They have also agreed that this response should combine short-term action with more structural engagement, in an integrated manner”, the report admitted.

It however noted that in practice, “the implementation faces coordination obstacles, often because of the top-down and headquarters’ driven way these initiatives were conceived and led, and of their inability to link up with other ongoing processes on similar themes or regions”, adding that “ this, in turn, affects negatively the buy-in and ownership of actors at field level.”

The report identified a set of trade-offs that may drive better coordination in question form as follows:

•   How to address the practical constraints to coordination while also maintaining a high level of political interest?

  • How to accelerate procedures to allow faster and more flexible responses while preserving coordination and inclusive processes that are more time-consuming?
  • How to increase EU collective action and visibility while respecting the desire of the individual donors to maintain a high profile on certain topics and/or leadership role in certain areas?”

It would be recalled that the Sahel Alliance Officially announced early in the year the implementation of over 500 projects for a total amount of EUR 6bn to be disbursed between 2018 and 2022.

This was during  the International High-Level Conference on the Sahel when the the founding members of the Alliance – France, Germany, the EU, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and UNDP –, joined by Italy, Spain and the UK, officially launched the Sahel Alliance.

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