Remarks of the UN Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel at the Senior Officials Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Central Sahel

Excellencies, dear partners, and dear friends of the Sahel,

It’s an honor to join you today to (a) review progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the October
2020 Ministerial Roundtable Meeting; (b) renew our commitment for the mobilization of policy and financial support
for our response, and (c) galvanize political support for principled humanitarian action – based on the
recommendations of each country review process.
Let me first plug myself into the Sahel zeitgeist, l’air du temps, l’esprit du moment.
In statistics, there is what is called “the law of series”, i.e. the strong likelihood of some recurring events
to be contagious and repetitive, in similar or quasi similar contexts. Some 16 months after our last meeting, the
political and security landscape in the Sahel is experiencing some exponential changes; with an increasing take
over by military of the top public executive senior governance in the region. Not that I would infer that this is a
nascent “law of series”, but this certainly challenges us to boldly review and coldly assess our collective algorithm
of interventions in the Sahel, including what we call stabilization in the context of instability and unpredictability, as
well as the current geopolitics in the Sahel.

Without pre-judging the outcomes of such an analysis, it is clear to me that we must, together, address
the phenomenon of “elite capture of governance” in the region, combined with our not so sturdy collective
investment in tackling the root-causes of poverty and exclusion, including the weak structural transformations &
low value addition of the Sahelian economies, which manifest in greater inequalities, stressed social contracts,
forced migrations, exponential displacements, a mounting debt wall, and growing ungoverned spaces, especially
in the border areas.

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