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  • Sahel (2020-present)

    Over a decade of conflict in the Central Sahel border region between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso in West Africa has made the region the epicentre of one of the world’s fastest-growing crises.

    In March 2020, Crisis Action launched a campaign in the Sahel, targeted at encouraging all governments active in the region away from a primarily militaristic response to the security crisis and towards a more holistic, people-centred political response that addresses the root causes of violence and puts the protection of civilians at its heart.

    Working towards this, Crisis Action has worked with the People’s Coalition for the Sahel to set out the ‘People’s Pillars’, which defined four priorities – protection, political strategy, aid and justice – that should be part of governments’ response to the crisis. The Coalition continues to monitor governments’ performance on each of the pillars, showing policymakers that local communities are determined to hold them to account.

    However, the consensus for a revised approach has yet to translate into more safety for civilians in the Sahel. Furthermore, it is at risk of unravelling amidst concerning setbacks: military coups in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Niger; increasing attacks by jihadist groups; proliferation of self-defence groups and the use of private military contractors who have been accused by human rights groups of atrocities.

    Unrest in the Sahel intensified through 2023. The military authorities now ruling all three countries of the Central Sahel have reacted to the growing threat of armed groups by doubling down on a military-first response.

    As governments cracked down on civil space and media freedom, Crisis Action responded by increasing its support for the People’s Coalition for the Sahel, aiming to strengthen and entrench a culture of collaboration and solidarity among national, regional and international organisations.

    In 2024, Crisis Action is committed to enabling the People’s Coalition to become an effective and independent entity that can influence politics and policy in the Sahel in the long term.