Dr Aubyn, the Regional Coordinator, Research and Capacity Building for West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), said stability in the Sahel could only be achieved if stakeholders moved beyond counterterrorism and diverted resources towards democratic governance.
He said resources must also be geared towards sustainable development and improving the livelihoods and security of vulnerable people, especially women and girls.
Dr Aubyn said this when presenting the recommendations from a research on: “The limits and pitfalls of multilateral, regional, and national responses to the peace and security challenges in the Sahel and Cote d’Ivoire,” particularly as it affected women and girls.
The research was supported by WANEP and the United Nations Development Programme.
The programme was to present key results, experiences and lessons learnt from the implementation of the project on: ‘’Building an inclusive Post Covid-19 Recovery, Crisis Transitions and Governance Reforms in the Sahel and Cote d’Ivoire.’’
Dr Aubyn said the Sahel region had many complex and multi-layered security challenges, which was imparting on democratic consolidation and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The enduring and protracted nature of the challenges raises critical questions about the efficacy of multilateral, regional and national responses,” he said.
He said the research findings indicated the lack of financial, technical and material resources to carry out myriad of activities which affected ownership of projects supported by International actors.
There was also limited coordination and competition among society actors in four African countries – Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Cote d’Ivoire.
On the international front, Dr Aubyn said there was difficulty in sustaining short-term gains or key achievements for greater impacts due to insecurity and non-involvement of communities, especially those in the rural areas, in initiative affecting them.
“There is limited functional coordination among stakeholders, non-alignment of most development plans and projects with the realities on the ground and multiplicity of Sahel strategies and initiatives leading to duplication of activities,” he said.
On the regional level, he mentioned lack of follow-up on projects implemented with the support of international partners to inform subsequent interventions in Burkina Faso, and weak financial and material resource mobilisation to implement policies in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
Dr Aubyn recommended the promotion of a bottom-up approach to peacebuilding by investing more in the indigenous actors and initiatives to promote peace, security, development, and justice.
Dr Chukwuemeka Eze, the Executive Director, WANEP, called on African leaders to confront issues of peace and security holistically.
“Our partners are ready to support the project to further harvest ideas in addressing the challenges of peace and security in African countries,” he said.