An African wind is blowing over Clingendael; from 10 May until 3 June, experienced diplomats from West Africa and the Sahel attend a training programme on regional cooperation to promote peace and stability in their region.
West African countries, and those from the Sahel region in particular, are facing many challenges affecting their stability and prosperity. Conflicts, such as in Mali, terrorist attacks as the ones experienced in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso and general instable security and political environments have been in the recent years serious obstacles on the region’s path towards sustainable development and peace. Detrimental for the states of the region, this instability also has an impact on European security.
Regional cooperation to promote peace and stability
How distressing the situation, West Africa is reacting and cooperation among the different countries is one of the tools identified to address current issues and proper changes. ECOWAS, as the main regional organisation, has a remarkable track-record of actions aiming at promoting peace and stability in this region. More recently, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad regrouped to constitute a “G5 Sahel” with the same aim of using regional cooperation as a channel for peace and prosperity. Both organisations are represented in the training programme, supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Enhancing regional cooperation
Bringing to Clingendael 18 high level diplomats from the region, all dealing with regional cooperation issues within their respective ministries, is one key aspect of the Netherlands’ contribution to the stabilisation process in West Africa and the Sahel. Through lectures and training sessions organised around four modules (security and stability, regional institutions, good governance and democracy, and resources for development), discussions will be stimulated among those local actors in order to help them identify ways to bring stability and development in West Africa.
Many topics are addressed in the four-week duration of the programme, from issues related to hard core security to the role of women and youth in development and peace processes. The role of natural resources will be debated upon, as well as the notions of democracy and good governance. Participants will also go on a two-day working visit to Brussels, to learn from the EU experience in bringing peace and stability on a war-torn continent, but also to better understand the contribution that Western countries can bring to their region’s development.
Diplomats from West Africa and the Sahel region, attending the training programme at Clingendael Academy