Conflict and Fragility
The Sahel Programme
Clingendael's Sahel Programme focuses on security and survival under fragmented sovereignty in the greater Sahel region, and how intervention strategies can be better adjusted to these dynamics.
Many states in the greater Sahel region, such as Mali, Niger and Libya, fail to deliver essential public goods and services to substantial parts of their populations. Individuals therefore often look outside of the state for their security and survival. In this sense, joining armed (Islamist) organisations or criminal groups, illicit cross-border trading (including human smuggling), migration, and the use of customary law structures all serve a similar purpose: they foresee in people’s direct needs. This research programme focuses on how development and stabilisation programmes could contribute to a situation in which a) exclusionary and/or ineffective governance structures are opened up and strengthened so that larger parts of the population have access to the goods and services that the state is formally expected to supply; b) the ability of criminal and/or armed (extremist) groups to provide alternative goods and services is weakened; while c) ensuring that the inevitable conflict that will ensue over the alteration of this status quo can be resolved in as non-violent a manner as possible.