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Peace and security in 2020: Evaluating the EU approach to tackling the Sahel conflicts

16-09-2020

The Peace and Security series evaluates European Union (EU) performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region each year. This, the third thematic study in the series, focuses on the EU's contribution to resolving the conflicts in the Sahel, restoring stability and building peace in the region. The EU has adopted a comprehensive and integrated approach to tackling the numerous political, security and defence, humanitarian, development, and environmental challenges facing ...

The Peace and Security series evaluates European Union (EU) performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region each year. This, the third thematic study in the series, focuses on the EU's contribution to resolving the conflicts in the Sahel, restoring stability and building peace in the region. The EU has adopted a comprehensive and integrated approach to tackling the numerous political, security and defence, humanitarian, development, and environmental challenges facing the five countries in the Sahel: Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, issuing a strategy specifically for the region in 2011. This evaluation first outlines the complex local and geopolitical dynamics framing the conflicts in the Sahel. It then assesses the various aspects of the EU's approach to supporting peace efforts in the region in an already crowded international landscape. The study also analyses the European Parliament's engagement with the Sahel region, considers the challenges that the EU (and other international actors) have faced in the Sahel, and presents options for improving the effectiveness of EU action. A parallel study, published separately, provides an overview of current EU action on peace and security, while a third presents the 2020 Normandy Index. The studies have been drafted as a contribution to the Normandy World Peace Forum in October 2020.

The G5 Sahel and the European Union: The challenges of security cooperation with a regional grouping

15-09-2020

The August 2020 coup in Mali recalls the coup the country witnessed in 2012 and highlights the growing instability and insecurity the Sahel region has been facing for a decade now. The combined effect of population growth, poverty, climate change, unsustainable land tenure and marginalisation of peripheral populations has been fuelling community-based tensions and anger towards governments in the region. Weak state power and porous borders have enabled the proliferation of jihadist and other armed ...

The August 2020 coup in Mali recalls the coup the country witnessed in 2012 and highlights the growing instability and insecurity the Sahel region has been facing for a decade now. The combined effect of population growth, poverty, climate change, unsustainable land tenure and marginalisation of peripheral populations has been fuelling community-based tensions and anger towards governments in the region. Weak state power and porous borders have enabled the proliferation of jihadist and other armed groups and the intensification of violence. In 2014, as a collective answer to the growing security threat, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger created the G5 Sahel, an intergovernmental cooperation framework seeking to coordinate the security and development policies of its member states. In 2017, the G5 Sahel Joint Force was launched with the aim of fighting terrorism and organised crime in the region. In addition to its own security and development strategy in the region, the EU has developed close links with the G5 Sahel in support of its work towards sustainable peace and development, including regular political dialogues and three CSDP missions to train and advise the G5 Sahel national armies and Joint Force. The recent coup in Mali has led to the suspension of some forms of cooperation between the EU and the G5 Sahel. However, while efforts to find common ground for action and to build a lasting partnership with unstable countries remains a challenge, the EU is not ready to leave this strategic field to other players.

Understanding the EU Strategy for the Sahel

07-09-2020

The August 2020 coup in Mali has once again demonstrated the instability of the Sahel. The region is affected by climate change and rapid population growth. Rivalries over access to livelihoods exacerbate grievances against states. Struggling to provide basic services throughout their territory and security at their borders, governments are competing with armed groups that have emerged from the failed regimes of Central Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. The instability in this region has ...

The August 2020 coup in Mali has once again demonstrated the instability of the Sahel. The region is affected by climate change and rapid population growth. Rivalries over access to livelihoods exacerbate grievances against states. Struggling to provide basic services throughout their territory and security at their borders, governments are competing with armed groups that have emerged from the failed regimes of Central Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. The instability in this region has direct consequences for the security of the European Union's neighbours and for the EU itself. In 2011, to respond to the multiple factors of this instability, the EU adopted the Sahel security and development strategy: the first comprehensive approach aimed at ensuring various external policy programmes and instruments converge towards common objectives. Despite the revamping of the strategy in 2015 based on the lessons learnt, its implementation, which involves the coordination of multiple stakeholders, has been difficult. While it has contributed to notable progress towards integration and regionalisation, security challenges have impeded tangible achievements in preventing radicalisation and fostering inclusive development. The Sahel action plan, adopted in 2015 to provide an overall framework for the implementation of the strategy, comes to an end in 2020; its revision (or replacement) will need to take the EU's and Africa's new geopolitical interests on board. As the EU endeavours to reconnect with Africa in a regional and full-fledged partnership, the successes and failures of the EU Strategy for the Sahel could inspire the whole EU development and security policy on the continent. This briefing is a translated and revised version of Le Sahel: un enjeu stratégique pour l'Union européenne, of November 2017.

Mali: The coup and its consequences

04-09-2020

On 18 August 2020, a group of mutinying soldiers from the Malian army arrested President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita and forced him to resign and dissolve the government and National Assembly. Although the putschists promised to organise elections and reinstate the constitutional order, no clear path for transition emerged from the discussions with the West African regional authority, ECOWAS. The coup risks further destabilising the Sahel and challenges the EU strategy in the region.

On 18 August 2020, a group of mutinying soldiers from the Malian army arrested President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita and forced him to resign and dissolve the government and National Assembly. Although the putschists promised to organise elections and reinstate the constitutional order, no clear path for transition emerged from the discussions with the West African regional authority, ECOWAS. The coup risks further destabilising the Sahel and challenges the EU strategy in the region.

State of play of existing instruments for combating impunity for international crimes

14-08-2020

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament ...

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament in the fight against impunity. The recommendations include enhancing the capacity, efficiency and coordination of EU institutions working on accountability, as well as encouraging comprehensive, impartial and inclusive approaches to country situations. EU action in bilateral and multilateral fora is also covered, with a view to enhancing the universal reach of accountability mechanisms and the protection of their integrity, encouraging cooperation and assistance, and to upholding the principle of complementarity.

Parlamendiväline autor

Olympia BEKOU

EU development cooperation and ethical certification schemes: impact, transparency and traceability

15-07-2020

‘Transparency’, ‘Traceability’, ‘Sustainable standards’, ‘good agricultural practices’ and ‘zero-deforestation’ are all fine terms which [alongside many others] have emerged in connection with the cocoa sector’s certification process. But does the reality of this process justify using such terms? Our initial conclusions in this study, based on an analysis of existing research over recent years, revealed that a considerable number of investigations had been commissioned by the certification schemes ...

‘Transparency’, ‘Traceability’, ‘Sustainable standards’, ‘good agricultural practices’ and ‘zero-deforestation’ are all fine terms which [alongside many others] have emerged in connection with the cocoa sector’s certification process. But does the reality of this process justify using such terms? Our initial conclusions in this study, based on an analysis of existing research over recent years, revealed that a considerable number of investigations had been commissioned by the certification schemes themselves. Key findings presented by the various studies all conveyed a positive tone. However, on closer inspection we felt that smallholders covered by the programmes were ‘following party lines’ rather than speaking freely. This suspicion was well-founded. Having built up trust in the villages during several years of field-work, we eventually gained access to exclusive data held by the cooperatives and certification programmes. We have used this evidence in order to draw a comparison between the virtual world portrayed by certification schemes’ narrative and the real world being faced by cocoa producers. Certification schemes claim that they give a sense of trust within the value chain, particularly in regard to produce traceability. They also claim to assist farmers, by way of training, various inputs (fertilisers etc.) and credit schemes. In reality, these ‘advantages’ are not visible at farm level. Budgets prepared by cooperatives to justify the use of premiums reflect structural flaws in certification and access to information. Serious questions arise surrounding deforestation, child labour and the payment of premiums. Social investment is minimal and consumers’ perception diverges from the reality. In conclusion, we make a number of key proposals and suggestions based on stakeholders’ complaints and recommendations.

Parlamendiväline autor

Enrique URIBE LEITZ, François RUF

Climate Change and Migration

15-07-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, examines legal and policy responses to environmental migration and displacement. Following a review of international, regional and national initiatives and legal instruments, it offers recommendations on ways to better address root causes and consequences of the climate change-migration nexus in Europe and beyond.

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, examines legal and policy responses to environmental migration and displacement. Following a review of international, regional and national initiatives and legal instruments, it offers recommendations on ways to better address root causes and consequences of the climate change-migration nexus in Europe and beyond.

Parlamendiväline autor

Albert KRALER, Danube University Krems Caitlin KATSIAFICAS, International Centre for Migration Policy Development Martin WAGNER, International Centre for Migration Policy Development

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa

25-06-2020

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this ...

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this relationship, development and humanitarian aid, complemented with the rising challenge of climate change. The new approach is also illustrated by the emphasis put on the promotion of bilateral trade and investment relations, the topic of the third briefing. All these briefings also try to incorporate first elements on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bilateral relationship.

Parlamendiväline autor

Morten BØÅS, Ondřej HORKÝ-HLUCHÁŇ,Ainhoa MARIN-EGOSCOZABAL

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Political Dialogue: Governance, Security and Migration

25-06-2020

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed ...

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed on the basis of an emerging continent. Africa is home to the youngest population in the world and some of the world’s most fragile states. However, it is also a continent with emerging markets and more effective governments. This brief aims to clarify how well the new Strategy must manage to mainstream a European approach to Africa that considers both the inter-continental dialogue and the diversity of development on this emerging continent within the fields of governance, security and migration. As the COVID-19 has turned into a pandemic, the brief also suggests that the new European strategy must reflect this development and the European Parliament should closely monitor the situation as it discusses the Strategy.

Parlamendiväline autor

Morten BØÅS

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Development, Humanitarian Aid and Climate Change

25-06-2020

The new EU Strategy for Africa attempts to reflect the continent’s growing relevance within a partnership rather than through a donor-recipient framework. However, this leads to a prioritisation of the formal, productive and technology sectors as well as climate mitigation at the expense of agriculture, informal sector, human development and climate adaptation. With such skewed priorities, this Strategy is ill-adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Institutionally, political will is ...

The new EU Strategy for Africa attempts to reflect the continent’s growing relevance within a partnership rather than through a donor-recipient framework. However, this leads to a prioritisation of the formal, productive and technology sectors as well as climate mitigation at the expense of agriculture, informal sector, human development and climate adaptation. With such skewed priorities, this Strategy is ill-adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Institutionally, political will is needed to ensure that the continent-to-continent approach is not hampered by parallel, contradictory and fragmenting forces within the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governance frameworks. Financially, mutual accountability must be strengthened by joint funding of joint actions. An inclusive institutional mechanism is also needed to promote political and civil society participation as well as policy coherence for sustainable development beyond migration and climate. More generally, the Strategy advances a government-to-government type of partnership at the expense of a more people-centred approach that is more in line with the ‘principled pragmatism’ of the EU.

Parlamendiväline autor

Ondřej HORKÝ-HLUCHÁŇ

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