The Council approved conclusions reaffirming the importance of a solid and long-term partnership between the EU and the Sahel, and of stepping up that partnership through an ambitious EU strategy setting the framework for its policies and actions in the region.
Since 2012 the Sahel has faced a profound security crisis that has hampered its development and, together with other long-term trends such as climate change, demographic pressure, the access to natural resources and epidemic risks, risks wiping out the progress made in recent decades.
During the period of the previous EU Sahel strategy (2011-2020), the EU has mobilised all instruments at its disposal, from humanitarian aid to security forces, to support the Sahel populations, and now intends to intensify its political efforts through a new, ambitious, inclusive and flexible strategy based on the principle of mutual accountability with Sahel partner authorities.
In line with international coordination efforts within the Sahel Coalition, the EU emphasises the importance of a 'civilian and political leap forward' focusing both on short-term stabilisation and long-term prospects for sustainable social, environmental and economic development, above and beyond military involvement.
The promotion protection and fulfilment of all human rights will continue to remain at the heart of EU support for the Sahel, as well as efforts in the areas of governance and the rule of law, anti-corruption, and the provision of basic public services to all people.
Recognizing past as well as emerging trends, the EU will continue to support Sahel partners in fighting terrorist armed groups, and support their efforts in the field of security sector reform.
The EU will continue strengthening the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core, alongside regional organisations, especially the African Union, ECOWAS and the G5 Sahel.
The main geographical scope of the EU strategy is the five G5 Sahel countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. However it places EU action in the wider context of regional and cross-border challenges, and of the links that exist in particular between the Sahel, West African coastal states, the Lake Chad Basin and North Africa.
The conclusions were adopted by the Council by written procedure.