GAR-SI Sahel project has addressed in a webinar with various specialists the main challenges facing this geographical area
Terrorism, insecurity, human smuggling and trafficking. The geographical area of the Sahel has spent years fighting against these problems that hinder the territory’s stability and undermine the security of its inhabitants. The old challenges are now joined by others, such as climate change and, for the last few months, COVID19.
With the aim of portraying the global threats that the territory faces and the lines of action adopted to face them, the GAR-SI Sahel project has brought together three key figures in a webinar that have offered a clear image of the territory’s situation: The General of the Civil Guard Division and director of the GAR-SI Sahel project Francisco Espinosa, the Programme Manager of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa Cristina de Lorenzo, and the director of the FIIAPP Department of Justice and Security Mariano Guillén.
The webinar started with a presentation of the project in which General Espinosa explained that GAR-SI-Sahel is a project financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP that works to improve the security of the Sahel countries: Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad. In this sense, the General highlighted the importance of the joint work that the project carries out with the gendarmeries of each country. “The variety of missions that the units can carry out, from proximity police to fighting terrorism, is one of the keys to the project.”
Espinosa also wanted to stress that, despite the coronavirus, the GAR-SI Sahel remains on course. “In some countries such as Burkina Faso or Mali, the GAR-SI units (Rapid Action Group in the Sahel) are working because they are capable of adapting to new situations such as the pandemic,” explained Espinosa.
For his part, the Director of Justice and Security of the FIIAPP explained the Foundation’s efforts to continue working despite the health crisis: “We have worked hard to strengthen governance capacities in the countries where we work.” In this sense, Guillén stressed the role of the European Union in providing a global response to the pandemic by mentioning Team Europe, an initiative to strengthen the work of partner countries to combat the health crisis and its consequences. Guillén also underlined the relevance of the security-development pairing, to which the GAR-SI Sahel project actively contributes, he explained.
Finally, the Programme Manager of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund, Cristina de Lorenzo, offered a European view of the situation in the territory: “As the person in charge of monitoring the project, I have travelled to the project countries and have been able to see how work is carried out in each country, taking into account their particularities, and I have seen the unfailing effort of the entire team to adapt to the daily reality of each country.” De Lorenzo also highlighted the relevance of the human rights training offered by the project, “a fundamental element for the European Union”, she concluded.