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Norway supports civilian capacity building for the G5 Sahel joint force

‘The situation in the vulnerable Sahel region has deteriorated since the crisis in Mali broke out in 2012. Instability and terrorism are impeding long-term development and depriving the population of an entire region of opportunities to create a better future. The Government has intensified its efforts in countries and regions affected by conflict and fragility, and we are now increasing our support for the Sahel region by a further NOK 15 million to around NOK 455 million. The increased funding will go to a civilian component of the G5 Sahel cooperation, including capacity building within international humanitarian law and human rights,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Ms Eriksen Søreide is participating at a   high-level conference on the Sahel in Brussels today, the aim of which is to   mobilise financial and material resources to support cooperation between the   Sahel countries in the areas of security and development. The five countries   of the Sahel – Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad (the G5 Sahel)   – are co-chairing the conference, together with the European Union, the   United Nations and the African Union.  

‘I am pleased to see the broad international   support for the G5 Sahel cooperation. A well-coordinated regional effort is   essential for combating transnational challenges such as terrorism, violent   extremism and organised crime. At the same time, it is vital that the parties   implement and comply with the Mali peace agreement signed in 2015,’ Ms   Eriksen Søreide said.  

Norway has a broad engagement in the Sahel region   and is promoting stability and development through financial and military   contributions to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA), bilateral and multilateral   development cooperation, and humanitarian assistance.

The five Sahel countries have established a joint   security initiative in the Sahel, the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The Norwegian   contribution announced at today’s conference will be used to support the   civilian components of the initiative, such as training in international   humanitarian law and human rights for G5 Sahel troops and efforts to build   trust between the troops and the local population.  

The Norwegian Embassy in Bamako was opened   earlier this year. The Embassy’s responsibilities include following up   cooperation with Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso,   Niger and Chad. 

Norway’s engagement in Mali dates back to   the time of the drought in the country in the 1980s. Broad cooperation   involving Norwegian civil society groups and international partners was   established to prevent famine, poverty and conflict in the region. Since   then, Norway’s engagement has been expanded, and today includes efforts to   promote education, peace and reconciliation, and support for stabilisation   and democratisation processes. Norway’s participation in MINUSMA has   strengthened the Government’s peace efforts in the region.

The additional contribution of NOK 15 million   will bring Norway’s support for the Sahel region to approximately NOK 455   million in 2018. This is an overall increase of NOK 130 million compared with   2017. Norway’s contribution to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) comes in   addition to this, as does Norwegian support for the Lake Chad region.   Norwegian support for the Lake Chad region totalled around NOK 700 million in   2017 and is expected to remain at a high level in 2018.