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Denmark and Burkina Faso take the lead on countering violent extremism in the Sahel at the UN

13.06.2014  10:30

This week members of the United Nations General Assembly gathered in New York to review the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In a meeting opened by the Burkinabé Minister for Territorial Administration and Security and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, the two countries focused on countering violent extremism in the Sahel and West Africa, and forging stronger collaborative international efforts in the region. A regional Action Agenda developed jointly by Denmark and Burkina Faso will inform current and future international efforts in the region.

The General Assembly of the United Nations convenes every two years in New York to review implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. On Thursday, Denmark and Burkina Faso used the review conference to focus international attention on the challenge of violent extremism in the Sahel and its negative impact on stability, security and development in the region sharing concrete examples of ongoing and potential responses.

Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Lidegaard states:

“The best way to fight terrorism and violent extremism is by preventing people from becoming terrorists in the first place. That is why prevention is a priority for the Danish government’s counterterrorism efforts. Our cooperation with Burkina Faso and our work in the Sahel demonstrates Denmark’s readiness to be at the very front when it comes to translating the principles of the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy into actions.”

Background:
The Sahel region (e.g. Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger) is faced with a number of security and development challenges with potential long-term negative and destabilising consequences for the countries, their populations and, down the road, international stability. The developments in Mali have raised concerns about a further destabilisation of the region potentially making it possible for terrorist-groups to create safe-havens. Countering violent extremism in the Sahel is one of the priorities for Denmark’s participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum where it has taken a lead on CVE work in the region.  

Approximately 90 delegates participated in the meeting that was opened by the Burkinabé Minister for Territorial Administration and Security and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN. Speakers, including civil society representatives and experts from the region as well as international partners, discussed implementation of a regional Action Agenda for the Sahel and West Africa on countering violent extremism (CVE) developed by Denmark and Burkina Faso, and a study on resilience in Burkina Faso. Stakeholders including the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, the European Union, members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and others highlighted current and planned activities to support CVE in the Sahel and made a strong commitment to enhance collaborative international approaches in the region.

In 2013 the Danish Government launched a new stabilisation-programme for the Sahel-region. From 2013 to 2017 the programme will contribute to international efforts towards stabilising the region and preventing the Sahel from becoming a safe-haven for terrorists. The programme is focused on countering violent extremism, radicalisation and organised crime, among other things. Future efforts will to a large extent build upon the concrete proposals for efforts in the regional Action Agenda discussed in New York on Thursday.  

For further information please contact:
Marcus Carter Mathiasen, Press Adviser for the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
phone: +45 41532567

Further reading:

Action Agenda: Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Community Engagement in West Africa and the Sahel:
http://www.thegctf.org/documents/10299/44331/Action+Agenda+ENG.pdf

Study on Resilience in Burkina Faso
[pdf vedlagt]

Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF)
www.thegctf.org

UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy
http://www.un.org/en/sc/ctc/action.html

Global Center on Cooperative Security
http://www.globalcenter.org/

Bukina Faso
Police officials from Burkina Faso participate in a training workshop in Ouagadougou in February 2014.
Photo: Global Center on Cooperative Security