European Union Council conclusions on the Sahel Regional Action Plan 2015-2020
BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- 1. The Council adopts today the annexed Sahel Regional Action Plan 2015-2020 which provides the overall framework for the implementation of the European Union (EU) Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, as adopted and revised in its Conclusions on 21 March 2011 and 17 March 2014, respectively. The adoption of the Action Plan comes at a crucial time for the countries in the Sahel. The Council welcomes the Action Plan, which reaffirms the EU's continued engagement in the Sahel region and its support to sustainable and inclusive political and socio-economic development, the strengthening of human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law as well as resilience, as a response to the multidimensional crisis in the Sahel. The enhancement of security in the region through the fight against terrorism, illicit trafficking, radicalisation and violent extremism, remains the key objective of the EU. In the context of its comprehensive approach, including the contribution of the EU Institutions, the EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the Sahel as well as of EU Member States, the EU reiterates its commitment to support regional and country-led and owned initiatives in the framework of the Action Plan, using all its relevant instruments, in particular the regional and national indicative programmes under the European Development Fund as well as Member States' programmes, and also including the CSDP Missions EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Niger and EUCAP Sahel Mali, and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.
2. The original strategic objective of the EU Sahel Strategy, emphasising the development-security nexus as well as the four pillars for its implementation, remains fully relevant and provide a comprehensive framework for EU action in the Sahel. The Action Plan provides a solid basis for pursuing the objectives of the Strategy and for reinforcing the EU's focus around four domains highly relevant to the stabilisation of the region, namely prevention and countering radicalisation, creation of appropriate conditions for youth, migration, mobility and border management, the fight against illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime. The EU underlines in particular the importance of fostering closer synergies between countries of the region as well as between the Sahel and neighbouring countries. Given the proximity of the Sahel to the EU and its immediate neighbourhood, it notes the need, in order to better tackle cross-border issues, to explore further a common space for dialogue and cooperation between the Sahel, the Maghreb and the EU in relevant sectors such as security and migration. This should be done in the framework of the existing mechanisms and dialogues such as the Rabat and Khartoum processes on migration and development.
3. The EU reiterates its readiness to continue working closely with the countries of the Sahel region to support their efforts to achieve peace, security and development. The implementation of the Action Plan will be carried out with the full ownership and under the primary responsibility of the countries concerned, and in coordination with key international and regional organisations and other partners, in particular the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the G5 Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the World Bank, as well as with civil society. In this respect, the EU underlines the importance of continuing this close international and regional coordination, including between the EUSR for the Sahel, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Sahel, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Mali and the AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, aiming at creating synergies in the implementation of respective strategies.
4. The Council invites the High Representative and the Commission and Member States to start implementing the Sahel Regional Action Plan. The Council will revert to the matter as appropriate, and at least once a year.
 Council Conclusions of 9 February 2015 on Counter-Terrorism