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  • Centro para el Bien Común Global

Strategic Priorities for the Comprehensive Stabilisation of the Sahel: Voices of Civil Society

Publication of the II Sahel Europe Dialogue Forum

27 October 2022

On the 14th, 15th and 16th of July 2022, the International Security Centre of the Francisco de Vitoria University (CSI - UFV) organised the 2nd edition of the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum. Several workshops, conferences and masterclasses allowed international experts to review and debate the situation and stability of the Sahel. In the masterclass entitled "Strategic priorities for a comprehensive stabilisation: Voices of Civil Society", moderated by Aitor Martínez Ayala; Regional Manager for West Africa CIDEAL Foundation; Sylvestre Tiemtoré, Coordinator of the Permanent Secretariat of NGOs in Burkina Faso; Lourdes Benavides, Regional Manager of Oxfam in West and Central Africa; and Badié Hima, Resident Director NDI Mali and former Vice President of the Niger Association for the Defence of Human Rights, analysed the strategic challenges of global stabilisation based on the voices of civil society.

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Prioridades estratégicas para la estabilización integral del Sahel- voces de la sociedad c
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Priorités stratégiques pour une stabilisation globale au Sahel - les voix de la société ci
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Strategic Priorities for the Comprehensive Stabilisation of the Sahel- Voices of Civil Soc
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In a changing environment such as the Sahel, which includes states with significant democratic fragility, it is important not to forget that this region is Europe's advanced frontier. It is now more important than ever to promote a space for dialogue in which both regions can share, cooperate and propose innovative solutions with civil society, with the aim of installing global stabilisation.

Thus, the concept of "civil society" is confusing because its definition is diverse. Conceptually, we will define it as any form of organisation different from or outside the state, the family and the company. That is, an organisation without the aim of making a profit for itself or its members, without the ambition to conquer and manage state power and/or outside the family unit. However, the concept can have several different definitions in different countries, because depending on the political interests at stake, organisations, media or trade unions, can also claim to be civil society. For this reason, it is impossible to define the term exactly. However, there is a shared consensus on what characterises civil society: neutrality and independence from the state, and defence of the overall integrity of society and of vulnerable or marginalised groups.

In the following paragraphs the experts discuss the context and the existing strategic challenges for global stabilisation, as well as the shift in discourse towards civil society, while analysing the current situation of the 'all-military' and the lessons learned.

This analysis is part of a series of research studies conducted by the International Security Centre on dialogue with the Sahel. Following the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum held in March 2021, the speakers belonging to the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum's panel of experts have deepened the themes of their conferences, analysing the shared challenges, and the opportunities for cooperation on our common challenges. This analysis was carried out by Beatriz de León Cobo, Director of the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum, based on the notes of the conference of the same title with the collaboration of Julie Bonin, French Army Reservist. 



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