In the past three years, armed conflicts have exacerbated existing development and security challenges in West Africa and the Sahel, and heightened regional and international concerns about the vulnerability of the region to violent extremism and terrorism. The potential for violent transnational actors to exploit vast porous borders, grievances, and conflicts, and to develop networks, operations, and communications to gather support and recruits has been increased in this context. It is therefore critical that states strengthen preventive capacities to identify potential threats and strengthen resilience at the local, national, and regional levels.

This workshop for frontline officials was organized by the Global Center and supported by the governments of Denmark and Burkina Faso, under the auspices of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. The workshop convened practitioners from Burkina Faso’s security sector, including the Gendarmerie and national police, as well as government officials from the Ministry of Territorial Administration, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Human Rights, as well as regional and international experts.

The training workshop provided participants with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the drivers and impact of violent extremism and programs and policies to counter the threat in Burkina Faso as well as the broader region of West Africa and the Sahel. Participants shared insights and experiences about sources of violence and tensions, and opportunities to address them. Lessons learned from CVE programming by governments and civil society in the region were also shared, including  illustrative practical experiences from neighboring countries like Niger, Nigeria, and Mali (through the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission-MINUSMA), as well as international partners like the GCTF, ECOWAS, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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