The governments of Burkina Faso and Denmark, in cooperation with the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and CGCC, brought together 140 representatives from 27 governments, four international and regional organizations, and 28 civil society and expert scholar-practitioners to identify practical ways to address the spread of violent extremism in West Africa and the Sahel.
Discussions at the workshop focused on exploring innovative approaches to enhance community-state partnerships to prevent terrorism and violent extremism. The meeting, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, with the generous support of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was convened amidst heightened international concern over the threat of terrorism facing the subregion.
Participants included government officials and civil society representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Ten members of the GCTF, including Algeria, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Morocco, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and the United States participated in the workshop, as well as representatives from the African Union and the United Nations. Civil society organizations represented included the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD); Centre for Strategies and Security for the Sahel Sahara (Centre 4S); the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS); the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF); The Hedayah International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism; Interpeace; the Malian Association for Peace and Salvation; and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), among others.
Workshop discussions will feed into the development of an Action Agenda that will offer a series of concrete programmatic recommendations to enhance partnerships between the international community, regional governments, civil society, and local communities to counter violent extremism in West Africa and the Sahel.