A new approach to prevent violent extremism in West Africa puts governance and democracy support at the forefront of the global response

A new approach to prevent violent extremism in West Africa puts governance and democracy support at the forefront of the global response

Parliamentary Centre’s work in Burkina Faso, funded by the European Union, Sweden, and Switzerland echoes that approach 

West Africa has been grappling with the devastating expansion of violent extremism for years. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) spearheaded a Task Force on Extremism in Fragiles States that came to the unequivocal conclusion that “Increasing democracy and governance assistance is the best way to address the root causes of violent extremism”. 

A growing body of evidence suggests that violent extremist groups tap into social and political grievances, like the disenfranchisement of youth and women, lack of basic services, as well as inter-religious/inter-ethnic conflicts as entry points into communities. All the while, funding levels for democracy, human rights, and governance programs have decreased substantially over the past two decades. 

At their core, these are key governance challenges. Strong, inclusive, and accountable democratic systems need to be supported in the region so people can make their voices heard and have their needs addressed by those in power.

The Parliamentary Centre is encouraged by  Canada’s pledge to enhance development engagement in the Sahel as we reaffirm our commitment to support democratic institutions in Burkina Faso and across the region. We are committed to helping to shape and deliver new initiatives in collaboration with others. 

Collective Action Holds Promise:  Parliaments and Civil Society of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Chad Discuss Common Security Challenges

In the last quarter, the Parliamentary Centre organized a Regional Conference of the G5 Sahel Inter-Parliamentary Committee (IPC) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The goal was to bolster Parliamentary oversight and coordination of security sector governance in the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger).

The conference was organized within the framework of the Joint Support Programme to the National Assembly of Burkina Faso (PROCAB), and brought together delegations representing the G5 Sahel States, mainly made up of parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, representatives of the defence and security services, representatives of the academia, as well as leaders of civil society organizations. The participants committed to bolstering parliamentary oversight and regional coordination of governance institutions to ensure human rights and democratic principles are front and center of security response. 

Beyond military intervention and humanitarian response, we believe that democratic institutions, like Parliaments, play an essential role, giving a nation’s population a place to voice their concerns, including those of civil society organizations, youth, women, and other marginalized groups. 

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