Spain Hosts the 7th Informal Meeting of EU Special Representatives and Sahel Partners

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Casa África, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, hosts the 7th Informal Meeting of European Union Ambassadors, Special Representatives and Sahel Partners. The meeting is to be held on 17 and 18 October and is jointly organised by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, which will be represented by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Fernando Valenzuela, and by the European Union, represented by the European Union Special Representative for the Sahel, Ángel Losada. High representatives for the Sahel from the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), as well as the G-5 Sahel – a sub-regional organisation created in December 2014 that brings together five countries in the region (Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad) – will participate in the meeting. Among the Authorities and experts attending the meeting, it is worth mentioning the presence of Minister Nene Oumon Deffa Kane, from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, in charge of Women and Social Affairs; Maman Sambo Sidikou, Permanent Secretary of the G-5 Sahel; Ms Finda Koroma, Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the U.A. Special Representative for the Sahel, Mr Pierre Buyoya, and the United Nations Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mr Mohamed Ibn Chambas. The meeting will also be attended by ten Special Representatives for the Sahel from EU countries, as well as from the USA, Canada, Switzerland and Norway.

The Sahel (a word derived from Arabic meaning “coast or shore”) is made up of the territories of 11 countries ranging from northern Senegal to Ethiopia. This is a priority region for the EU and especially for Spain, given our geographical proximity. It is a territory affected by several crises (climate change, population explosion, underdevelopment, institutional weakness, etc.) as well as conflicts (jihadist terrorism, organised crime, inter-ethnic conflicts etc.), making it a source of instability for its environment (Sahel), Sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and even Southern Europe. This requires the commitment of the EU, and namely Spain, in the management of these crises and conflicts, within the framework of the “EU Strategy for the Sahel” and its subsequent “Action Plan”, based on the axes of Security and Economic Development, together with the countries of the region. Hosting this meeting in a privileged space such as Casa África is thus of great importance and relevance. The event will take place over two days and will be inaugurated on Thursday 17 October at 3 p.m. by the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, by the Special Representative of the European Union for the Sahel, together with a representative of the Government of the Canary Islands; the Mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Augusto Hidalgo, and the Director General of Casa África, José Segura Clavell. Several topics of interest will be addressed in various thematic roundtables focusing on: 1) security and stability in the Sahel, 2) economic development in the region, 3) women's contribution to peace and security and 4) closing session.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain.

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