What's Next for International Support to the Sahel?


Join us for a conversation with European Union Special Representative for the Sahel, Emanuela Del Re and UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa on how the European Union and the United Nations can best support the Sahel countries in view of the region’s increasingly multifaceted challenges.

The discussion will be held under Chatham House rules.


The Sahel is a land of immense opportunities and complex challenges. The last couple of years have seen the political situation deteriorating with unconstitutional changes of power in several countries.  Further, the UNDP 2022 Human Development Report confirms we are back to 2016 poverty levels. In the Lake Chad Basin over 24 million people are in need. The recent rise in food insecurity, aggravated by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, floods, drought, and the cost-of-living crisis have worsened an already dire situation; characterized by protracted under-development and violent extremism. Vast areas of the Sahel are beyond the control of state authorities and lack access to basic services such as education and healthcare. The climate crisis continues to disproportionately affect this part of the world.

The Sahel remains a region of strategic importance to the European Union, which renewed its Sahel Strategy in 2021, and has for many years been one of the strongest partners in terms of development, humanitarian and security assistance.  The United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and its Support Plan (2018) with focus on governance, resilience and security is a broad framework that guides UN development action in the region. In support of UNISS, UNDP has launched its Sahel Offer with programme flagships and a vision to transform the governance, energy and youth sectors with a massive scale-up of investment over five years 2021-2025.

The coming months will see various discussions at international level that will be crucial for the future support to the Sahel. The United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS and the G5 Sahel have appointed a High-Level Panel led by former President Issoufou of Niger to suggest new approaches; the Security Council will consider the options of a UN internal review on the future of MINUSMA for the mandate renewal of the mission in June; the EU Foreign Affairs Council recently discussed the Sahel on January 23rd and an EU-ECOWAS summit will take place on February 6th, 2023. What lessons will the international community draw from past experiences to best support the countries of the Sahel in the future?


3.00pm - Welcome by EU Ambassador Silvio Gonzato

3.05pm-3.45pm - Conversation moderated by Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report

  • Emanuela Del Re, European Union Special Representative for the Sahel
  • Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa

3.45pm-4.30pm - Q&A

Emanuela Claudia Del Re took up the duties of EU Special Representative for the Sahel on 1 July 2021. Her mandate is to lead the EU's contribution to regional and international efforts for lasting peace, security and development in the Sahel. She also coordinates the EU's comprehensive approach to the regional crisis, on the basis of the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel. Ms Emanuela Claudi Del Re is an Italian national who has always been engaged in foreign policy carrying out intense activities such as negotiations, researches, international observation, publishing, and in her political activity becoming a point of reference for communities and institutions in many parts of the world. Prominent scholar, sociologist, she is an expert in foreign policy, international relations, geopolitics, Conflict Studies, migrations, refugee issues, minorities, religious phenomena, connection axes and energy networks. She was a member of the Italian Parliament and served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. Twitter account: @ecdelre.


Ahunna Eziakonwa is UNDP Assistant Administrator, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa. Her vision is contained in Africa’s Promise: The UNDP Renewed Strategic Offer in Africa.” She established the Africa Influencers for Development (AI4D) as a private sector engagement platform galvanizing initiatives to ensure that Africa’s Money works for Africa’s Development, the Africa Young Women Leaders Initiative; Africa Innovates Magazine; and the Africa Borderlands Centre. She (Co) Chairs the UN Regional Collaborative Platform providing strategic leadership on implementation of the UN Secretary General’s reforms in Africa. Ms. Eziakonwa spent 10 years as UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Lesotho leading the response to natural disasters, emergencies and transitions to recovery. Ms. Eziakonwa also worked for Initiatives of Change serving as international coordinator of Creators of Peace – Women’s Initiative”.  Ms Eziakonwa is an alumni of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Executive Programme and has a Bachelors in Education from University of Benin Nigeria.


Karin Landgren joined Security Council Report in May 2018 as its Executive Director. Ms. Landgren served with the United Nations for over 35 years, and is the first woman to have headed three UN peace operations mandated by the Security Council. She was until 2015 a UN under-secretary-general and head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), a peacekeeping operation, and led UNMIL’s response to Ebola through the height of the epidemic. She also led two political missions, the UN Office in Burundi (BNUB) and the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). She was UNICEF’s first chief of child protection, in 1998- 2008.  While with UNHCR from 1980 to 1998, Ms. Landgren served in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea, Singapore, the Philippines, India, and at its headquarters in Geneva. Ms Landgren is founding member of the Nordic Women Mediators’ Network, and has taught at Columbia University and Central European University. Twitter: @LandgrenKarin

03:00 pm - 04:30 pm
EU Delegation to the UN
How to join?

This is an in-person event - RSVP required