The crisis in the Sahel will not end unless new responses depart from the traditional “business‐as‐usual” approach. This was the key insight offered in a high‐level roundtable on the Sahel held at the International Peace Institute on September 7, 2012, co‐organized with the African Union (AU) and the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg to the United Nations. This timely meeting came ahead of the presentation of the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel to the Security Council on September 17, and a high‐level meeting on the Sahel organized by Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon in the margins of the general debate of the 67th session of the General Assembly, which also takes place in September.
The half‐day roundtable at IPI aimed to (1) help develop a shared understanding of the problems confronting the Sahel region; (2) take stock of the national, regional, and global responses underway, or being contemplated, to address these problems; and (3) explore additional or alternative response strategies. The meeting was attended by over fifty‐five participants, including officials of the United Nations, permanent representatives to the United Nations—including the ambassadors from Mali,
Niger, Chad, Benin, Morocco, and Turkey—civil society organizations, academics, and experts from think tanks and research institutions, including the Mauritania‐based Centre for Strategies and Security for the Sahel‐Sahara Region.