On 17th and 18th June 2014, UNCDF organized a multi-stakeholder consultation meeting within the framework of the LOBI program, which aims at strengthening the governance of cross-border regions such as the IIRSahel zone between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. This meeting took place in Dori, in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, close to the borders with Niger and Mali and brought together the local authorities of the Sahel region and the focal points on cross-border cooperation from the national administrations of the three countries as well as regional authorities such as UEMOA and the “Autorité du Liptako Gourma” (ALG).
The first meeting of the consultation group (commonly known under the name “C3Sahel”) in 3 years has allowed to re-invigorate the process that was started in 2010 to create a cross-border institution representing the different local authorities, with a mandate of promoting peace and security and the local development of the communities of the cross-border zone. Most importantly, the meeting was an opportunity to identify and validate the first pilot investments of the LOBI program in IIRSahel.
Proposals have been validated for the marking of cross-border tracks for cattle migration, the construction of two vaccination parks, the construction of a slaughterhouse and drying unit in Taka (Niger) and the co-financing of a production unit for animal feed in Dori (Burkina). These investments, planned for the end of the year, will be complemented by several activities to strengthen the capacities of the local authorities and the C3Sahel, which will act as the implementing authority of the pilot projects in IIRSahel, as well as the local economic actors such as the livestock farmers. The investment program for IIRSahel will also include a component on local awareness raising on cross-border cooperation with the help of a cross-border community radio network.
The next steps in the implementation of the program will include the validation of the partnership agreement between the different local authorities in order for the C3Sahel to become a legal entity, able to implement projects on behalf of its members and receive funds from the LOBI programme. The official inception of C3Sahel and its ability to raise and manage funds will be a test case that will allow LOBI to draw up lessons and develop best practices for other cross-border regions in West Africa, including the adaptation of local government traditional PEM process to the cross border investment strategy.