Evaluating CT-Sahel: a flagship projet of the EU’s efforts to counter terrorism

I have twice reviewed the EU Contre Terrorisme Sahel intervention (CT Sahel), a project funded by the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) (formerly Instrument of Stability (IfS)) of the European Union (EU). The principle objective of the programme is to “support national capacities to combat terrorism and organised crime, and reinforce regional co-operation.”[1]

The project ran from 2011-16, and benefitted from a comprehensive Mid-term review (MTR) in 2013-14, and a final review in October – December 2015.  Together, these two evaluations not only help to understand the overall impact of the project, to identify key lessons learned, and to review the future possible transition arrangements related to the closure of the project, but also shed unprecedented light into the nature of international cooperation to counter terrorism in the Sahel.

The CT Sahel Project, 2011-15
The CT Sahel Project could be considered the first active intervention of the European Union (EU) in the realm of counter-terrorism implemented by EU Member States. The final review has confirmed that the project has sat at the heart a number of integral internal and external strategic priorities of the EU in development and security, and that it has had a pivotal role to play in positioning the EU as a credible and valuable actor as part of a coordinated approach to addressing the growing threat of terrorism.

The project is implemented by a consortium led by the French agency CIVIPOL and was designed with two components: three national programmes providing capacity building and a limited amount of equipment, and a mutually reinforcing regional component, the Collège Sahélien de Sécurité (CSS).

Under the national pillars of the project, law enforcement agencies (police, gendarmerie, garde nationale) and specialised judicial institutions in Mali, Mauritania and Niger were offered capacity building and training opportunities with a view to improve national capacity in information and intelligence-exchange to prevent/deter organised crime and terrorism; to improve the capacity of internal security forces and judiciary of the project’s target states to pursue and respond to terrorist acts, and to support the progressive development of regional cooperation against terrorism and organised crime. National activities were coordinated by a full-time Resident Expert situated in each project country and supported by a junior expert. Each organised a series of operational trainings using training teams drawn from European security institutions to build specialised capacity to counter-terrorism.

The CCS was intended to serve as a hub of expertise for training, reflection and knowledge-sharing on organised crime and terrorism. Having a process that is genuinely nationally owned, lead and directed was central to the vision of the CSS, its creation and implementation. It was designed as a cooperation vehicle to be owned and managed by the authorities of the three partner countries on a rotating basis.

CT Sahel was subject to a comprehensive Mid Term Review (MTR), published in February 2014, which concluded that CT Sahel had played an instrumental role in substantiating the aspirations and operationalizing the objectives of the EU Strategy for the Sahel, and the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Download the Final Report: CT Sahel – Final review (EN) – Dec 2015

Download the Mid-Term Review: EU_Mid-Term review of the CT Sahel Project_Final Report 2014

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