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Dear Common Effort Community members and friends,

First, we hope that all of you are healthy and keep the spirit up, despite the strange and difficult circumstances everyone is currently facing. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 related measures, it is no longer possible to organize Common Effort next 15-18 June in The Hague. Therefore, we have decided to postpone Common Effort 2020, tentatively to the week of 19 October 2020 in The Hague. By the end of August after final confirmation on the new date, we will send out the invitations.

Security situation in G5 Sahel demands for intensifying of efforts…

The links and overlap between violent extremism, transnational organized crime and local conflicts make it difficult to understand the threats and find solutions. We need empirical data to help explain the local dynamics that fuel the insecurity. As the security situation continues to deteriorate, new initiatives to strengthen security and stability have been announced. The Coalition for the Sahel, the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel (P3S) and the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF, Taskforce Takuba) are in addition to the ongoing efforts by MINUSMA, CSDP Missions, Barkhane and the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The EU Council recently extended the mandate for the EU military training mission to contribute supporting the Malian Armed Forces (EUTM Mali) with another four years until May 2024. Due to the security situation, the EU Council decided to expand the mission area of EUTM Mali to the whole of Mali and to all G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Niger) for targeted and temporary activities upon invitations to that effect, where required.

…but will these efforts be effective?

Coordination of all these security efforts remains a challenge, as well as ensuring that all these efforts will not hamper, but strengthen local peace-building, humanitarian and development activities that aim to address the root causes of the complex conflicts. This comprehensive approach is what Common Effort aims to train and reflect upon! Given its diverse composition, Common Effort is well positioned to reflect on all these challenges and try to come to recommendations for innovative and effective approaches that support the security and development efforts in the G5 Sahel.

Common Effort 2020 will focus on trust building and local ownership…

To sustain all the security and development efforts, re-establishment of local government structures that provide basic services to the population are crucial. Common Effort 2020 will focus again the countries of G5 Sahel. More specifically on Liptako-Gourma, the fragile border area between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, with the main effort on trust building and local ownership.

During Common Effort 2019, we assessed the conflict dynamics, security and development efforts and potential role for Common Effort. In 2020, we will build upon the outcomes of 2019 and formulate courses of action to address these security and development challenges effectively. Using parts of a comprehensive operations planning process, five working groups will each formulate courses of action for the different policy questions.

…which was touched upon during the CE 2020 preparation workshop 11-12 March

Just before most of us found ourselves in lockdown situations due to COVID-19, a part of Common Effort Community met on 11-12 March at the CCOE in The Hague to prepare the agenda for Common Effort 2020. Marjolein Sliep and Justus Veldhuizen of the Dutch MFA briefed on the latest political developments, 1GNC gave an update on the security situation, while Noëmie Maclet of Search for Common Ground briefed through VTC from Bamako on the latest developments in Liptako-Gourma with a focus on the lack of access and trust. The five working groups started to work on the concept notes that will include the main questions to be addressed at Common Effort 2020 that relate to trust building and local ownership with regard to:

- G5 Sahel Joint Force – Justice Nexus
- Trust, Human Rights, Gender and Dialogue

- Development and Security in fragile border areas
- Engaging Youth for Security
- Narrative Management

Once finalized, the concept notes will become available at the Common Effort web portal. Latest information on Common Effort 2020 will also be posted on the portal in the weeks to come.

Common Effort 2020 postponed to 19-22 October 2020 (TBC)

Dear friends, we hope we will meet you all in calendar week 43 (the week of 19 October 2020). As mentioned, final confirmation on the date will be given by the end of August. For now, keep up the good work for Common Effort, stay safe and healthy and see you soon again!

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