Think7 Summit : Global governance in a time of doubt

May 21, 2018 > May 23, 2018, Québec

Matthieu Boussichas spoke on security, development and migration issues.

From May 21 to 23, Matthieu Boussichas, Program Officer at Ferdi, participated in the Think7 Summit, organized at the Université de Laval in Quebec, in the context of the Canada's G7 presidency.

The Summit brought together some 30 experts from academic institutions and think tanks from G7 countries to think together on the challenges of complexity and inclusion in global governance. At the end of their meeting, they presented the synthesis of their reflections to the official representatives of the G7 countries: The Declaration Think7.

What response of the G7 to economic, environmental, and security challenges of the Sahel?

Matthieu Boussichas (FERDI) : Submission to the seminar of the Think Seven (T7), Laval, Quebec City, May 21-23, 2017.

The 193 Member States of the United Nations have adopted a common agenda of sustainable development in 2015, materialized by 17 major thematic goals and 169 targets to be achieved collectively and in all countries by 2030. These sustainable development goals (SDGs) cover main issues that countries are facing. Above all, this new agenda underlines how these issues are interwoven and how international cooperation is essential to address these challenges.

As a group of leading countries, the G7 plays a major role in promoting this agenda and its values. This requires the G7 to implement strong and coordinated development cooperation policies which take into account all aspects of sustainable development.

Because they are particularly complementary and related to each other, the issues put forward by the Canadian Presidency of the G7 - inclusive growth; employment; gender; environment; security - cannot be addressed in silo or in an isolated way by each country. The question is to know how to better coordinate the actions and public policies related to these issues so that they are as effective as possible.

If the communiqué of the G7 Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Security in April 28, 2018 reaffirms their willingness to collaborate on some critical factors of security in the world, it deals with only very few interactions between security issues and other Canadian priorities. However, it is necessary to understand these links in order to implement appropriate and coherent responses so that they are effective and sustainable.

The example of the Sahel, which curiously is not included in examples of regions of insecurity cited by the communiqué, illustrates the links between the themes privileged by the Canadian Presidency but also the need for better coordination of reflections and actions of donors.

Indeed, the Sahel is in a situation of poverty and growing insecurity that constitutes a major obstacle to the realization of the SDGs in these countries, maintains development of illegal traffics, promotes the rise of terrorism and drives millions of people to migrate. Faced with these threats, the only military response is not enough.

The G7 must be able to provide a global response to the Sahel. In parallel with a coordinated military action, the G7 countries must implement an ambitious development cooperation policy taking into account all the factors and issues of development: economy, employment, inequality, environment, migration, but also security.

The involvement of the G7 countries in this region is even more justified that they share a common destiny in part. Beyond economic and trade relations that should grow in the future, security and migration issues in the Sahel have strong implications for the G7, particularly for European countries.

Demographic prospects in the Sahel for the 21st century should increase migratory pressure on the G7 countries.

Another major factor of this pressure, growing insecurity feeds chronic underdevelopment. Unemployment and the lack of prospects for young people are factors of instability in the country, especially as this youth is very large, fast-growing and does not have always the level of education required to be employable. Quality education and training tailored to a population predominantly rural are so fundamental.

Security allows for the development so that the development itself can bring lasting peace and security for the people. Security spending is also largely left to the sole responsibility of the Sahelian countries whose tax revenues are considered to be much too low. There is a strong risk of crowding out of social spending by expenditure on security that the action of donors does not reduce enough, far from it. This issue could also lead to wonder about the type of assistance that would be the most suited to crisis situations.

Finally, the global warming issue cannot be excluded of this comprehensive approach, in particular because of the consequences on crop yields but also because there is a strong correlation between climate change-related migration and their contribution to the increase in violence or insecurity.

The G7 leaders should be committed:

  1. To implement a vigorous and sustainable policy for the development of the Sahel, in line with security issues. This involves among other things substantially increasing assistance to this region, improving the coordination of donors and wondering about the necessary security spending that often limit state budgets.
  2. To improve the governance and the actions in rural areas, particularly for education and rural development, bearing in mind the necessary demographic transition and the position of girls and women who constitute the most vulnerable part of these populations.
  3. To support specific and tailored intervention tools, avoiding the compartmentalization between the issues, such as the “Sahel Alliance”.
  4. To support applied research initiatives with the intention of understanding the local context and facilitate the appropriation by local governments to support policies.
  5. To increase official development assistance adapted to intervention in the riskiest situations and facilitating the mobilization of private investment in the most vulnerable countries.

 The discussion group "sécurity, development and migration" : Professor Abdoulaye Anne (Université Laval, Québec, Canada), Dr. Matthieu Boussichas (FERDI), Professor Élisabeth Vallet (Université du Québec à Montréal-UQAM, Canada),Professor Arthur Silve (Université Laval, Québec, Canada), Professor Patrick Legros (Université libre de Bruxelles,Belgium), Professor Hugo Dobson (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom).