In 2015, FERDI launched the program "Peace, Security and Development". The aim was to call for significant changes in European and French development policies for the Sahel to align the policies with the region's security challenges.
In 2016, FERDI published the report Linking Security and Development – A plea for the Sahel (also in French) addressed to stakeholders: political leaders of Sahelian States, regional institutions, businesses, NGOs, and public donors.
This report was the result of the collaboration of 11 experts from different areas, and includes the testimonies of 17 well-known experts from research, diplomacy, development, humanitarian action, and defense. Their work and knowledge support FERDI’s conviction that the cost of inaction is higher than the international community's spending on Sahelian development. Security and development go hand in hand, and close collaboration between public and private actors, including NGOs, is needed to reduce the vulnerabilities of the Sahel countries.
In January 2018, FERDI set up a chair dedicated to the Sahel, based in Ouagadougou.
This initiative is innovative because its work and management are Sahel-led. The Sahel Chair is based on the report presented above, but also on the many reactions and comments it has generated. The chair aims to influence the decisions of public and private actors in their action to overcome the continuing Sahel crisis, and to promote sustainable development in the region. Its work examines the implementation of plans and policies and their effects, with the objective of increasing their impact on populations and on targeted sectors of activity (education, rural development, health, governance/institutions).
Tertius Zongo, former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso and Senior Fellow of FERDI, is the Director of the Chair in Ouagadougou. He leads the team of African experts mobilized for this purpose.
The resonance of FERDI's work with the current events and concerns of Sahelian actors has encouraged FERDI researchers to participate in various events.
FERDI researchers have spread their research into the analysis of the correlation between development, humanitarian efforts, and security. They advocate for improved governance and action in rural areas, including education and agriculture.
Some examples of events organized by FERDI, or in which its researchers have participated, are: