The crisis in Mali, the instability in Libya and Boko Haram terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin are all threats to Niger's security and development. In addition, the country is faced with the illegal trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings that serve to some extent in funding terrorist groups who use Niger's vast desert regions as trafficking routes or safe havens. This combination of threats makes it vital for Niger to have a well-functioning and capable security sector.
The current instability in the Sahel and the cross-border nature of the security threats confirm the relevance of the regional approach described in the EU strategy for security and development in the Sahel, adopted in March 2011. EUCAP Sahel Niger, a civilian CSDP Mission launched at the request of Niger's government in August 2012, is an important element of this EU strategy. It complements other EU instruments for development and stability.
The mission's mandate
EUCAP Sahel Niger contributes to the development of an integrated, coherent, sustainable, and human rights-based approach among the various Nigerien security agencies in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. In 2015 a new objective was added; that of the fight against irregular migration and associated criminal activities.
The Mission provides strategic and technical advice and trainings on multiple themes, and complements with equipment, to support the Nigerien authorities' efforts to strengthen their security capabilities. Around 130 international experts, coming from European security forces, justice and foreign affairs departments, are permanently deployed in Niamey.
Since 2015, EUCAP Sahel Niger increased its assistance to the Nigerien regions, in particular to Agadez (through the establishment of a permanent field office inaugurated on April 29th 2016) that are facing a high number of security threats. The presence of the Mission in Agadez contributes to a better control of the irregular migration flows and its related crimes, such as human smuggling, arms or drugs trafficking or forgery of documents.
Finally, the Mission has increased its cooperation with the other CSDP missions in the region, especially EUCAP Sahel Mali, but also EUBAM Libya, and it supports the Regional Coordination Cell in the framework of the EU’s regionalisation concept for the countries of the G5 Sahel.