Sahel region and Lake Chad area Window

Sahel region and Lake Chad area Window

The Sahel and Lake Chad Window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund comprises of twelve countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, along with neighbouring countries. These countries all have a considerable number of challenges that can be addressed by the Trust Fund, complementing other EU instruments.

In the Sahel and Lake Chad region, challenges linked to extreme poverty, lack of stability, economic fragility and low resilience remain acute. This is exacerbated by climate change in a region where more than 80% of the population relies essentially on agriculture and pastoral activities. Irregular migration and related crimes such as trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants, corruption, illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime are thriving particularly where there is an insufficient presence of governmental authority and public administration. These security challenges have been increasingly linked to terrorist groups and illicit trafficking of all kinds.

The region also faces growing challenges related to demographic pressure, institutional weaknesses and governance, weak social and economic infrastructures, environmental stress and insufficient resilience to food and nutrition crises. All of these factors are root causes of forced displacement and make people flee conflict, seek protection from persecution or serious harm, or seek new economic opportunities and build a better life. As a consequence, migration pressure is mounting, with serious implication both for the countries in the region and the EU. The Trust Fund project interventions in the Sahel and Lake Chad will go a long way towards both alleviating the current challenges facing the region.

Given the proximity of the Sahel to the EU and its immediate neighbourhood, the EU is working closely with the countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region to support their efforts to achieve peace, security and development. Current dialogue between the EU and the region of Sahel/Lake Chad on security, stability and migration-related issues is currently being stepped up, based on existing or reinforced dialogues (e.g. Sahel Strategy and the Valletta Summit on Migration) and different platforms (Rabat process, ECOWAS, G5 Sahel, Lake Chad Basin Commission).

  • After one year of existence, the EUTF has successfully positioned itself in complementarity with existing instruments by providing a swift and flexible answer to achieve the common goals and interests of the EU and its African partners in managing migration flows and promoting stability. The EUTF allowed the EU to better invest on key issues such as fighting irregular migration, notably migrant smuggling and trafficking, as well as to facilitate returns.

    The first Operational Committee meeting took place on 14th of January 2016 and enabled the adoption of 10 programmes for a total of €101 million. The core objective of these 10 first programmes is to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement. Activities have started in early 2016, focusing on a variety of areas including employment opportunities, migration management, and building resilience through the provision of basic services. 

    On the occasion of the second meeting of the Operational Committee for the Sahel region and Lake Chad basin which took place on 18 April 2016, the European Commission announced the launch of 20 new programmes in the region for an amount of over €280 million. These actions are complementary to the first 10 programmes and aim to support the stability and resilience of partner countries as well as to promote economic development and job creation.

    The Operational Committee met for the third time on 13 June 2016 and adopted 6 new programmes worth over €146 million in total. The measures are aimed at reinforcing support for domestic security forces and border management in the main areas of instability. They are part of a comprehensive response by the European Union and are the fruit of an enhanced political dialogue with its partners on the issue of migration.

    The last Operational Committee took place on 14 December 2016 and 28 additional programmes were adopted for a total of €381 million. Nine of the 28 measures adopted are part of a migration initiative with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), aimed at strengthening migration management and governance and at facilitating the return and reintegration of migrants and the protection of those most vulnerable, while the other 19 measures address other priorities of the Trust Fund, in particular increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable groups, supporting youth employment, the private sector and entrepreneurship, improving training opportunities, supporting the working of civil society and combating radicalisation.

    To date, the Sahel and Lake Chad window of the EUTF has approved a total of 65 projects in the 9 countries it covers, for a total of €918.5 million.

    The adoption of the Fund's programmes is part of a continuous development process, stemming from a dialogue with partners at all levels and in-depth knowledge of national contexts and regional dynamics.

    For a full description of each programme from the first, second, third and fourth operational committees, please click on the programme titles below.

    You can access information on the contractual status of each adopted action under the Sahel Region and Lake Chad area Window of the EU Trust Fund via this link.


    *Amounts indicated below only refer to contributions from the EU Trust Fund for Africa.



Trust Fund Programmes



The first Operational Committee meeting of the Sahel region and Lake Chad area Window took place on the 14th of January 2016 in Brussels. A first pipeline of projects was approved, with a total of 10 projects and a budget amounting to €101 million. Since then, other Operational Committees have taken place in order to adopt new programmes.

  • 14/01/2016 - First Operational Committee: Agenda
  • 18/04/2016 - Second Operational Committee: Agenda

  • 13/06/2016 - Third Operational Committee: Agenda

  • 14/12/2016 - Fourth Operational Committee: Agenda

Reactions from some of the participants of the first Operational Committee meeting:

/europeaid/file/un-fonds-fiduciaire-durgence-de-lunion-europeene-pour-lafrique_enUn fonds fiduciaire d'urgence de l'Union Européene pour l'Afrique

The main role of the Operational Committee consists in adopting projects, in line with the overall strategy of the Trust Fund. To steer this work on implementation, it establishes the operational framework for the EU Trust Fund's activities in the Sahel region and Lake Chad area both at regional level and per country.

The Operational Committee for the Sahel region and Lake Chad area is composed of representatives from the European Commission (Chair), the European Union External Action Service, EU Member States and other donors, as well as partner countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal) and regional organisations such as ECOWAS.

On the occasion of the Third Operational Committee, the Operational Framework for the Sahel & Lake Chad window of the EU emergency Trust Fund was presented to the audience. This document specifies the pursued objectives for the Sahel & Lake Chad window as planned in the Trust Fund's general strategy. Annexes are attached to the document, detailing proposed priorities by country. This Operational Framework is a living document and will continue to evolve thanks to the help of Delegations to the European Union, Member States and partner countries.