U.N. Security Council briefed on new strategy

The Secretary-General's special envoy for Sahel Romano Prodi briefed the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday and unveiled a new strategy for combating extremists and terrorists.

The strategy is intended to achieve long-term peace and security in a region that has been filled with strife. It would focus on strengthening national and regional security mechanisms, which would ensure inclusive and effective governance.

"This four-by-four strategy should be the foundation of a collective response to the challenges of the region," Prodi said.

The strategy would also focus on bolstering humanitarian and development plans in Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The plan was developed after consulting with regional and religious leaders in these regions, along with members from the regional governments and U.N. officials.

There is mounting global concern that the current crisis in Mali will cause extremism and terrorism to spread to other parts of Sahel. Prodi said ignoring the current dangers could lead to challenges facing the regions and could create more Malis.

The four-step plan would begin by creating short-term regional development priorities in close collaboration with Governments in the region. Next, there would be consultations with the United Nations Development Programme.

These two steps would be followed by mobilizing more resources and aid for humanitarian efforts. Finally, a coordination mechanism would be created to check progress and ensure that resources were used in a cost-effective way.