In 2012, the deteriorating security situation in the region marked by the political and security crisis in Mali and Libya, including the threat of Boko Haram, brought to the fore the significance of the linkages between multiple and complex challenges facing the Sahel region, particularly  in the areas of security, governance, development, and human rights.
In order to address them, an Integrated Strategy for the Sahel has been developed by the United Nations.

The United Nations Integrated Strategy has been endorsed by the Security Council in June 2013 and received Sahelian governments’ support during a High-Level Meeting on the Sahel held in September 2013 in the margins of the 68th General Assembly.

During the joint visit of the Secretary-General with the World Bank, AUC, African Development Bank (AfDB) and EU to Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad in November 2013, partners committed to supporting efforts of the region to fight the interconnected challenges to long term stability and development in the Sahel by promoting regional programming through an integrated approach beyond institutional barriers.

In May 2014, the Secretary-General appointed Mrs. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie as his Special Envoy for the Sahel to promote and  ensure a coherent UN approach in the region.
The three pillars of the UN strategy are in the areas of governance, security and resilience in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Several implementation and coordination mechanisms have been set up to coordinate national, regional and international actors efforts.