RPCA › About us
About the Network
The Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) is an international consultation and co-ordination platform drawing on the political leadership of the ECOWAS and the UEMOA Commissions. Its technical management is co-ordinated by CILSS, with the support of the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (OECD/SWAC). Created in 1984, the work of the RPCA is based on consultation, dialogue and analysis. It reinforces the coherence and effectiveness of interventions through the implementation of the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management. The Network brings together the three West African regional organisations (ECOWAS, UEMOA, CILSS), regional and international information systems, bi- and multilateral co-operation agencies, humanitarian organisations and international NGOs, as well as agricultural professional associations, the private sector and civil society. The actions of the Network are carried out under the framework of the Regional System for the Prevention and Management of Food Crises (PREGEC).
Food Security Challenges
The Sahel famines of 1973 and 1984 are etched in the memory of all, as the entire world discovered the disastrous consequences of these terrible droughts. Despite strong international mobilisation, a full assessment revealed many deficiencies in the management of crises and particularly of aid. The region’s food security actors and their development partners therefore decided to join forces to create information tools and mechanisms to strengthen the co-ordination of interventions through the RPCA. Since then, thanks in particular to the work of the Network, Sahelian and West African countries have progressed in protecting themselves from the consequences of such catastrophes.
Food security remains, however, a key challenge for the entire region. Current food crises are more complex and multi-faceted than in the past. The regional population has doubled since the beginning of the 1980s; urban population saw a twentyfold increase between 1950 and 2010. Global markets have an increasingly strong impact and new actors are shaping the institutional landscape. Despite significant progress, the absolute number of people suffering from hunger is currently higher than during the 1980s. In March 2012, approximately six million people were in a state of severe food insecurity. The majority of the Sahelian countries have an acute malnutrition rate of around 15%, higher than the emergency threshold. Ensuring the smooth running of markets, increasing investment in food production, and improving the living conditions of vulnerable households and their access to basic services (health, education, water-sanitation-hygiene, etc.) are some of today’s key challenges for sustainable food and nutritional security.
By leveraging the potential of its agriculture and youth, West Africa can count on its regional organisations to take a leadership role in the fight against food and nutritional insecurity. Regional policies/strategies and common governance mechanisms, of which the RPCA is one of the pillars, are evidence of the strength of regional solidarity.
The PREGEC Cycle
To facilitate consensus-building, the network relies on the expertise of its Members, notably those specialised in the production and analysis of information on food and nutritional security (CILSS, FAO, FEWS NET, UNOCHA, WFP). Regular consultations are an integral part of the Regional System for the Prevention and Management of Food Crises (PREGEC) comprising six major steps:
June: Technical meeting:
- Launch of the agricultural campaign and preparation for monitoring of the rainy season;
- Review of the agro-meteorological and climatic forecast.
September: Technical meeting:
- Quantified forecast of cereals production and the evolution of the rainy season;
- Action plan for at risk areas;
- Monitoring of actions conducted since March.
November: Technical meeting:
- Analysis of the food situation in at-risk areas
- Preparation for the annual meeting;
December: Annual meeting of the Network:
- Provisional assessment of the agricultural campaign;
- Monitoring of the Network’s priority work areas;
- Recommendations to policy makers.
March: Technical meeting:
- Final assessment of the agricultural and food situation at the national and regional levels
- Preparation for the RPCA meeting in April;
April: Restricted meeting of the Network at the OECD headquarters:
- Recommendations to policy makers;
- Forum for exchange and advocacy with representatives of OECD member countries.
For further information on the origins of the Network