Progress made in the implementation of AGIR
Three years after the adoption of the Regional Roadmap, stakeholders of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) gathered during a session of the Senior Experts Group (SEG) on 15 April 2016 at the OECD headquarters in Paris, in order to review progress and explore perspectives.
To date, six countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Togo) have validated their National Resilience Priorities (NRP-AGIR); five countries (Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal) are in the process of validation; the remaining countries (Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) have launched or are preparing to launch national inclusive dialogues (NID).
This comes at a time when the region is committed to drawing up a second generation of National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIPs), in line with the African Union Malabo Declaration of 2014. This project presents an opportunity to integrate the National Resilience Priorities as “a Component for Resilience-strengthening of vulnerable populations”.
The SEG regrets that funding issues have considerably impeded the NRP-AGIR process and urges all stakeholders to renew their commitment to the Alliance, notably by:
- Providing support to countries working towards the validation of their priorities
- Providing support and guidance to national and regional actors, to ensure an effective integration of the NRP-AGIR into the next generation of national agricultural investment plans.
While commending States for initiating the implementation process of NRP-AGIR that has already been adopted, the SEG encourages all stakeholders to strengthen political and financial mobilisation towards the implementation of national and regional priorities and the creation of an operational framework to monitor and evaluate the Alliance’s outcomes.
The stakeholders reaffirmed the commitment made in Milan to improve co-ordination and work together effectively within the framework of the Alliance. They also applauded the outstanding and active participation of G5 Sahel representatives in charge of the resilience pillar and encouraged the Network to pursue its efforts to promote policy dialogue aimed at strengthening the convergence and efficiency of resilience initiatives.
Upon the invitation of the European Union, a high-level consultation was held in Brussels on 18 June 2012 which led to the adoption of a joint declaration on resilience in the Sahel. H.E. Mr Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumaré, President of the UEMOA Commission attended. This high-level consultation helped build the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) – Sahel and West Africa. This is a long-term political partnership supporting resilience initiatives in the Sahel and West Africa. Many events, workshops and consultations were held:
- 23 July 2012: The Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) participated in a technical and financial partners’ senior experts meeting. An outline of the planning process for AGIR was formulated.
- 10 September 2012, Abidjan: With the facilitation of the SWAC/OECD Secretariat, a consultation was held with the three West African regional organisations (ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS). A joint position on AGIR with a focus on the regional political and technical leadership was validated.
- 22 October 2012, Ouagadougou: A consultation was held with civil society and private sector organisations. A joint position was validated.
- October – Nov. 2012: A meeting, facilitated by the SWAC/OECD Secretariat, reflected on the content of the AGIR Regional Roadmap.
- 7-8 November 2012, Paris: The first Senior Experts Group (SEG) meeting of the Global Alliance of Resilience (AGIR) validated initial guidelines of the AGIR Regional Roadmap.
- 6 December 2012, Ouagadougou: AGIR was officially launched during the 28th Annual Meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA). All stakeholders adopted a Joint Declaration.
- January – March 2013: A working group prepared the terms of the draft AGIR Regional Roadmap. A working session was held from 8-9 March 2013 in Lomé.
- 9 April 2013, Paris: The AGIR Regional Roadmap was adopted at the 2nd Senior Experts Group (SEG) meeting within the framework of the restricted RPCA meeting. The Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs) co-ordination platform was created.
- May 2013, Abuja: A letter by the AEWR/ECOWAS Commissioner invited the 17 member countries of ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS to engage in national inclusive dialogues (NID) to define National Resilience Priorities (NRPs) as outlined in the AGIR Regional Roadmap.
- May – July 2013: A draft of the methodological tools for conducting NID was prepared with the support of the SWAC/OECD Secretariat.
- 28-30 August 2013, Cotonou: The set of methodological tools for conducting NID was validated for the formulation of NRPs during a regional workshop.
- December 2013: ECOWAS Commission President, H.E. Mr Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo sent a correspondence regarding the implementation of AGIR to the 17 Heads of State and government.
- January – February 2014: The AGIR Technical Unit was officially created; set-up by ECOWAS/UEMOA and hosted by CILSS.
- November 2013 – April 2016: All 17 countries are engaged in AGIR: 1) six countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Togo) validated their NRPs; five countries (Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal) are working to validate their NRPs; iii) six countries (Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) have started and/or are in the progress of conducting their NID.
- 30 October 2015, Milan: A Declaration was adopted during the RPCA Special Session. It affirms stakeholder commitment to strengthen convergence, synergy and complementarities of resilience initiatives, building on AGIR as a unifying framework.
- 2 December 2015, Paris-Le Bourget: During the COP 21, there was a reading of the stakeholder’s Declaration on AGIR’s contribution to strengthening resilience capacity and climate change adaptation of the region’s most vulnerable populations.
AGIR - one year on...
Among the major achievements was the finalisation of methodological tools for conducting national inclusive dialogue, which were validated at the regional workshop on 28-30 August 2013 in Cotonou, and the establishment of the AGIR Technical Unit. Stakeholders commended the SWAC Secretariat for providing a platform for dialogue, lobbying and advocacy for the Alliance.
Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, speaking at the Sahel and West Africa Week 2013,
Abidjan, 25-29 November 2013
"Since we launched the Global Alliance for Resilience - Sahel and West Africa (AGIR) in Ouagadougou, we have gone a very long way in just one short year. First, we have now a number of countries developing their national action plans: what specifically they can do to make communities more resilient to recurrent shocks of droughts and floods; secondly, we have mobilised significant financial commitments from the European Union: 1.5 billion euros that are going to underpin the measures that countries identify; and third, we have very significant engagements not just from agriculture where we started on the issue of food security, but also from health and social affairs; from ministries but also from bottom-up community organisations. [...]" > full statement.
Food security stakeholders have formed a consensus that humanitarian assistance must not be disassociated from efforts to combat the structural causes of poverty and endemic famine. The Alliance focuses greater attention on the most vulnerable populations with the goal of building their resilience and capacity to withstand crises and shocks. A large number of initiatives already apply the “resilience approach” and the Alliance aims to support and strengthen them. AGIR is thus not an additional initiative or a new opportunity to access finance – even though it might also channel additional resources towards resilience. It is a long-term political partnership to enhance the effectiveness of Sahelian and West African initiatives. During the December 2012 launch in Ouagadougou, Alliance stakeholders set a goal to eradicate hunger within the next 20 years. Under the political and technical leadership of ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS, the Alliance builds on existing discussion forums and networks, in particular within the framework of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA). The Roadmap provides a Regional Guidance Framework setting forth the overall objectives of the Alliance. It serves as the basis for formulating national resilience priorities, including operational frameworks for funding, implementation, monitoring and assessment.
> AGIR presentation flyer
At the initiative of the European Union, ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS met with their international partners at a high-level consultation on 18 June 2012 in Brussels to discuss the root causes of recurrent food and nutritional crises which are weakening the livelihoods of the most vulnerable households. They agreed to join efforts and create a Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) - Sahel and West Africa. The Alliance aims to promote greater resilience among vulnerable populations by creating greater synergy between emergency actions and between long-term strategies aimed at addressing the root causes of food crises. In line with the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Alliance puts emphasis on donor co-ordination and the building of synergy in order to foster effective collective action for sustainable food and nutritional security. “In order to achieve the objectives set, “The relevant processes should be fully owned at regional level and anchored in the region”, concluded participants at the high-level meeting on 18 June.
To implement this partnership, the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC/OECD) facilitated consultations amongst all stakeholders. On 6 December 2012, some 200 stakeholders gathered in Ouagadougou at the 28th RPCA Annual Meeting to seal the Alliance. They adopted a Joint Statement outlining the Alliance's objectives, principles and next steps.
AGIR is based on a shared definition of the term “resilience” as being:
“The capacity of vulnerable households, families, communities and systems to face uncertainty and the risk of shocks, to withstand and respond effectively to shocks, as well as to recover and adapt in a sustainable manner”.
This definition calls for concerted humanitarian and development efforts in order to increase the resilience of vulnerable households, families and communities and to break the cycle of recurrent food and nutritional crises. It addresses, by means of a unified approach, the causes of acute and chronic food and nutritional crises, while helping vulnerable households to increase their incomes, gain access to basic infrastructures and social services, and create wealth by sustainably strengthening their livelihoods.
This approach requires the concurrent implementation of long-term, structural programmes and short-term actions aimed at addressing the immediate needs of the most vulnerable populations. Long-term programmes include human capacity building at all levels, and support for communities in their efforts to build resilience through building/strengthening community governance, social service systems (water, education, health, etc.), community food storage systems and other infrastructures, community early warning and prevention mechanisms, etc.
The overall objective of the Alliance is to “Structurally reduce, in a sustainable manner, food and nutritional vulnerability by supporting the implementation of Sahelian and West African policies”. In the next 20 years, the Alliance aims to completely eradicate hunger and malnutrition (Objective “Zero Hunger”). In the shorter term, the Alliance aims to build resilience among the vulnerable communities and households in the Sahel and West Africa so that they are better able to resist shocks.
Specific Strategic Objectives
Improve social protection for the most vulnerable households and communities in order to secure their livelihoods;
- Strengthen the nutrition of vulnerable households;
- Sustainably improve agricultural and food production, the incomes of vulnerable households and their access to food;
- Strengthen governance in food and nutritional security.
- Small-scale vulnerable agricultural households most often physically distant from or poorly connected to markets;
- Agro-pastoralist and pastoralist households (including artisan fishermen) whose livestock and fisheries resources are continually threatened by recurring weather hazards;
- Poor workers in the informal sector, both in rural and urban areas. This group is in large part composed of younger generations, facing unemployment or a precarious employment situation and, as a consequence, the risk of being targeted by criminal and terrorist group activities.
In these three categories of households, the most vulnerable are children under the age of five, and particularly those under the age of two, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers, as well as women-headed-households (WHH) and the elderly.
Based on West African leadership, AGIR comes under the joint political leadership of ECOWAS and UEMOA, promoting subsidiarity in the interest of efficiency, with UEMOA ensuring that actions are co-ordinated at the level of its eight member states and ECOWAS overseeing overall co-ordination. The two organisations will be enhancing and strengthening the role of CILSS, which serves as a technical agency for the implementation (design, monitoring, technical co-ordination at the national and regional levels) of activities within its area of expertise. Other regional organisations or technical bodies will be mobilised in their specific fields of competence (research, health, education, etc.).
The ECOWAS Specialised Technical Ministerial Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources (CTS-AERE) and the UEMOA High-Level Committee on Food Security (CHN-SA) are the Alliance’s main regional decision-making bodies. The Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) platform will, via the RPCA, provide the common space for dialogue, debate, lobbying and advocacy for the Alliance on the international stage.
Senior Experts' Group (SEG)
The Senior Experts' Group (SEG) brings together all AGIR stakeholders at least twice a year to define the main orientations and review progress made in the implementation of the Alliance. Its meetings are jointly organised by the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) and the CILSS Executive Secretariat, within the framework of the RPCA meetings.
- 2014 AGIR-SEG meeting, 18 December 2014, Brussels, European Commission headquarters
- 2014 AGIR-SEG meeting, 16 April 2014, Paris, OECD headquarters
- 2013 AGIR-SEG meeting, 27 November 2013, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
- 2013 AGIR-SEG meeting, 8 April 2013, Paris, OECD headquarters
- 2012 AGIR-SEG meeting, 7-8 November 2012, Paris, OECD headquarters
- At the regional level, the Alliance relies on the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA), of which ECOWAS and UEMOA provide joint political leadership. Providing a shared space for dialogue, the RPCA serves as the Alliance’s framework for consultation, monitoring and evaluation. Proposals and recommendations formulated by the RPCA are submitted to the decision-making bodies of ECOWAS and UEMOA. The RPCA holds two meetings per year: one in April and one in December. At each of these meetings, a session is dedicated to the Alliance.
- At the operational level, a small Technical Unit, hosted within the CILSS and under the leadership of ECOWAS and UEMOA, provides backing for and facilitates the implementation of the Regional Roadmap. More specifically, its mission involves: i) providing information and advocacy at country and regional levels, ii) supporting and facilitating inclusive dialogue for the formulation of national priorities and fostering synergy between country-level stakeholders, iii) co-ordinating and facilitating the operational implementation of regional priorities, iv) monitoring the implementation of priorities and sharing and making use of the lessons learned; and (v) co-ordinating (in collaboration with the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat) the organisation of the Alliance’s monitoring and orientation meetings.
- At the national level, the existing consultation mechanisms (such as the national councils or committees on food security in some countries), authorities involving most of the ministries concerned with questions of food and nutritional security (including health, education, etc.), as well as all the other stakeholders, agriculturalists, agro-pastoralists, pastoralists, civil society, the private sector, technical and financial partners, etc. will serve as fora for dialogue, guidance, co-ordination and monitoring of the Alliance’s implementation.
- At the decentralised level, regional structures and local mechanisms (regional councils, local governments, etc.) will serve as platforms for dialogue, programming and implementation follow-up.
- At all levels, agricultural producers’ and pastoralists’ organisations, civil society and the private sector will have their own specific area for dialogue.
International Co-ordination - Platform of Technical and Financial Partners (PTFP)
AGIR's international partners have established a co-ordination Platform of Technical and Financial Partners (PTFP/AGIR) whose goal is to sustain the political commitment of the technical and ﬁnancial partners and facilitate continuous political interaction between the international community and Sahelian and West African policy makers. The Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC/OECD) platform, via the RPCA, provides the common space for dialogue, debate, lobbying and advocacy for the Alliance on the international stage. > summary conclusions of PTFP meetings
Role of SWAC
The platform of the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC/OECD), via the RPCA, provides the common space for dialogue, lobbying and advocacy for the Alliance at the international level.
The SWAC Secretariat has played a crucial role in the creation of the Alliance by pulling together the various food security stakeholders from the region and international scene and progressively building a shared understanding of resilience. These efforts led to the launch of AGIR in December 2012 in Ouagadougou.
Since then, the SWAC Secretariat has supported consensus-building among the AGIR stakeholders leading to the approval of the Regional Roadmap in April 2013, - the Regional Guidance Framework which sets forth the overall objectives of the Alliance.
The SWAC Secretariat continues to support the implementation of AGIR by facilitating the adoption of methodological tools for the conduct of national inclusive dialogue processes and the formulation of National Resilience Priorities (NRP). It also organises, together with CILSS, the AGIR Senior Experts' Group (SEG) meetings and provides permanent technical, logistic and communications support (presentation flyers, website, etc.).