30th RPCA Annual Meeting, Brussels, European Commission, 17-18 December 2014

 

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Members of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) at their 30th annual meeting on 17-18 December in Brussels, affirmed – once again – that despite a generally satisfactory 2014-15 agro-pastoral campaign, a large number of people (3 million) are in a “crisis or emergency phase”, notably in Chad, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. “The situation could worsen in January-March 2015 and extend to Burkina Faso and Niger, to affect almost 4.2 million people”, estimated RPCA Members who proposed mitigation measures to protect the most vulnerable populations. Moreover, they commended the effective start of the first external evaluation of the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management (PREGEC), covering all seventeen Sahelian and West African countries. The Brussels meeting gathered more than 120 food security leaders, including ministers from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, the two new EU Commissioners in charge of humanitarian aid and development as well as the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissioners in charge of agriculture. The debates were transmitted via live stream enabling delegates from Liberia and Sierra Leone, and more than 200 people in West Africa and from around the world, to follow the discussions.

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Objectives

  • Discuss the forecast results for the 2014-15 agro-pastoral season;
  • Discuss the impact of the Ebola epidemic on the regional market for agricultural products and on food and nutritional security;
  • Review the progress and interim results of the external evaluation of the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management; 
  • Take stock of progress in the process of formulating "National Resilience Priorities" (NRP-AGIR).

Harmonised FRAMEWORK

The West African cereal production is projected to reach 48.5 million tonnes (data for Niger and Mali is not yet included), a 4% increase over the previous year and 8% higher than the average over the last five years. Nevertheless, the nutrition situation remains alarming, notably in the Sahel. According to the results of the June-July and August-September 2014 surveys, the global acute malnutrition rate reached a level above the warning threshold (10%) in 26 areas or regions (Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal), and a level above the emergency threshold (15%) in six localities (Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal).

> Press release, Experts' meeting, Dakar, 18-20 November 2014

 

Focus areas 

Key focus of the 30th RPCA Annual Meeting:

  1. Focus on Ebola: The Ebola virus disease epidemic presents a new challenge to the global community in general and to the RPCA in particular. Behind this unprecedented health crisis is looming undoubtedly a serious food and nutrition crisis coupled with an additional threat to resilience. While the humanitarian community is already mobilised, the RPCA recognised that the scale and complexity of the impact on food and resilience is - at this stage - difficult to accurately measure with the tools used by the Network. Key findings of a preliminary study will be presented at the next RPCA meeting, which will be held from 2 to 6 March in Lomé, Togo.

    The month of January 2015 seemed to confirm the downward trend in cases reported in December 2014. According to the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and based on information collected by the affected countries, Liberia recorded a slight increase in cases compared to the month of December, from 462 to 563 cases. At the same time, cases in Guinea fell by more than half.

    For now, the epidemiological dynamics seem to be stabilising, but the crisis is not over. It is very likely that for the second consecutive year, the agricultural campaign in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will be severely disrupted this year.

    The crisis has revealed the importance of strong early warning systems and public health responses to people’s resilience, especially in isolated areas. There are lessons to be learned from the experience, including within the framework of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR).

    The crisis has also demonstrated the low capacity of the countries concerned and of the international community to integrate, in a timely manner, the cross-border aspect of the problem. One can hope that health authorities will draw lessons and will establish cross-border monitoring and response systems. The same applies for post-crisis management in terms of food and nutrition security and resilience.

  2. The implementation of AGIR is now at a crossroads. thirteen of the 17 countries have begun the process of formulating National Resilience Priorities (NRP). The Regional Roadmap adopted by all stakeholders in April 2013 is guiding their work. At this critical stage of the Alliance’s implementation,
    • It is now time to take stock: The aim is to have at least five National Resilience Priorities (NRP-AGIR) validated or in the process of validation by December. This positive step would serve as a foundation and a source of motivation to begin constructive dialogue on their funding and implementation. AGIR stakeholders could also draw lessons of the inclusive national dialogue processes, in particular of the multi-sectoral approach and the inclusiveness.

    • Building synergy and ensuring consistency are permanent challenges. More than ever at the top of the international agenda, “resilience” sees a proliferation of initiatives that are wholly or partly dedicated to the concept: the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA), the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, the G5 Sahel, the African Union Strategy for the Sahel Region, etc. Because it has brought together all the stakeholders of these initiatives since 2012, and because these partners have already agreed on the framework, with a common vision, objectives and a shared approach, AGIR can certainly contribute substantially on an even broader scale to crystallising all of international efforts in favour of resilience in the Sahel and West Africa. While building on the mission of the Co-ordination Platform of FTP of AGIR, Network Members may, through dialogue, move forward on this path in order to fulfil this ambition.

 

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