Held under the patronage of the Commissions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the restricted RPCA meeting took place from 10-12 April 2017 at the OECD headquarters in Paris. It brought together some 150 participants, including representatives of Sahelian and West African governments, intergovernmental organisations, professional agricultural organisations, the private sector, civil society organisations, and technical and financial partners. The event was organised by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD). The 33rd RPCA annual meeting will take place in Cotonou on 11-13 December 2017 on the theme of “Innovative and territorial approaches to food and nutrition security”.
Consensual analysis of the food and nutrition situation: The region's food and nutrition security stakeholders reviewed the final results of the 2016-17 agro-pastoral campaign, analysed the food and nutrition situation and made recommendations, particularly focused on mobilising urgent and co-ordinated assistance to the affected populations in the Lake Chad basin. They also encouraged all stakeholders to commit to implementing long-term programmes to rehabilitate and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations.
Progress achieved by the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR):Within the Senior Experts Group meeting of the Global Alliance for Resilience (SEG-AGIR), participants assessed progress in implementing the Alliance. To date, ten countries have approved their National Resilience Priorities (NRPs); a resilience component has been successfully incorporated in the new National Agricultural Investment Programmes and the Alliance has led to many other positive structural changes in the governance of food and nutrition security.
African courtesy visit with OECD Secretary-General, Mr Angel Gurría: On the side-lines of the event, OECD Secretary-General Mr Angel Gurría invited a high-level delegation of African leaders for a brief exchange on co-operation between Africa and the OECD. The delegation was composed of several African ministers as well as regional leaders from ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS and representatives of West African agricultural producers’ organisations. Mr. Gurría emphasised that Africa is crucial for efforts to strengthen global governance and collective action.
New civil society engagement framework in support of the PREGEC Charter: Twelve West African civil society organisations signed an engagement framework designed to ensure civil society monitoring for a more effective application of the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management at country level. Moreover, the second external evaluation of the Charter, scheduled for 2017, will focus on the theme, “Opportunity costs and efficiency of responses to food and nutrition crises”.
Brainstorming on the RPCA reform: At the restricted session, RPCA members brainstormed on the reforms needed to strengthen the RCPA’s impact on decision-making. While recalling the need to refocus the RPCA’s original mandate – analysis, information-based consensus building, co-ordination and advocacy – members validated a communications strategy and broad guidelines for reform.
African courtesy Visit with the OECD Secretary-General
On the sidelines of the restricted meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) on 11 April 2017, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría met with a high-level delegation of African leaders for a brief exchange on co‑operation between Africa and the OECD. The delegation was composed of several West African ministers as well as regional leaders from ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS and representatives of West African agricultural producers’ organisations.
Mr. Gurría emphasised that Africa is crucial for efforts to strengthen global governance and collective action for inclusive development. The OECD is already working with many African countries, first and foremost, with South Africa, one of its five key partners along with Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. Moreover, ten African countries are members of the OECD Development Centre. The Sahel and West Africa Club, a specialised entity dedicated to the promotion of regional co-operation, covers 17 Sahelian and West African countries. Furthermore, the OECD plans to sharpen its approach to building a more strategic partnership with Africa.
Mr Gamar Sileck Assaïd, Chadian Minister for Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment, drew attention to the difficult humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad area and asked the OECD to help further mobilise the international community. Chad currently hosts nearly 400 000 refugees and 100 000 internally displaced persons. Mr. Ibrahima Dieme, UEMOA Commissioner, Department of Food Security, Agriculture, Mining and Environment, confirmed the region’s commitment to improving the governance of food and nutrition security. He also announced the nomination of the new UEMOA Commission President, Mr Abdallah Boureima. Mr Dieme also reiterated his appreciation for SWAC’s support in making West African voices heard in major global debates, in particular within the G20.
SWAC President François-Xavier de Donnea confirmed the Sahel and West Africa Club’s continuous support, in line with its mission to build bridges between West Africa and the OECD.
The Sahel and West Africa have, once again, recorded an increase in agricultural output. Cereal production in 2016-17 reached 67.2 million tonnes, an increase of nearly 17% compared to the five-year average. With the exception of sesame (865 000 tonnes), the production of other crops is also on the rise: tubers (166.7 million tonnes), peanut (8.3 million tonnes), cowpea (7.4 million tonnes), soybeans (1.5 million tonnes).
However, these positive results should not lead decision makers to neglect the region’s persistent food and nutrition difficulties, especially in conflict zones like the Lake Chad basin. The Cadre harmonisé analysis reveals that approximately 9.6 million people are currently facing a crisis situation (March-May), including 1.4 million people in phase 4 (emergency). By June-August, if appropriate measures are not taken, this figure could reach 13.8 million, of which 1.6 million people might find themselves in an emergency situation. The number of severely malnourished children is likely to cross the 3.5 million mark by the end of 2017.
The food and nutrition situation remains particularly critical in Nigeria, which continues to host nearly 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Some 7 million Nigerians are currently in a crisis situation, including 44 000 people in phase 5 (famine), mostly in Borno State. The situation is likely to get worse during the next lean season. However, humanitarian interventions are beginning to pay off: the estimated number of people requiring urgent assistance has been reduced by 800 000.
Considering the gravity of the situation, the RPCA released in December 2016, a declaration calling upon the international community to provide an immediate response to the food and nutrition emergency in north-eastern Nigeria and the broader Lake Chad basin, and to develop more structural responses. The April meeting provided an opportunity to analyse the food and nutrition situation, monitor the impact of emergency responses and mobilise stakeholders.
Senior Experts Group Meeting of the Global Alliance for Resilience
At the Senior Experts Group session, stakeholders of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) noted that despite the difficulties encountered, ten countries have approved their National Resilience Priorities (NRPs). They also noted that, thanks to the Alliance, and in line with the African Union’s Malabo Declaration, the countries that are validating their National Agricultural Investment Programmes have incorporated a ‘resilience’ component. However, this African impetus to eradicate the root causes of food crises comes at a time when rising security challenges lead co-operation agencies to put resilience on the back burner. The Network urges all AGIR stakeholders to increase political dialogue, advocacy and lobbying in order to keep resilience at the top of the development agenda. The Network also emphasises the need to better connect with decision-making forums (governments, parliaments and other bodies) and to recall that food, nutrition and resilience issues are an integral part of the solutions to peace, stability and migration challenges.
Stakeholders welcomed the progress made on the mapping of food and nutrition security and resilience interventions. They urge governments to take ownership and use the results to facilitate policy dialogue around building synergies and complementarities across resilience interventions. They also encourage governments to take appropriate measures to ensure the sustainability of the food and nutrition security and resilience intervention databases and to expedite the establishment of national frameworks to monitor and evaluate interventions – essential tools for keeping track of results and analysing the impact of AGIR.
Civil society engagement framework in support of PPREGEC Charter
Twelve West African civil society and private sector organisations (AFAO/WAWA, Afrique Verte, APESS, FIAB, POSCAO, RBM, RECAO, RESIMAO, ROAC, ROPPA, OXFAM and SOS SAHEL) signed an Engagement Framework, sealed in July 2016 in Ouagadougou to ensure monitoring for a more effective application of the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management. ROPPA will act as focal point to co-ordinate among members and set-up this framework, with support of OXFAM. The framework will be open to other peasant organisations, rural civil society associations or private sector groups who share the principles and commitments of the PREGEC Charter. The framework aims to play a key role in communicating the principles of the Charter in order to create the conditions for stronger engagement and respect of these principles by all stakeholders.
The second external evaluation of the Charter, scheduled for 2017, will focus on the theme, “Opportunity costs and efficiency of responses to food and nutrition crises”.
At the restricted session, RPCA members brainstormed on the reforms needed to strengthen the RCPA’s impact on decision-making. While recalling the need to refocus the RPCA’s original mandate – analysis, information-based consensus building, co-ordination and advocacy – members validated a communications strategy and broad guidelines for reform. These include the modus operandi of the Network, with an in-depth review of the format of its meetings in order to ensure better decision-making and results-based discussion. The reforms also relate to the efficiency of the Network’s technical co-ordination and its political leadership, including its links with the region’s decision-making bodies. RPCA Members asked the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD) to continue these discussions in order to deliver a consolidated proposal of reforms by June, along with a roadmap for their implementation.