Launching Ceremony of AGIR Sahel-West Africa

 

SWAW participants

Within the framework of the RPCA meeting, some 200 participants, including ministers from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger, gathered in Ouagadougou on 6 December to seal the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative - Sahel and West Africa (AGIR). Burkinabe Prime Minister Beyon Luc Adolphe Tiao personally welcomed all stakeholders of the Alliance expressing his country’s support and conviction of the Alliance’s future success. In a Joint Statement outlining the principles, priorities and next steps of the Alliance, stakeholders pledged to achieve the objective “Zero Hunger” within the next 20 years. The Alliance aims at building resilience of vulnerable populations by consolidating responses to food crises and structural causes of food insecurity, as well as to chronic malnutrition. In line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, AGIR is founded on the principles of West African leadership and the harmonisation and co-ordination between partners.

High-level Representatives at the Sahel and West Africa Week H.E. Mr. Tiao, Prime Minister of Burkina Faso and Mr. François-Xavier de Donnea, SWAC President EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg Prof. Alhousseini Bretaudeau, CILSS Executive Secretary and French Ambassador based in Burkina Faso, Mr. Emmanuel Beth

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Opening Statements

Premier Ministre du Burkina Faso, H.E. Mr. Luc Adolphe Tiao

H.E. Mr.  Beyon Luc Adolphe Tiao, Prime Minister of Burkina Faso

"“The ambition of the Joint Statement is very challenging as it means that we engage, within the next 20 years, to reduce by at least two-thirds the number of people who suffer from food and nutritional insecurity due to structural constraints, but also to lower the rate of acute malnutrition to below the alert threshold of 10%. However, I am convinced that with everyone’s determination we will go even beyond this target objective. This is my personal wish that I would like to express today in presiding over the official launch of this global partnership for resilience. I officially declare the AGIR Alliance launched." > download full statement (French)

SWAW - De Donnea

Mr. François-Xavier de Donnea, SWAC President

"Let me underline that I believe that we should better call AGIR a “Global Alliance for Resilience Initiatives” in the region as AGIR does not and can not start from scratch. It builds on a large number of existing initiatives at the national and regional levels. The international community, financial and technical partners alike, must support this process, which is a chance for the region and in particular for the vulnerable populations facing the constant threat of hunger." > download full statement (French)

SWAW - EU Commissioner Georgieva

Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

“AGIR is not an empty alliance. It is about a new partnership in support of your efforts and responsibility to address the structural causes and resilience challenges. We need to stay this course together for the long haul if we are to have an impact. Just as Niger has the “3N”, so AGIR is about the 3As”: Awareness, Advocacy and Action. We have the awareness. We are right now doing the advocacy. We need to move onto the action!” > download full statement

SWAW - Nancy Lindborg

Ms. Nancy Lindborg, USAID Assistant Administrator

"The human suffering we witnessed in 2011 and 2012 in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel is unacceptable. Yet it has also catalysed unprecedented action by the international community and African leadership to chart a new way forward. In just the last year, we have seen a new, shared recognition that recurrent shocks are driving the same communities in the same regions into crisis again and again. And with the reality of climate change, we are already seeing these shocks come more intensely and more frequently. […] Our gathering today to collectively launch AGIR acknowledges these realities but, also, importantly signifies that we have identified and committed to a better way. By working together at the international, regional, and country levels, we can get ahead of crisis and bring the kind of resilience-building results we are already seeing at the household and community levels to scale for millions across the Sahel." > download full statement

SWAW -Sujiro Seam Mr. Sujiro Seam, Deputy Director, Global Public Goods, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

"Resilience is a major challenge: On the one hand, we must address the gradual de-capitalisation of smallholder farmers as a consequence of recurrent food crises; on the other, emergency measures and development actions need to be formulated in a coherent manner. The Alliance is not just another initiative. It must build on existing structures within ECOWAS and UEMOA as well as on CILSS and SWAC. AGIR must also be integrated into existing national approaches and linked to other global initiatives such as the G8’s New Alliance, G20 initiatives, etc. To succeed, we will need to mobilise all levers of resilience and apply a cross-sectoral approach (food security, water, health, infrastructure, etc.). Finally, we believe that AGIR must be translated into concrete actions such as the food stock system currently being developed under the aegis of ECOWAS or the platform for agricultural risk management."

SWAW - ROPPA

Mr. Mamadou Cissokho, ROPPA President of Honour, Civil Society Representative

"Our first concern is that the Alliance must be built on the priorities of the region. The leadership of our regional organisations must be recognised. These organisations must in return commit to mobilising their own resources to implement their policies and harmonise their interventions at all levels (local, national, regional, etc.). Nowhere in the world has resilience been achieved exclusively through development co-operation. That is why we are asking the co-operation agencies to develop an approach that supports our action, standing behind us and with us."

SWAW- Zoundi

Ms. Zoundi, Private Sector Representative

"The new form of fight against hunger must necessarily target the most vulnerable groups’ capacity to resist, adapt and recover quickly from a crisis or choc by developing resilience, a rapid adaptation capacity. We must raise awareness of our collective responsibility! West African states have developed regional policies and investment programmes in the field of food and nutritional crisis prevention and management as well as implementation tools. The private sector, a driving force for economic growth, is fully committed to play its role." > download full statement (French)

SWAW - Adoum Djimé

Dr. Djimé Adoum, CILSS Minister Co-ordinator

"AGIR is first and foremost about mobilising all efforts to combat hunger and chronic malnutrition in our region. Tens of millions of our most vulnerable compatriots still suffer from these scourges, in particular women and children. We must adjust our approach to these structural problems by combining development actions and humanitarian interventions in one single approach. The implementation of the West African food security agenda must be strengthened further, based on the political and technical institutions of the region. The steadfast support for this approach from the international community, catalysed by the European Union, is exemplary. I would therefore like to welcome the Alliance with my warmest congratulations to ECOWAS and UEMOA who, with the support of CILSS, will ensure the necessary political leadership of the Alliance." > download full statement (French)

SWAW- Dabiré

Mr. Christophe Joseph Marie Dabiré, UEMOA Commissioner for Regional Markets, Trade, Competition and Co-operation

delivering the statement of  Mr. Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumaré, UEMOA Commission President

"I would like to recall all of the reflections already undertaken, in collaboration with the Sahel and West Africa Club, the regional integration organisations, the agricultural producers’organisations, civil society representatives and the private sector. These reflections led to the need to anchor the AGIR initiative in the priorities of the regional agenda on food and nutritional security, while allowing each stakeholder to fully play its role. […] It is crucial that within the framework of AGIR, development actions focus on addressing the root causes of vulnerability. At the UEMOA Commission, we remain deeply committed to the principles enunciated in the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management adopted in 2010, which ultimately aims to phase out the need for food aid in the Sahel and West Africa." > download the full stament (French)

SWAW - Atouga

Dr. Lapodini Marc Atouga, ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources

delivering the statement of Mr. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, ECOWAS Commission President

 

"As you can see, the region has already developed a critical mass of strategic documents and coordinated policy programming aimed at breaking the cycle of food crises. That is why we are convinced that AGIR must be part of the regional agenda in support of sustainable agricultural development for food sovereignty, without forgetting of course the dimension of emergency actions which we believe should be the exception. […] International initiatives, and more particularly AGIR, which aim to strengthen resilience approaches in response to crises, can easily align, support and strengthen efforts that are already under way, especially around regional food and nutritional security strategies that simultaneously address issues of sustainable agricultural transformation and challenges related to emergency situations." > download the full stament (French)

Press Statements

At the press conference, organised directly after the official launching ceremony of AGIR on 6 December in Ouagadougou, high-level representatives presented their viewpoints, impressions and expectations.

 

Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response:

"We know that every time a crisis hits 80% of the most affected come from the 20% poorest, most vulnerable people." 

Ms. Georgieva underlines that alignment to existing national and regional strategies, better donor co-ordination and long-term commitment are critical to ensure the effectiveness of the Alliance. "We know that every time a crisis hits 80% of the most affected come from the 20% poorest, most vulnerable people. These people with the least access to the corridors of power, it is for them that the Alliance is being formed. [...] We have already identified 500 million EUR over the next three years (2012-2014) to support the objectives of the Alliance and we will make resilience of the most vulnerable people a priority in the next European Development Fund (EDF)." 

Kristalina Georgieva:

“We aim to bring humanitarian assistance and development together.”

"Unless we work together to build the capacity of families and communities, the needs for humanitarian aid will only grow…and then resources will go into helping short-term needs at the expense of the investment in development. For this not to happen, we have to bring the short-term action with an eye on long-term response and connect what we do better but also keeping in mind that there are people that are more vulnerable and often are excluded from development. The Alliance aims to connect humanitarian aid and development with the primary objective to benefit exactly these people."

Nancy Lindborg, USAID Assistant Administrator: 

“This partnership enables us to do a better job of targeting…”

"From the perspective of USAID, we have appreciated the partnership that enables us to do a better job of targeting:  who are the most vulnerable? This is important. Secondly, we put emphasis on increasing these highly nutritious, easily digestible foods that are most appropriate for malnutritioned children under five. This helps ensure that the right people are getting addressed. We have also increased the ways in which we assist vulnerable people: it is not only food. It is helping mothers understand how to ensure that their children have better nutrition, through cash and voucher programmes working in partnership with local governments and partners. We thereby ensure that the most vulnerable can afford food. Finally, as we have been talking about ensuring that even us we move quickly enough to save lives, we work towards linking and integrating our development and humanitarian strategies to prevent crises."

François–Xavier De Donnea, Président du Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest

« AGIR, c’est bien plus que de l’argent ! »

« Il s’agit de mettre en place des politiques cohérentes de la part de tous les acteurs. Il s’agit de favoriser la cohérence des politiques, de favoriser des synergies et des synchronisations. Il est vrai que cela pourra amener la mise de moyens supplémentaires sur la table mais l’essentiel est d’éviter les incohérences, c’est d’éviter que des politiques mal conçues de l’aide humanitaire viennent perturber le marché agricole et les producteurs agricoles – donc AGIR, c’est bien plus que de l’argent, c’est une action conjointe synchronisée, coordonnée et cohérente. »

Laurent Sédogo, Ancien Ministre burkinabè en charge de l’agriculture : 

« La résistance a commencé ici à Ouagadougou il y a un peu plus de trente ans avec la création du CILSS… »

« Dans ce contexte de lutte contre l’insécurité alimentaire, le mot résilience apparaît un peu à ce que, dans tout autre contexte de conflit armé qui se traduirait par l’invasion d’une zone, d’un pays, qu’on pourrait appeler de la « résistance ». Nous sommes d’autant plus honorés que pour nous la résistance a commencé ici à Ouagadougou il ya un peu plus de trente ans avec la création du CILSS. Depuis, les États se sont essayés à toutes sortes de moyens et mécanismes, avec l’appui de la communauté internationale, pour résister à ce que nous pouvons appeler l’envahisseur. Aujourd’hui, une arme nouvelle est mise à notre disposition et je pense que maintenant nous voyons de l’espoir. C’est pourquoi je voudrais au nom du gouvernement et du peuple burkinabè remercier les initiateurs, en particulier l’Union européenne, le Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, l’USAID et toute la communauté internationale de nous apporter cet espoir nouveau qui nous fait penser  véritablement que la victoire est proche. C’est cela effectivement que nous allons espérer, que dans le moindre petit village aucune femme, aucun homme, aucun enfant ne dormira le ventre vide et je pense que cette victoire est à portée de nos mains. Le Burkina Faso va certainement veiller à être le témoin de l’histoire encore une fois de plus de ce grand pas que nous sommes en train de franchir. »

Adoum Djimé, Ministre coordinateur du CILSS

« Les trois organisations régionales - la CEDEAO, l’UEMOA et le CILSS - sont au centre de la stratégie AGIR ».

« Nous partons ici convaincus du fait que les trois organisations régionales - la CEDEAO, l’UEMOA et le CILSS - sont au centre de la stratégie. L’Alliance a défini quatre axes stratégiques ; une réunion prochaine va définir à court terme ce que nous comptons faire ; l’horizon 2013, jusqu’à décembre 2013, nous donnera l’occasion de construire cette feuille de route pour nous attaquer au problème de la résilience dans le contexte du changement climatique qui affecte les plus vulnérables. Nous avons tous entendu que nous nous prenons nous–mêmes à témoin que nous allons résolument nous attaquer à cette problématique, les trois A, énoncés par mon amie la Commissaire ici présente, à l’image des trois N du Niger… »

Ibrahima Diémé, Commissaire en charge du développement rural, des ressources naturelles et de l’environnement, UEMOA

« L’humanitaire n’est pas contradictoire au programme de longue durée… »

« Ce qui est important de se souvenir ici, c’est le leadership entre les trois institutions, à savoir la CEDEAO, l’UEMOA et le CILSS qui sont déterminés à travailler ensemble pour la région et pour nos populations. Nous voulons aussi souligner qu’en ce qui concerne la résilience, l’humanitaire n’est pas contradictoire au programme de longue date ; chaque programme a son sens et son objectif. Toutes les actions que nous voulons mener vont être des actions durables ; ce sont des investissements durables qui pourront améliorer les conditions de vie de nos populations. C’est ça notre raison d’être ! »


Marc Lapodini Atouga, ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources

“If we do not empower people to enable them to face the crises, they will still come across the same problems year after year.”

"We will make sure that all actions are conducted within the regional policy framework. AGIR is a good initiative. I am convinced if we do not take care of the structural problems, we will need humanitarian aid for ever and that’s not acceptable. As you all know, if we do not empower people to enable them to face the crises, they will still come across the same problems year after year. We all know that climate change is a reality; we all know that households are no longer what they used to be; in the years to come the population will continue to grow; urbanisation will going to be fast. Producers have to deal with this and we have to make sure that long-term structural responses address these challenges in a sustainable manner. Let’s put our efforts together; let’s all move into the same sense…if we all go in different directions we will not succeed. I would like to say thank you for being our partners. […] We will make sure on our side that our resources and all the support you bring to the region will be used in an efficient and responsible manner. This is very important, good governance is a key for the region and the success of the initiative."  

About AGIR and resilience

Anchored on West African leadership, the role of the Alliance is to mobilise, in a co-ordinated manner, the international community around resilience policies in the Sahel and West Africa. Resilience is defined as “The capacity of vulnerable households, families 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 unifying in a same approach structural development efforts in the long-term and humanitarian actions in the short-term. In line with the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, AGIR shall become an example for successful alignment to priorities set in national/regional policy frameworks and strategies. Rather than creating additional structures, the implementation of AGIR builds on existing West African mechanisms of technical and political leadership with a view to strengthening the capacity of regional organisations. Actions of the Alliance will contribute to implement the regional food and nutritional security agenda. > learn more

 

Objectives

The general objective set by the stakeholders is to: “Structurally and sustainably reduce food and nutritional vulnerability by supporting the implementation of Sahelian and West African policies”. A roadmap will define target figures and benchmarks for assessment.

 

Geographic scope and scale

The Alliance proposes to conduct complementary and co-ordinated actions at three levels: i) local, through support for endogenous initiatives and mechanisms, and for local communities, ii) national, through support for investment programmes and for existing consensus-building mechanisms, especially – but not exclusively – in six priority target countries in the Sahelian belt (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal) and; iii) regional, through support/assistance for regional plans and  mechanisms put in place by the three regional organisations (ECOWAS, UEMOA, CILSS). Actions conducted within the framework of AGIR to support regional organisations capacity will benit all member countries (15 ECOWAS countries, Chad and Mauritania).

 

Target groups

  • Small-scale farmers marginalised by the market, most often facing a situation of insecure land tenure with little capital to invest in agriculture. 
  • Agro-pastoralists and pastoralists whose capital stock is continually threatened by recurring weather hazards. 
  • Poor workers in the non-agricultural informal urban and rural economy. 
Within these three categories of households, a particular focus will be placed on the most vulnerable groups who are generally children under the age of five, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Actions will more particularly target women recognizing their crucial role in food production, health, education and income generation.

 

Strategic Pillars

  • Pillar 1: Restoring and strengthening livelihoods and social protection for the most vulnerable populations 
  • Pillar 2: Strengthening health and nutrition
  • Pillar 3: Sustainably strengthening food production, incomes of vulnerable households and their access to food
  • Pillar 4: Strengthening governance in food and nutritional security

 

Governance

The political governance of the Alliance relies on the leadership of ECOWAS and UEMOA, with technical support from CILSS and other relevant regional organisations or technical bodies in their specific fields of competence (research, health, education, etc.). The ECOWAS Ministerial Specialised Technical Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources (CTS - AERE) and the UEMOA High-Level Committee on Food Security (CHN - SA) are the main bodies for political decision-making. The platform of the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) will provide the common space for dialogue, debate, lobbying and advocacy for the Alliance on the international stage. 
  • At the technical level, the Alliance relies on the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA), of which ECOWAS and UEMOA provide joint political leadership. A shared space for dialogue, the RPCA is the framework for consultation, monitoring and evaluation of the Alliance.
  • At the national level, national councils or committees on food security, authorities involving most of the ministries active in the field of food and nutritional security as well as all other stakeholders will serve as part of the framework for dialogue, guidance, co-ordination and monitoring of the implementation of interventions for resilience. 
  • At the international level, technical and financial partners of the Alliance agreed to co-ordinate their action and designate each year a lead agency in charge of supporting/maintaining the political commitment of technical and financial partners; facilitating continuous political interaction between the international community and Sahelian and West African policymakers; and facilitating the co-ordination and development of joint positions of technical and financial partners. They also agreed to designate focal points in each country concerned.
  • At all levels, a "specific area" of expression will be dedicated to agricultural producers’ and breeders’ organisations, civil society and the private sector, allowing them to strengthen their dialogue and organisational capacity.

Next Steps

In the coming months, a restricted working group will be in charge of fine-tuning the definition of specific priorities, indicators and benchmarks for assessment. At the same time, inclusive dialogues will be conducted in target countries with a view to drafting national raodmaps drawing on national plans and policies with a view to translating priorities of the Alliance into the national operational frameworks for action, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. The stakeholders of the Alliance agree to meet in the coming month in order to examine additional support needed for the implementation of regional priorities. The Alliance will also prepare an in-depth analysis of priorities and complementary funding needs in December 2013.

Key documents

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