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High Level Meeting on the Food and Nutritional Crisis in the ECOWAS Region

June 14, 2012

Mbaye Yade, the regional coordinator of ReSAKSS-WA, participated in the ECOWAS/WAEMU high-level meeting on food and nutrition crisis in Lomé, Togo on June 4-5, 2012. The objective of the meeting was to follow-up with the committed measures against the crisis and to identify additional measures for the short term as well as long term measures.

The meeting gathered various stakeholders, including the Ministers of Agriculture, Ministers of Trade and Ministers of Regional Integration from 13 member states of ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo; development partners from Spain, France, Canada, USAID, EU/ECHO, FAO, WFP, OCHA and UNICEF; technical regional partners of the ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS; as well as international NGOs around the world.

It was recalled that in the total of 17 member countries, the cereal production recorded a 9% fall decrease in 2011/2012 compared to 2010/2011. Also 12 out of the 17 countries experienced production shortfall. The situation is worsened by the socio political crisis in Mali.

Regarding emergency measures of the REC’s, West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) has allocated FCFA 40 billion (around USD 80 million) for purchase of food and animal feed, whereas ECOWAS has mobilized USD 9.5 million and international facilities (EU and US).

The urgent additional needs expressed by the most affected countries are estimated at about FCFA 400 billion (around USD 800 million).

Recommendations

The meeting has among others, recommended for the short term that:

  • The ECOWAS Commission should grant additional financial assistance to the most affected countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.
  • The UEMOA Commission should consider additional contribution for emergency actions.
  • The ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions should ensure the implementation of a humanitarian space for people affected by the crisis in Northern Mali.
  • The ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions should also support the implementation of special measures to ensure better management of cross border transhumance and the pastoralist organizations to sensitize, inform establish dialogue among stakeholders in conflict zones (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, etc.).
  • The Technical and Financial Partners should also consider providing additional resources with more flexibility to their conditions of access in order to better manage the lean season

For the press release of the meeting, please visit the ECOWAS website.

This report was prepared by Mbaye Yade (m.yade@cgiar.org).

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