Lomé, 15th April 2019.
Under the auspices of the Commissions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the restricted meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) brought together the main stakeholders in the food and nutrition security of the region. It was co-organized by the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (CSAO/OCDE). The members of the RPCA met from 1 to 5 April 2019 in Brussels to discuss the results of the 2018-19 agropastoral campaign, the food and nutrition situation as well as the assessment of the implementation of the response plans in the Sahel and West Africa. The analysis reveals that some 4.8 million vulnerable people currently need food and nutrition assistance, and if appropriate measures are not quickly taken, nearly 9.7 million people will be affected during the lean period in June-August 2019.
The members of the Network recommend finding durable solutions as soon as possible to the root causes of the transnational spiral of inter-community conflicts that are shaking the region.
Among other issues discussed at the 2019 RPCA, the ECOWAS delegation introduced a panel organized by OXFAM on the theme “Food reserves, from local to regional: how do the synergies between the different levels contribute to food security in West Africa”. This communication highlighted the achievements of the Regional Food Security Storage Strategy based on four complementary lines of defense namely, the local, national, regional and international levels. Chaired by Mr Alain Sy Traoré, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development of the ECOWAS Commission, the panel focused on strengthening local storage and its articulation with national and regional stocks for both provision of security stocks as well as interventions for populations in crisis situations. The panel made up of three representatives of producer organizations (ROPPA, Moreeben and UGCPA), the President of RESOGEST and a resource person from SONAGESS concluded on the importance of collaboration and operational coordination between the lines of defense, on producers’ organizations capacity development such as cooperative-type organizations and on the challenge of putting in place storage financing and marketing tools.
Commissioner Sangaré strongly urged States and technical and financial partners intervening in the region in the responses to food and nutrition crises on the need for close collaboration with the ECOWAS Regional Food Security Reserve at the early stage of the design of national response plans. This cooperation is essential to improve the quality of responses to crises and to ensure long-term sustainability of the Regional Food Security Reserve. It is also crucial to better organize the storage and marketing of food and nutritional products.
The ECOWAS delegation also shared its initiative of defining a regional strategy for youth employability in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries sector to address the challenge of inclusive growth in the agricultural and food sector. The delegation finally informed the participants of the ECOWAS intention to organize in 2020 an international conference on the regional storage system with the aim of capitalizing and disseminating the achievements of four years of investments in the storage system with the financial support of the European Union on the one hand, and defining perspectives and building a regional and international partnership around the theme of storage on the other hand. ECOWAS strongly believes that the food reserve approach will help reverse the current trend that sees Africa as the biggest challenge of our generation in terms of food and nutrition crises and insecurity.
Moreover, information, visibility and interaction actions through exchanges and distribution of the quarterly newsletters “Echoes From Food Stocks” of the Regional Food Security Reserve to all participants were organized throughout the week.
The 35th annual meeting of the RPCA in Conakry, Guinea, from 2 to 4 December 2019 will be on the theme “Facing the challenges of food and nutrition security in situations of insecurity”. Attached are the summary report of the conclusions of the Brussels RPCA and the PowerPoint presented by ECOWAS.