ECOWAS, FAO and partners meet on Zero Hunger Initiative for West Africa
Accra, 24 February 2014 – ECOWAS, in collaboration with FAO and other partners, has launched the West Africa Zero Hunger Initiative which targets the eradication of hunger and poverty, reduce malnutrition, promote sustainable developmental growth in the region and adopts a new approach to the governance of agricultural, food and nutrition issues in West Africa.
The initiative, a pioneer in West Africa, is under the leadership of ECOWAS and supported by FAO with funding from the German Cooperation.
“The government of Ghana is strongly committed to ensuring food security and nutrition through agriculture based interventions to complement efforts on social protection and health based solutions to reduce malnutrition”, said Honourable Clement Kofi Humado, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture at the project’s inception workshop taking place in Accra from 24 to 26 February 2014.
Participants at the workshop are expected to forge a common understanding among key stakeholders on the nature of the Zero Hunger Initiative and deliberate on a country-focused and results-oriented set of actions that reinforces and strengthens existing strategies and programmes to make food insecurity and malnutrition history in the Member States of ECOWAS.
“Governments in West Africa, at regional and country level, have expressed political commitment to eradicate hunger, through the various regional and national agriculture investment plans, among others. We will discuss how the Zero Hunger Initiative can add value to regional and county level Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) efforts, how the initiative relates to efforts with similar objectives, and the definition of involvement of actors”, declared Honourable Marc Atouga Lapodini, ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources at the opening session of the workshop.
Participants at the Zero Hunger Initiative inception workshop include senior officials from ECOWAS Secretariat, representatives of Ministries of Agriculture in ECOWAS Member States, of FAO, development partners and donor agencies and Civil Society Organizations.
ECOWAS countries are on course to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015. “Region wide, between 1990-92 and 2011-13, the number of undernourished individuals fell from 45 million to about 34.5 million, while the prevalence of undernourishment dropped from 24 to 11 %. This implies that, as a region, West Africa has achieved the hunger target of MDG 1 and, West Africa fares better than other regions in sub-Saharan Africa”, said Thiombiano Lamourdia, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa in his statement at the opening session.
The ECOWAS Zero Hunger Initiative builds on the global Zero Hunger Challenge, launched by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon in June 2012, and the declaration of the High Level Meeting of Heads of State on the Renewed Partnership for Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025 within the CAADP Framework led by the African Union, FAO, NEPAD and Instituto Lula, in July 2013.