The combined threat of drought, high food prices, displacement and chronic poverty have affected the livelihoods of farmers, pastoralists and agropastoralists in 2012. Today, more than 10.3 million people, including those who did not receive sufficient support for their livelihoods, are food and nutrition insecure, and extremely vulnerable to external shocks.
The overall priorities in the region include: protecting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable households; strengthening the resilience of pastoralists, agropastoralists and farmers; improving access to agricultural good-quality inputs; supporting the management/conservation of natural resources such as water, trees and soil; providing integrated emergency nutrition assistance to most vulnerable families, especially women; reinforce disaster risk reduction and management at local, national and regional levels; supporting coordination and strengthening food security information management and early warning systems.
Early, rapid action is needed to prevent further deterioration of the food security situation and avoid further deterioration of livelihoods in the Sahel. In addition to emergency and rehabilitation activities, medium to longer term interventions are required to reverse the cycle of food shortages and crises in the Sahel and address structural vulnerabilities.
On 17 December 2012, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) launched a strategy to better address food and nutrition insecurity in the region, “The Humanitarian Strategy for the Sahel in 2013”. This document was jointly prepared by Action Against Hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The strategy aims to ensure a coordinated and harmonized approach to the humanitarian response, with both national and regional partners. It includes a shared regional analysis of the situation, common goals and strategic objectives, performance indicators for a planned response and systematic monitoring to provide reliable data based on the analysis of needs and gaps. The document is currently being updates.
Within this broader IASC strategic framework, FAO is currently preparing a Regional Response Programme to the Food and Nutrition Security Crisis in the Sahel to define FAO’s priority response interventions in the subregion, linking action in a continuum from emergency to recovery and development, focusing on protecting, restoring and building resilient livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and herders.