Urgent call for united action in the Sahel region of West Africa
Joint statement by United Nations agencies, the European Commission and USAID on the deteriorating situation in the Sahel
Rome – Leaders of United Nations agencies, representatives of affected governments, and major donors today called for an urgent scale up of humanitarian, rehabilitation and development assistance to address rising levels of hunger and malnutrition caused by the combined effect of drought, high food prices, displacement and conflict affecting the Sahel region of West Africa. After an emergency meeting at the headquarters of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Rome, participants agreed that the time for humanitarian action in the Sahel is now.
Leaders attending the meeting called for a comprehensive, rapid and robust response to the crisis to address the needs of the most vulnerable – especially women and children - among the millions who have been affected by drought. They called for a combination of relief with early recovery and longer term development actions.
In addition, they resolved to work together to meet immediate food security and nutritional needs of affected people, while supporting programmes that address the root causes of problems and help to strengthen resilience of communities living in areas that are affected by chronic drought. This would include support to smallholder farmers to improve self-reliance and resilience in the face of difficult climatic and economic conditions.