Accra, 24 February 2014 – The ECOWAS Zero Hunger Initiative has started its activities during its inception workshop in Accra, Ghana. The Initiative is a commitment of ECOWAS and its government and non-government partners in working towards a Hunger-free West Africa, by building on existing policies and programmes, increasing stakeholder engagement and amplifying the current political commitment in the region.
The vision of the Initiative is to eradicate hunger from the ECOWAS region by the year 2025. It is a holistic platform for government and non-government actors to achieve consensus and take concrete actions in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
Hon. Marc Atouga Lapodini, Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources of ECOWAS explained: “The Initiative will work at local level with family farmers, at national level with governments and civil society and at regional level with ECOWAS countries for the promotion and realization of the right to food in the region”. Hon. Marc Atouga Lapodini also renewed the commitment of ECOWAS and assured that this regional organization will do all in its powers to provide the leadership to achieve the noble objectives of this very important Initiative. The Zero Hunger Initiative will provide the framework for action in the region. The raison d’être of all regional initiatives is to eradicate hunger within a generation.
The CAADP focal points of the 15 ECOWAS countries and development partners decided on the concrete activities the Zero Hunger Initiative should take to accelerate the fight against hunger at national level.
Prof. Renato Maluf, former President of the Brazilian Council for Food Security and Nutrition (CONSEA), expressed that the lessons learned and experience from Brazil can be used to shape the ECOWAS Zero Hunger Initiative but the adaptation to the African countries realities is vital.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture of Ghana, Hon. Clement Kofi Humado, lauded the ECOWAS decision to put the Zero Hunger Initiative under a right to food framework. The Minister explained that with this approach, that includes an improved institutional coordination, Ghana achieved the first MDG goal and the more ambitious World Food Summit goal. ECOWAS is now setting the conditions to ensure that all 15 member countries enjoy the same result.