FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and the Kingdom of Belgium

Priority areas for joint action between FAO and the European Union


Director of the FAO Liaison Office in Geneva Dominique Burgeon briefed the Council of the European Union Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid on acute food insecurity in Southern Madagascar, with the latest numbers taken from the FAO-WFP Hunger Hotspots report produced by the Global Network Against Food Crises.

Burgeon shared details on the recurring drought situation in the region with EU Member States representatives. A situation, which has already led to 1.14 million people requiring emergency food and nutrition assistance

In Madagascar, women have been hard hit by the crisis. FAO recognizes that gender considerations are critical to humanitarian action as crises impact the lives of women and men, girls and boys in different ways. The impacts of conflicts, natural disasters and crop failures are not ‘gender neutral'. Therefore, many of the actions on which FAO has been focusing in responding to the deterioration in Southern Madagascar have included a strong gender perspective.

Later in the month, on the 21st of September, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa Robert Guei presented an overview of FAO’s work on water issues in the region to the ACP Working Party of the Council of the European Union. Guei highlighted three innovative techniques adopted in West Africa, namely:

  • harvesting rainwater in cisterns;
  • runoff water collection and surface water storage; and
  • underground water drilling using solar pumping systems.                

The benefits of rainwater harvesting through the use of cisterns are illustrated by FAO’s ‘One million cisterns for the Sahel’ programme. Implemented in seven Western African countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo), it helps communities to collect rainwater in cisterns for domestic use or crop production.

Runoff water harvesting and storage can collect huge quantities of rainwater for small-scale irrigation and aquaculture and is currently being implemented in Burkina Faso by FAO with support from the European Commission.

Underground water drilling  linked to solar powered irrigation systems is being successfully used for crop cultivation, livestock production and domestic use in Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, the Gambia, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

You can read more about FAO’s work on water management here.