Ladies and Gentlemen, dear members, dear partners,
The issue of food security and access to basic food products is more crucial than ever for the Sahelian populations, given the international context that you know and the aggravated impacts of climate change. According to the WFP, more than 12 million people are threatened by serious food insecurity in the G5 Sahel countries, three times more than in 2019.
This issue is of great concern to our members and partners and was at the heart of the 9th Sahel Alliance Steering Committee (OSC) meeting in Bonn on 24 June. The panel discussion organised on this occasion to discuss the structural causes of the food crises in the G5 countries validated the following recommendations made by the Sahel Alliance Coordination Group on Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security:
- operationalise the peace-humanitarian-development nexus, particularly in conflict areas, as promoted in the conclusions of the restricted meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network on 6 April 2022;
- support sectoral reforms that address the structural causes of the food crisis and promote food autonomy;
- strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable populations to climate change;
- support trade and regional solidarity mechanisms as well as emergency anticipation and preparedness interventions;
- encourage increased co-financing in the sector using the Sahel Alliance as a platform.
The OSC also took note of the difficult situation facing the G5 Sahel, as it deplored Mali’s decision to suspend its participation to this institution and recalled the close partnership between the G5 and the Sahel Alliance. The members reiterated their support for the G5 Sahel and encouraged its member countries to revive and strengthen their cooperation ties. They called on Mali and Burkina Faso to reach an agreement with ECOWAS on their respective political transitions.
The OSC welcomed the progress made on the ground (implementation of the Integrated Territorial Approach in a crisis context, conclusions of the workshop organised in Bamako on the adaptation of procedures, first funding granted by the G5 Sahel Facility, progress of the pilot exercise conducted in Niger under the Dialogue and Mutual Accountability Framework between the Alliance and the G5) and stressed the importance of increased and coordinated investment in the education sector, following the example of the Common Education Sector Fund (CESF) in Niger, which is co-financed by several members.
Lastly, the OSC validated important decisions for the governance of the Alliance:
- the continuation of Spain’s mandate as Chair of the General Assembly
- the appointment of the World Bank as Chair of the Operational Steering Committee, in the person of Mr Ousmane Diagana, Vice-President of the World Bank for West and Central Africa.
New provisions relating to the procedure and conditions for joining the Sahel Alliance were adopted, including the introduction of a compulsory annual fee for all future new Alliance members and observers.
This was the last Steering Committee meeting chaired by Christoph Rauh, Director for Africa at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), who has led the OSC for the past three years. I would like to seize this opportunity to thank him most sincerely and warmly for his unwavering commitment to the Sahel Alliance and to the common causes we defend; but also for the support, benevolence and trust he has always displayed towards the UCA. Many of the Sahel Alliance’s initiatives and achievements owe much to him and his team.
This is my last editorial: I am leaving my post as head of UCA to take up the post of director of the AFD agency in Côte d’Ivoire. I would like to tell you how happy and honoured I have been to serve the Sahel Alliance and to head its Coordination Unit for almost two and a half years. Of course, much remains to be done and any complacency would be inappropriate in view of the situation in the Sahel. But we have, you have, made progress. The Sahel Alliance has grown and expanded; it is increasingly representative with members who are more and more integrated and involved; it is now recognised as the central framework for coordinating development cooperation initiatives in the Sahel, bringing together the action of 26 bi- and multilateral development partners and representing the bulk of aid flows to the G5 Sahel countries. The portfolio of funded projects has continued to grow, despite increasingly difficult intervention contexts. Innovative approaches have been put in place, as close to the field and to the beneficiaries as possible, such as the integrated territorial approach. Successful initiatives, jointly designed with the G5 Executive Secretariat, have been launched, such as the Emergency Development Programme and the G5 Sahel Facility. Numerous steering, accountability and communication tools have been developed and made available to all. Coordination with other platforms working in the Sahel has been formalised and systematised. I am convinced that all these efforts, this increased cooperation, if pursued and increasingly anchored on the ground, in the G5 countries, will bear fruit and ultimately contribute to a lasting improvement in the living conditions of the Sahelian populations. The exchanges I have had with our partners and beneficiaries during my many missions to the Sahel have reinforced my conviction that we must build on the region’s many potentials and that there is an urgent need to do more and better for a prosperous and peaceful Sahel.
I cannot end without thanking the UCA team. The work of the women and men who make up the team is not always visible, but their daily commitment, their sense of general and collective interest, and their enthusiasm are all important factors in what we are able to achieve together.
I wish all the best to my successor, Emmanuel Debroise, who will take up his post at the beginning of September.
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