Every year, countries of the West Africa and Sahel subregion are adversely affected by natural disasters, such as droughts and floods, as well as transboundary animal diseases, economic crises and civil conflicts. These events result in losses of life, assets and livelihoods, consequently weakening the food and nutrition security of the populations. Given the increasing frequency and complexity of such crises, a holistic approach is needed. Such an approach would integrate actions intended to strengthen crisis preparedness and to prevent and to mitigate risks through effective and rapid response and interventions that facilitate the transition towards conditions of stability and development.
In line with this need, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has elaborated a new Strategic Framework (2010-2019). The goals set in the FAO’s Strategic Framework 2010-2019 are to improve preparedness for and response to food and agricultural threats and emergencies through timely action before, during and after a crisis. The Strategic Framework provides the basis for FAO’s Disaster Risk Management Strategy in West Africa and the Sahel (2011-2013).
This subregional strategy provides an integrated approach to planning disaster risk management and disaster risk reduction activities for the relevant FAO country offices, while at the same time laying the foundation for the development of national Plans of Action. The strategy will be implemented in coordination with other relevant actors, such as regional and subregional institutions, the governments involved, United Nations agencies and other non-governmental organizations.
The overall objective of this strategy is to strengthen community resilience and to reduce their vulnerability to various shocks, in an effort to help the countries of this subregion to become more food secure and to enable them to focus on developing sustainable food and agriculture systems. Specific goals and priority activities have been identified based on risks and challenges that have been recognized. The following countries will be covered by this subregional strategy: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.