This document represents the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) component of the 2013 Sahel Regional Strategy prepared under the coordination of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) covering five Consolidated Appeals (CAP) - i.e. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and the Niger - as well as the humanitarian strategies of non-CAP countries (i.e. Cameroon, the Gambia, Nigeria and Senegal) in the region. In addition, FAO’s response to the livelihood needs of those affected by the conflict in Mali is also reflected in this document.
In 2012, 18.7 million people were severely affected by food and nutrition insecurity across the Sahel region, and more than one million children under the age of five were at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
The crisis that emerged was complex and multidimensional, driven by widespread poverty, chronic vulnerability and weakened resilience resulting from recurrent crises, which exhausted the capacities and coping strategies of vulnerable populations to withstand external shocks.
Although extreme food insecurity was averted and the worst crisis was mitigated last year, the 2013 food and nutrition security situation in the Sahel remains of concern. An estimated 10.3 million people are still at risk of food and nutrition insecurity, and more than 1.4 million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
In order to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable people across the Sahel countries in 2013,
FAO is appealing for a total of USD 135.3 million for livelihood interventions. The funding appeal includes USD 93.1 million for CAP countries, USD 17.6 million for non-CAP countries and USD 24.6 million for needs arising from the Malian conflict.
In 2012, FAO requested USD 122 million to address the food security crisis (including the locust threat);
USD 58 million (48 percent) were mobilized. With the contributions received, FAO was able to support the livelihoods of more than 5.2 million people through: i) support to food crop and off-season production;
ii) support to domestic animal protection and production; iii) soil and water conservation and rehabilitation; iv) early warning and preparedness support; and v) desert locust control and monitoring.
While these funds enabled FAO to support more than 5.2 million people (representing 67 percent of the 7.8 million people targeted by FAO), they represented only 7.5 percent of the funding for the whole food security sector. Important livelihood needs were therefore left unattended.
Recurring crises in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012 have eroded the coping capacities and weakened the livelihoods of the already vulnerable population, further impoverishing them. The majority of the most vulnerable people had not yet recovered from one crisis when the next hit and were unprepared to withstand new shocks such as erratic rains, low agricultural production, persistent high levels of food prices, national and regional insecurity and the threat of a desert locust infestation.
The ongoing conflict in Mali has aggravated the situation, with serious repercussions in the region.
The humanitarian and security situation is deteriorating, impacting the living conditions of internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and their host families. Supply routes are being disrupted and food stocks diminishing. This mass migration is causing further stress on communities already affected by food insecurity, and is creating competition over scarce resources, including grazing land and water. Access to the regions of combat is restricted, complicating humanitarian interventions and limiting access to information on the actual humanitarian situation and population movements.
For 2013, FAO has renewed its commitment to zero hunger through rapid scaling-up measures to meet the immediate nutritional needs of those who are at risk, while building longer term resilience by tackling the root causes of hunger.
Recognizing the need to break the vicious cycle of recurrent crises and emergencies in the region,
FAO is strongly committed to support the Sahel region through a programmatic approach reflected in its Strategic Response Framework entitled “Urgent Action to Support the Resilience of Vulnerable Populations”. This serves as an overarching umbrella, not only for the humanitarian response, but also for the medium to long-term work of the Organization, including investment, with the overall objective to improve the food and nutrition security of vulnerable populations in the Sahel. FAO’s assistance proposed in the present document, as part of the aforementioned FAO’s resilience programme, is designed to protect and strengthen the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations.