Humanitarian actors in the Sahel start work on a three-year response plan

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 28 Nov 2013

(Dakar, 28 November) – A workshop chaired by the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator in the Sahel, Robert Piper, brings together humanitarian actors, donors and Government representatives from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia, from 28 – 29 November in Dakar. More than 150 participants will discuss and consolidate the anticipated needs of the Sahel countries and define strategic objectives for the humanitarian response.

“I am very encouraged by the commitment of national and international actors present with us today. We all work together to respond to the vast humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable people across the Sahel and to reduce chronic and structural vulnerabilities in the region”, said Mr. Piper.

The regional humanitarian needs overview will include projections for 2014 and form the basis for a three-year Strategic Response Plan for the Sahel. The Plan will be launched in February, covering all nine Sahel countries and replacing the national Consolidated Appeal Processes (CAP) used in previous years. It aims at supporting governments and humanitarians in the planning, coordination and implementation of their humanitarian work. This includes the improved identification and targeting of vulnerable populations in the Sahel, ensuring early response to emergencies and life-saving assistance for people in need, and building communities’ capacity to cope with future crises.

Over the past several decades, the Sahel has experienced a vicious cycle of recurrent crises. Food insecurity, malnutrition and very weak basic social services have become chronic problems. Further, large populations are affected by floods, epidemics and the impact of conflict and insecurity. The last food crisis in 2012, aggravated by the armed conflict in Mali, affected more than 18 million people. In an unprecedented effort, humanitarian aid assisted the most affected populations and helped mitigate the impact of the crisis.

Trend analysis for 2014 suggests that the vulnerability of affected populations remains high. Their capacity to cope has been eroded. Despite improved harvests, there are large pockets of high food insecurity. Malnutrition rates for children are above emergency levels in many parts of the region. Millions of people require sustained support to recover from frequent crisis, to rebuild their assets and livelihoods, and to be able to support their families.

“In the past two years, humanitarians achieved a lot in responding to the most pressing humanitarian needs in the Sahel. Now we must remain focused, even more than before, on helping the region’s poorest to recover and prepare them to cope better with any future shocks” said Mr. Piper. “Greater resilience amongst individuals, communities and states is key for saving lives in the future”.

In 2013, the total of humanitarian appeals for the Sahel region amounted to US$ 1.71 billion, out of which $982 million, or 58 per cent, had been received as of 22 November. Another $288 million were provided to the Sahel region outside of the framework of the UN appeals, bringing the total available funding for the Sahel to $1.270 billion.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit