High-Level Humanitarian Mission commits to strengthen partnership with Mauritania [EN/AR]

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 06 Feb 2014

(Nouakchott/Dakar, 6 February 2014): A high-level humanitarian mission with strong participation from Arab countries and Turkey this week found fertile ground for building new partnerships with local partners in Mauritania.

“We will make sure Mauritania remains on the humanitarian agenda. The doors for new partnerships with the Government and its humanitarian partners are wide open,” said Ambassador Atta Al-Manan Bakhit, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “In very concrete ways, our visit has already served to connect NGOs from the Islamic world with national actors in Mauritania.”

The five-day mission was jointly led by the OIC, the League of Arab States (LAS), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Participants included representatives from Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the African Union, ECHO, and several NGOs from the Gulf region.

The delegation met with Government representatives, UN agencies and humanitarian partners, and undertook a field trip to the southern regions of Aleg and Kaedi. Local authorities and communities repeatedly highlighted that, for the first time, such a diversity of partners united to discuss the best ways to assist those in need.

“Speaking with communities affected by food insecurity, malnutrition and the impact of floods we understood how many challenges remain,” said Ambassador Faeqa Saeed Al-Saleh, Assistant Secretary General and Head of Social Affairs at the LAS. “The cooperation between the Government and humanitarian partners in strengthening the resilience of these people is critical.”

Mauritania is severely affected by the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel region. Communities struggle to recover from recurrent shocks and continue to need humanitarian assistance. Mauritania also generously hosts more than 60,000 Malian refugees, mostly in communities who themselves are struggling with scarce resources.

“This year, 470,000 Mauritanians will need food assistance, and more than 30,000 children are expected to suffer from severe malnutrition,” said Rashid Khalikov, Director of OCHA Geneva. “Our task is two-fold: bring relief to the most vulnerable and build the resilience of communities who risk falling back into crisis.”

The United Nations and humanitarian partners this week launched a three-year Regional Strategic Response Plan for the Sahel. For Mauritania, the plan seeks to mobilize US$107 million to assist 530,000 people.

“Donors last year have been generous and funded the 2013 humanitarian appeal by 83 per cent,” said Mrs Coumba Mar Gadio, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Mauritania. “The new response plan further emphasises the necessary linking of humanitarian interventions with longer-term development. To make headway, we need to build diverse and innovative partnerships.” The mission to Mauritania was the third partnership mission organized by OCHA and the OIC, with the League of Arab States joining for the first time.

For more information, please contact:
Loubna Benhayoune, OCHA Nouakchott,benhayoune@un.org, +222 20 38 55 45
Ivo Brandau, OCHA Dakar, brandaui@un.org, +221 77 45 06 232
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