ECOWAS aims to co-ordinate food security responses
Co-ordination was once again at the heart of the discussions at an ECOWAS high-level meeting, held on 17-18 February 2020 in Niamey, aimed at addressing the difficult food and nutrition situation in the Sahel and West Africa. The meeting brought together government representatives, the humanitarian community and development partners. By June-August 2020, 12.6 million people (5.1% of the analysed population) are projected to be in a crisis situation or worse, including 1 million people in an emergency situation (phase 4). Vulnerable populations are concentrated in the conflict affected areas in northeastern Nigeria as well as in the Liptako-Gourma region. In the spirit of the PREGEC Charter,participants discussed the needs with a view to defining response options and instruments within national response plans. They also assessed the response capacities at the country, regional and partner levels, and agreed on procedures to ensure effective co‑ordination between national and regional authorities. Participants underlined that the programming should help strengthen national and regional capacities to prepare responses to emergency situations, and co-ordinate and implement interventions. They also insisted on the need to strengthen food crisis management mechanisms while better aligning partners’ interventions with national and regional policies. Moreover, ECOWAS plans to organise an international conference on the West African storage system, which is currently scheduled for 20‑24 July 2020 in Niamey. The gathering aims to build a consensus on the food storage system, capitalise on lessons learned, identify new risks and vulnerabilities, and promote the West African success story. ECOWAS will also launch an assessment of its Regional Food Security Reserve.