ECOWAS strengthens its co-ordination


West Africa’s main food and nutrition security players met in Lomé on 13-18 March. At this annual meeting, participants reviewed the implementation status of projects and programmes co-ordinated by the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) and CILSS. They discussed ways to better co-ordinate these efforts so that regional actions becomes more efficient and coherent, and not limited to just the sum of these projects and programmes.


Since 2014, ECOWAS and its partners have been scrutinizing each project’s progress and will, on the basis of the results, improve the planning and coherence of the work at the regional level. The steering committee validated the 2016 activity reports and made some recommendations for ongoing programmes. For example, significant progress has been made under the auspices of the West Africa Food and Nutrition Security Support Programme (PASANAO), which will expire in June 2018. The programme has sought to integrate urban vulnerability indicators in the analysis of the Cadre harmonisé. They will soon prepare to capitalise on those lessons in order to inform the national agricultural and food and nutrition security investment plans (NAIP-FNS) that are currently prepared by ECOWAS member countries.


Another ECOWAS flagship project is the establishment of a regional food security reserve as a third safety net -- in addition to local and national reserves. The stakeholders, however, believe that some countries lack accountability and seem to rely solely on the regional reserve, which create enormous costs in the project implementation at the regional level. Faced with this situation, the steering committee recommended that the implementation of the project be refocused on its initial mandate.


Last but not least, stakeholders underlined once more the importance of aligning the partners with ECOWAS priorities and management mechanisms. Within the framework of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA), the SWAC/OECD Secretariat is currently mapping interventions related to food and nutrition security and resilience. This tool should not only make it possible to measure the scale of the challenges, but also to develop concrete proposals about how to strengthen the co-ordination and coherence of regional interventions.