What are the needs?
Food and nutrition crises are becoming more frequent in the Sahel and West Africa. Millions of people now face food insecurity and malnutrition on an almost permanent basis, regardless of whether harvests are good. To prevent the region from being hit by crisis year after year, much greater attention needs to be given to building the resilience of the most vulnerable population groups – for example, by making basic services available to mothers and their children during the first two years of their lives, or by ensuring that aid programmes prioritise assistance to the poorest people.
Bridging the gap between humanitarian and development aid, and linking up with the efforts of affected governments is a precondition for ending the vicious cycle of nutrition crises.
What is the AGIR and what are its objectives?
The aim of AGIR (the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative) is to help build resilience to the recurrent food and nutrition crises that affect the countries of the Sahel and West Africa. AGIR starts from the premise that while emergency response in crises such as those that hit the Sahel in 2005, 2010 and 2012/13 is crucial to saving lives, the time has come for a sustained effort to help people in the Sahel cope better with recurrent crises, with a particular effort towards the most vulnerable people.
The idea of an international alliance bringing together governments of the region, regional organisations and their international partners, as well as civil society, was first put forward at a high-level meeting in Brussels on 18 June 2012, hosted by the EU. The Alliance was formally launched in Ouagadougou on 6 December 2012, with the adoption of a Joint Statement setting out basic principles and priorities. Work was subsequently launched on developing a Regional Roadmap, which elaborates principles, priority actions and indicators in greater detail.
AGIR focuses on a 'Zero Hunger' goal in the next 20 years through 4 strategic pillars:
- Restore, strengthen and secure livelihoods and improve social protection for the most vulnerable communities and households;
- Strengthen nutrition of vulnerable households;
- Sustainably strengthen agricultural and food productivity and incomes of vulnerable households and improve their access to food;
- Strengthen governance for food and nutritional security.
What are the next steps?
Following the adoption of the AGIR Regional Road Map, the priority is to translate the objectives agreed for the region as a whole into action to build resilience at national (and indeed community) level – reflecting the crucial importance of full national ownership of the AGIR agenda, with support from the regional organisations and international partners.