Sahel, A Land Of Opportunities


DUBAI: The Rome-based United Nations agencies, namely, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), organized a conference during Dubai Expo Agriculture week 2022, to discuss activities and impact of the Joint Sahel Program in response to challenges related to COVID19, conflict and climate change (SD3C).

This six-year program of USD 180 millions aims to meet the priority needs of approximately 854,000 people in rural areas, 50 percent of whom are women and 40 percent young people, in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal and Chad. It will contribute to poverty reduction and improved livelihoods, as well as enhanced trade at national and regional levels. The SD3C program is a model of South-South cooperation that reflects the political will and the union of Member States to face the challenges of sustainable development in the Sahel. 

WFP shares the ambitions of the SD3C, namely mitigation and adaptation to climate change, social cohesion, and the fight against COVID-19 and its socio-economic impacts ,” said Thomas Conan, from WFP West African region. “Through this program, we will make available our expertise in the fight against desertification in order to guarantee better food security for the target populations,” added Rama Leclerc from WFP..

The three main crises in the Sahel – conflict, COVID19 and climate change – expose a population of over 90 million to food insecurity, frequent episodes of conflict and crises that weaken livelihoods particularly within family farms and low-income socio-professional categories. These crises threaten the sovereignty and stability of States and weaken the social peace without which the investment and wealth creation processes are compromised.

“This multi-country and multi-actor program is also a great opportunity to multiply our impacts, by identifying among the practices that we will implement, those with the best results, those that will have strengthened peace, food security, income and employment for young people and women,” indicated Benoit Thierry, Director of the IFAD Sahel Office visiting this week DubaiExpo2020.

The SD3C program thus aims to consolidate the livelihoods of small producers, in particular women and young people living in cross-border areas, to revitalize socio-economic and commercial spaces plagued by insecurity and climatic variability, and finally to raise constraints that exacerbate natural resource conflicts. 

I encourage all technical teams involved in the implementation of the project to coordinate and intensify the mobilization of additional financial resources to both finalize the first phase and implement the second ,” said BloukounonGoubalan, Adin from FAO Regional Office for West Africa. he insisted. .

The Sahel Joint Program is part of the “Resilience and human development” axis of the Investment Program Priority (PIP) of the G5 Sahel. It is also anchored in the “Resilience” pillar of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS). Finally, the program is led by the G5 Sahel in partnership with the three UN agencies based in Rome (FAO, IFAD and WFP) as well as the three networks of Rural Producer Organizations (RPOs) in the Sahel.

The program will now expand with activities funded by the Green Climate Fund, as IFAD is implementing an umbrella program for the Great Green Wall in 7 countries as explained by Pathe Amath Sene, from IFAD.

The webinar was hosted by UN hub in Dubai Expo 2020 and opened by United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms Dena Assaf : “With each passing day, we see the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in several areas of the Sahel. We must contribute, through this program and in synergy with all the other actors and initiatives, to reversing this trend, in order to bring the region into a dynamic of peace and prosperity,” she mentioned in the opening.


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