Consolidated Appeal for West Africa 2007
Far too many of the 250 million citizens of the West African sub-region continue to live in high levels of vulnerability, subjected to a range of natural and man-made disasters. While the overall humanitarian situation has improved over the past year, particularly in areas where problems no longer amount to a humanitarian crisis such as Liberia, Togo and Niger – not least due to increased capacities to respond – there are still unacceptable levels of human distress and suffering caused by malfunctioning political systems, under-nutrition, forced displacement, floods, epidemics, and more.
It is widely understood that many of the threats to the human security environment in West Africa easily cross borders. The complexity, diversity and trans-national nature of issues at stake require strong efforts in regional coordination and cooperation among humanitarian agencies as well as specific outreach to non-humanitarian actors involved in development, conflict mitigation and post-conflict activities.
Devoting resources and time to promote system-wide and coordinated response with a region-based perspective has slowly become the modus operandi of the humanitarian community in West Africa. Since 2000, the donor community has invested US$ 25 million[i]in facilitating humanitarian coordination in West Africa alone. This continuous and sustained support is starting to pay off as key humanitarian stakeholders have reached a strategic agreement on three priority trans-national humanitarian issues that must be addressed in West Africa in the years to come:
· Food Security and Nutrition in the Sahel;
· Rapid Response to Health Crises;
· Protection and Population Movements.
Food Security and Nutrition in the Sahel:The situation and the future of children in the Sahel continue to be critical with an estimated 300,000 children dying every year from causes related to under-nutrition. External shocks of a scale that might have only minor effects elsewhere, such as floods, locust invasions or slightly sub-normal rainfall, in the Sahel can significantly damage livelihoods and increase vulnerability for years to come. From a humanitarian standpoint it remains imperative to continue to save lives and strengthen livelihoods in 2007, while developing appropriate exit strategies in consultation with development actors, and finding ways to implement them as quickly as possible.
Rapid Response to Health Crises:West Africa’s epidemiological profile is marked by the predominance of endemic and epidemic communicable diseases such as cholera, meningitis and yellow fever, which every year claim scores of lives and cause extensive human suffering and distress. With very weak capacities to address the issue at both national and international levels, the risk of outbreak is high and conditions for rapid spread of communicable diseases are often present. A range of international organisations provide extensive support to national health systems. But access to and availability of performing and affordable health care services, as a basic human right, are not granted to large numbers of most vulnerable people from rural communities. As such, the recurrent health emergencies in West Africa need considerable and sustainable efforts both in terms of coordination and resource mobilisation.
Protection and Population Movements: West Africa continues to witness interdependent conflicts and humanitarian crises which erupt simultaneously or fuel each other and cause movements of populations in need of assistance and protection. Developments in the Casamance and in Guinea-Bissau in 2006 again underlined the importance of being able to quickly provide efficient and targeted humanitarian aid to those fleeing armed conflict. The volatile situation in Côte d’Ivoire is of particular concern in this regard as it impacts surrounding countries already facing other crises or fragile recovery processes. During the Protection of Civilians Workshop held in Côte d’Ivoire on 12-13 October 2006 it was underlined by participating governmental, civil society and international organisations that the existing political stalemate has given rise to a steadily deteriorating situation of protection of civilians which is worse than during times of open conflict, not least due to the lack of access to justice. Similarly, in the Mano River Union (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia), years of conflict and instability have led to a situation rife with impunity, trafficking, youth unemployment, deficient local governance, weak health and other basic infrastructures and services, lack of access to land and shelter, and social insecurity; children, women and men are exposed to lawlessness and increasing disregard for human life and human rights.
The West Africa Consolidated Appeal Process is slowly but steadily becoming a system-wide regional humanitarian framework for stronger collaboration among key actors actively addressing human suffering in one of the poorest regions in the world. Increased commitment at all levels to the elaboration of the most useful and efficient ways forward for cost-efficient, flexible and strategically guided solutions is reflected in the growing engagement and pro-active participation of agencies, donors and West African governmental structures in the process.
Addressing the challenges that lie ahead for 2007 will require continued commitment not only from the donor community – which with increasing generosity has been giving to vulnerable populations in West Africa – but from all stakeholders throughout the year to follow through on strategic monitoring and ensure:
· Early warning of impeding crises;
· Further strengthening of preparedness and facilitation of joint programming and response;
· Sharpening evidence based advocacy; and
· Sustaining policy dialogue with non-humanitarian partners.
This year’s consolidated appeal for West Africa includes projects from 21 international United Nations and non-governmental organisations and has been developed with the participation of over 30 different organisations, including the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and donor representatives. Following consultations in Dakar in September 2006, regional thematic working groups have in consultation with country teams consolidated response plans and reviewed projects to ensure coherence in the strategic framework. This has led to a total of 65 projects presented by the 21 organisations which amount to a total of $309 million.
Note:The increase in the amount requested for the West Africa CAP 2007 is in part explained by the integration of remaining humanitarian needs in Liberia and Guinea which were covered last year by their respective country appeals. The $309 million requested for 2007 for humanitarian actions in West Africa are only complemented by the Côte d’Ivoire appeal and cover response, coordination and advocacy activities for saving lives and strengthening livelihoods in West Africa along the strategic objectives outlined in the above mentioned themes.
[i]All dollar figures in this document are United States dollars. Funding for this appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS, firstname.lastname@example.org), which will display its requirements and funding on the CAP 2007 page.
[ii]Regional appeals in West Africa 2003-2006 have included the following geographical areas:
2006: Regional, Côte d’Ivoire+5, MRU, Sahel, Guinea Bissau (GB)+3, Togo+2,
2005: Regional, Côte d’Ivoire+5, MRU, Sahel
2004: Regional, Côte d’Ivoire+5, MRU
2003: Côte d’Ivoire+5