Abuja, Nigeria - ECOWAS, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and other partners, will this week launch the West Africa Zero Hunger Initiative targetting the eradication of hunger in the region and adopting a new approach to the governance of agricultural, food and nutrition issues in West Africa during an inception workshop scheduled for Accra, Ghana.
The 24-26 Feb. workshop will enable the stakeholders to forge a common understanding of the nature of the Initiative, a country-focused and results-oriented set of actions that reinforces and strengthens existing strategies and programmes for eliminating food insecurity and malnutrition in ECOWAS member states.
PANA quotes the ECOWAS Commission as saying participants will discuss how the Zero Hunger Initiative can add value to regional and county level Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) efforts and how the initiative relates to efforts with similar objective, and the definition of involvement of actors.
The West African Zero Hunger initiative subscribes to the UN Secretary-General’s vision for a future where no person is hungry, where every woman, child and man enjoys their right to food; women are empowered; priority is given to family farming; and food systems everywhere are made sustainable and resilient.
Despite the rapid population growth rate in the region between 1990 and 2013, the level of undernourishment dropped from 45 million between 1990 and 92 to approximately 34.5 million between 2011 and 2013, the most striking being the drop from 24 per cent to 11 per cent between 1991 and 2012.
This implies that as a region, West Africa has achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015, with six states - Benin, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo - already attaining this objective.
The initial strategy for the Initiative was prepared after consultations between ECOWAS and the FAO, which forms the basis of discussion at the Accra Inception workshop.
Presentations at the workshop will include situation analysis and mapping of key initiatives in the region to food security and nutrition; rationale for establishing a zero hunger initiative; ECOWAS Programming in health, agriculture and social protection and the expected achievements of the initiative in the short- and long-term.