International Conference on the West African Food Security Storage System: ECOWAS to build a multilateral partnership around its experience

PUBLISHED: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 14:02:19 GMT

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The ECOWAS Commission is set to organize, from 28th April to 10th May 2021, by videoconference, an international conference to share with its partners and the other regions of the world, the experience of its regional food security storage system. The official opening ceremony, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 28th April 2021 at 12:00 GMT, will be broadcast live on the Facebook page of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) and those of the ECOWAS Commission and its Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The overall objective is to lay the foundations for a renewed multilateral partnership to strengthen, in a sustainable manner, the resilience of the West African Food Security Storage System and its capacity to respond effectively to the amplification and complexity of food, nutrition, and pastoral crises in the region. Participants will specifically discuss issues such as (i) vulnerability of West Africa and the Sahel to food and nutrition insecurity, (ii) food reserves and management of cyclical food, nutrition and pastoral crises in West Africa, (iii) role of stocks in the promotion of sustainable food systems and the building of the regional food market, (iv) role of food reserves in the building of the resilience and social protection of households, (v) partnerships and innovative financing mechanisms and the strengthening of the resilience of the Regional Food Storage System and its capacity to respond effectively to the amplification and complexity of food, nutrition, and pastoral crises.

The conference falls within the capitalization of the EU-funded Support Project to the West African Food Security Storage System which allowed effective kick-off in 2015 of the operationalization of the West African Food Security Storage Strategy.

This strategy is built on four complementary lines of defense, hereafter (i) local stocks set up and managed by local producers’ organizations or decentralized communities, (ii) national security stocks managed by States or co-managed by States and their financial partners, (iii) the Regional Food Security Reserve set up and managed by the ECOWAS Commission, and (iv) the resort to international Aid, when no solution can be found at the first three lines of defense.

After 5 years of implementation of the Support Project, an internal capitalization of the results made it possible to systematize important achievements, challenges and lessons learned for scaling up to make the Regional Food Security Storage Strategy, a pivotal instrument for the elimination of hunger in the region by 2030.

Attendance is open to all food security storage stakeholders: national (Member States), regional (CILSS, UEMOA, Networks of Producers’ and Women’s Organizations – ROPPA, ROAC, RBM, APESS, Gender Network, Women’s Network for Conflict Prevention and Management, the private sector, etc.) and international partners (technical and financial partners, UN System Organizations, NGOs, research centers and universities).

The official opening is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 28th April 2021 at 12:00 GMT under the chairmanship of Her Excellency, Mrs Shirley Ayorkor BOTCHWEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, and Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers. It will be followed by an introductory session on food reserves in the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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