Next stop: Resilience
by David Gressly, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel
This week, I have attended the opening of the High-Level event on the Sahel in New York. It has been a difficult year for the people in the Sahel, but we have been able to contain the food and nutrition crisis thanks to an early and generous donor response. The situation has improved. While 18 million people are still affected, most communities across the Sahel are now receiving appropriate support. Partners have scaled up the general food distribution and nutrition assistance since the beginning of the lean season in July.
With the onset of abundant rains, there is now a prospect for good harvests in 2012. If all goes well, this will be positive news for 2013.In the meantime, however, we need to maintain our momentum to get through this crisis. And for this to happen, we still need to ensure sufficient funding for sectors critical to the response, such as water, education, and the needs of Malian refugees and IDPs.
2013 is key
This is the time to tackle the chronic structural problems that we see across the Sahel. Even in a good year with plentiful rains, a quarter million children will die of malnutrition unless the structural problems are also addressed. That is why we are pushing, with many other partners and governments, an agenda on resilience to increase the capacity of these same households to absorb the shocks of drought and high prices. As a result, they will be better positioned every year to deal with the kind of stress that exists in the Sahel.