FINAL MISSION STATEMENT OCHA-OIC Organized Partnership Mission to the Sahel Region 14-21 October 2012

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Nov 29, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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FINAL MISSION STATEMENT

OCHA
-
OIC Organized Partnership Mission to the Sahel Region

14
-
21 October 2012


The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in
partnership with the

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (RHC) organised

a high
level

visit to
Nige
r, Mali and Burkina Faso from 14
-
21 Octo
ber

2012
.


The mission, which was
jointly led by Mr. David Gressle
y,
United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator
for the Sahel, and Ambassador Y
ahaya

Lawal, Director
, African Affairs at the General Secretariat of the
OIC,
included participants from the following
Member States,
Regional Organisations,
Charities and Red
Crescent

S
ocietie
s
:
Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates,
African Union,
Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Direct Aid, International
Islamic Charity Organization (IICO), and Re
d Crescents from
Qatar
, Turkey and the
U
nited Arab Emirates.


The objective of the mission was to
gather

first
-
hand

information and witness
the impact of the humanitarian
crisis in
the three countries concerned

and explore
how collaborati
on between the UN,

OIC
and the participating
regional organizations, member states, and Non
-
Governmental Organizations can be strengthened to address the
needs identified by the respective Governments and humanitarian actors.


In the course of the visit
,

the delegation met
high
-
level officials, including
Ministers, local authorities, civil
societies, Non
-
Governmental Organization
s
, donor representatives and United Nations officials.
They received

comprehensive briefing
s on the current
c
ontext
in

the three countries and the
related structural
,

development and
humanitarian
concerns
. The delegation also visited several projects in the field where they
met

with
people
affected by

food insecurity, malnutrition, displacement, and flooding
. They saw
concrete

programmes

being
implemented

by local authorities and humanitarian workers to alleviate
the

suffering

of
the
affected people
. This
provided
them with
a better picture of real needs
and challenges faced
on
day
-
to
-
day
basis
by the people of
Niger, Mali,

and

Burkina Faso.


In

Niger
,
s
pecific briefings were provided by the Government on the initiative 3N “Nigeri
e
ns Feed Nigeriens”, a
programme designed to build food security and sustainable agricultural development as well as on the Strategy
for Development and Security in Sahe
l
-
Saharan
region of the country
.
The mission welcomed the overview of
the current context in Niger recognizing the challenges faced in addressing the impact of recurrent drought,
chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, recent flooding,
threat of
locust
infestation and cholera. It also
underlined the growing concerns
on the impact on Niger itself of a

deterioration of the situation in Mali.

In
response to the findings in Niger, the Government of Niger, the United Nations, and the Organization of Islamic

Cooperation agreed to establish a task force
which will
meet regul
arly to discuss practical ways in order t
o work
more collaboratively to address the structural, chronic and humanitarian needs in the country. It will convene its
first meeting in advance
of the roundtable discussion on Niger due to take place in Paris in mid
-
November

2012
.


In
Mali

itself,
the Government and humanitarian actors underscored the complexity of the current political and
security situation and its impact on the people of Mali.

T
he

challenges of implementing programmes and
delivering humanitarian assistance
in North
ern Mali were

stressed
. T
he importance of

collaborative efforts
with
national societies and local NGOs
to
better
reach people in need

was underscored
.
Particular att
ention was drawn
to the displacement of people both inside the country and
refugees
across its bor
ders and

the strain this also
places on receiving communities, local structures and host families.

Furthermore, concerns were voiced with
respect to human rig
hts violations, particularly in relation to women and children.

It was also clarified that the
highest number of vulnerable people (over 75%), including th
ose

displ
aced, we
re in s
outhern Mali which
has so
far
remain
ed

accessible for the broader humanitari
an community and development actors.
Even though
harvest
projections
this cropping season
are positive, persistent food insecurity
remains and the threat of locust damage
is
still very real. Humanitarian interlocutors stressed that
,

even while harvest might be better next year, many






2


factors, such as behavioural practice, contribute to continuing high malnutrition rates which are likely to
increase. It was also evident that there is a need for both humanitarian and development actors
to apply new
approaches to build t
he resilience of communities to deal with future shocks.


In Burkina Faso, the Government and humanitarian actors drew attention to the impact of climate change and
desertification on crop production and the series of food security crises suffered by the country since 2005. The
mission
learned that, even under th
e best of conditions, 1 million people will remain vulnerable to food
insecurity
. The impact on Burkina Faso of the volatile sub
-
regional security situation, including conflict in
neighbouring countries, increased criminality and trafficking, was also high
lighted. Recently, the vulnerability of
the already poor Burkina Faso population has been exacerbated by an influx of people fleeing insecurity in Mali.
Some 35,000 refugees are dependent on assistance including food, water, shelter and health support as
well as
protection against gender based violence. Particular attention was drawn to the pressure on water and pasture
caused by the influx of cattle with the refugees and the potential for tension with the local population as a result.
The mission also v
isited
Mentao refugee camp

where they saw for themselves th
e impact of the escalating
situation in Mali on the refugees and the support being provided by humanitarian actors in support of the
Government. The mission has noted the Government’s own efforts
to address the food security situation
through

its operational plan for vulnerable populations, its initiatives to support livestock management, its response plan
for the refugees, and its
development of civic

education. The m
ission hopes to respond to th
e G
overnment’s call
for international solidarity,
technical
support
and capacity building
and a coordinated approach
for

the people in
need.


Both the briefings and the visits highlighted the complexity of the challenges faced by the people and the
Governm
ent
s

of Niger
, Mali and Burkina Faso
.
They

underscored the importance of a unified effort by partner
s
,

both nationally and internationally
,

to address immediate humanitarian needs as well as the structural causes of
chronic underdevelopment and poverty.

The findings of the mission

reinforced the need to implement approaches
that build the resilience of the population to overcome recurrent shocks and the need to ensure stronger linkages
between humanitarian programming, early recovery initiatives and susta
inable development efforts.


The mission is particularly timely as it comes at a point where national and international communit
ies

are
convergin
g

around a shared agenda and a collaborative approach for countries in the Sahel. Furth
ermore, it
recognized
t
hat the c
omplexity of
the needs in
this region

means that
they

cannot be
tackled

by

any one country
or organization on its own
.
Coordination
is
needed
and joint efforts are
crucial.


In this context, the United Nations and the
Organization

of Islamic Coope
ration
and participating Member States
and Organizations
have expressed their commitment

to
:


1.

C
ontinue to strengthen their partnership and collaboration

to be able to better address the com
plexity of
the situations in the countries visited
.

2.

E
ngage with a w
ider range of non
-
governm
ental organizations and civil societ
ies
, including
from OIC
Member States
,

to ensure
their inclusion in all relevant in
-
country coordination structures.

3.

E
xplor
e concrete
ways in which their huma
nitarian, early recovery and development
programming

can be
better linked.

4.

I
dentify and implement activities whic
h support a resilience approaches for vulnerable communities and
households.

5.

E
xplore
practical ways

to support the response
, including through
potentially establishing or increasing
prese
nce in the respective countries or
providing technical or

fi
nancial support to meet the needs of the
affected people in the communities.



Ouagadougou, 20

October 2012