Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa meeting set to focus on the youth
Preparations are underway for the 18th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa to be held in Dakar, Senegal, from 25-26 March 2017 under the theme “UN System Support to Harnessing Demographic Dividend Through Investments in the Youth.”
The theme will allow high-level participants, including the UN Deputy Secretary General, to discuss Africa’s significant asset, the youth, and how they can be harnessed for sustainable growth.
Studies indicate that Africa will account for 3.2 billion of the projected 4 billion increase in the global population by 2100. The same studies also point to Africa's working age population, particularly the youth, rising by 2.1 billion over the period, compared to a net global increase of 2 billion.
“This meeting presents an opportunity for the United Nations system and the African Union to dialogue on ways of advancing Africa's development agenda,” says Economic Commission for Africa’s Acting Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok.
He adds active collaboration will help sharpen the continent’s focus on strategies to speed up the demographic transition, and create conducive conditions for harnessing the demographic dividend, including the development of frameworks for increased active and productive participation of the youth in economic activities.
Participants will also deliberate on strategies for strengthening the collaboration between all the partners involved in RCM-Africa.
The meeting, which will be held back to back with the joint Annual Ministerial Conference of the ECA and the African Union Commission (AUC), also being held in Dakar from 23-28 March 2017 on the theme, “Growth, inequality and unemployment”, will also discuss the implementation of the renewed framework of United Nations-African Union Partnership on Africa’s Integration and Development Agenda (PAIDA).
Also under discussion would be the work programme of the RCM-Africa for 2017 and 2018, ensuring that new clusters are appropriately aligned to support the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The alignment of the RCM-Africa to the Ministerial Conference allows the UN Deputy Secretary General, who is also the co-Chair of RCM-Africa, and senior UN officials to engage directly with ministers responsible for finance, planning and economic development on pertinent issues related to Africa’s development agenda.
Participants will include heads and senior officials of organizations and agencies of the UN system working in support of the AU, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund; AU Commission, African Development Bank, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat and other regional economic communities.Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
UK Supports Somali Government and AMISOM to eradicate use of child soldier
The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have strengthened their capacities to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Somalia, thanks to a training initiative supported by the British Embassy Mogadishu in conjunction with British Peace Support Team- East Africa (BPST-EA) and the Dallaire Initiative (DI).
A 10-day Training of Trainers (TOT) course in Nairobi equipped 24 participants from the FGS and AMISOM with the skills and expertise needed to plan, organise and train others on preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Somalia.
The recruitment and use of child soldiers in armed conflict remains a major security challenge and a human rights issue. Somalia has gone through a prolonged war lasting over two decades which has affected Somali children in numerous ways.
British Ambassador to Somalia David Concar said: The goal of the course is to train trainers – individuals who can teach their colleagues back in Somalia how to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers. Turning children into combatants is a gross violation of their human rights and the UK is committed to continuing to support the Somali Government and AMISOM in ensuring this practice is stamped out.
Col. Richard Leakey, the Commandant at BPST-EA said: In the field, you will become key advocates to promote children’s rights. The reason for these are two fold, not only do you bear a heavy, moral responsibility to protect the innocent as AU peacekeepers, but also by breaking the cycle of conflict that continues due to recruitment and use of child soldiers, you will directly contribute to the mission’s success.
The AU Deputy Special Representative for Somalia Hon. Lydia Wanyoto on her part said: It’s not just about Somali children. It’s about humanity. It’s about an African child given a chance to grow up as a child to fulfil their rightful potential in life.
Darin Reeves, the Training Director at Dallaire Initiative added that: We support and underscore our belief that the security sector actors have a particularly important role to play in the protection of children because they are frequently the first point of contact not only with child soldiers but with all children in the operation areas.
According to the United Nations Security Council Report on Children and Armed Conflict in Somalia, published in January 2017, a total of 5,933 boys and 230 girls were recruited as child soldiers between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2016.
Statistics showed an improvement between 2012 and 2014, but the figures rose sharply in the first half of 2016, when 1,092 children were used as child soldiers. Available statistics also show that 70% of the children in armed conflict in Somalia are recruited by Al-Shabaab.
The TOT course builds on a three day Somalia-specific writing workshop organised by the same group on ‘Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers during Armed Conflict’ held in Nairobi from 6 - 8 December 2016 for 30 participants from the FGS and AMISOM.Distributed by APO on behalf of British Embassy Mogadishu.
Governments Meet to Discuss the Sustainable Future of Livestock in Africa
Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050 (ASL2050) launched today in Addis Ababa, encouraging governments to think beyond livestock today, for the people of tomorrow. ASL2050 is a cross-sectoral initiative analysing the impact of a growing livestock sector on public health, the environment, and livelihoods.
Government ministers and representatives from Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) met today in Ethiopia to discuss the future of the livestock sector in Africa.
H.E. Professor Fekadu Beyene, Ethiopian Minister of Livestock and Fishery, explained “This is a wonderful opportunity to share expertise and experience between ministries and countries, with the aim of building a sustainable livestock sector in the coming decades that will enrich the lives of all our citizens. We are looking forward to partnering with USAID and FAO to examine our livestock systems now, and realise the potential they have for the future through the sustainable implementation of the Livestock Master Plan.”
Africa’s economy is forecast to experience significant growth in the next 20 to 30 years. As a result of rising household incomes, people will want to eat more meat, eggs and dairy products. This provides a great opportunity for growth in the livestock sector, but could also pose serious challenges for public health and environmental protection. ASL2050 aims to facilitate a dialogue between countries, ministries, and specialists to help Africa to prepare for these changes – building the capacity to maximise benefits and minimise challenges.
“The demand for milk, meat and eggs is going to double, triple and even quadruple in some African countries in the coming decades. This is going to cause a revolution in the livestock sector,” said USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Leslie Reed. “With ASL2050, we are going to collaborate with governments to work out how to build the foundations for this change, so that African farmers and consumers will be better off. More livestock means more feed is needed, and land use will change. This presents some challenges for the environment that we need to start preparing for now.”
By facilitating a dialogue between the livestock, environment, livelihoods and public health ministries of Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, ASL2050 will identify actions that can be taken now to ensure a sustainable and productive livestock sector, while protecting the environment and public health.
Berhe Tekola, Director of the Animal Production and Health Division of the FAO said, “Asia experienced a period of rapid economic growth from the 1970s to the early 2000s, and the livestock sector grew rapidly as a result. Unfortunately the safeguards were not in place to manage infectious disease spread and we saw the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 2003. With similar growth in the livestock sector forecast for Africa, we want to make sure we are prepared so we can prevent a similar disease emergence event in the future, and stay on track to achieve the sustainable development in Africa that we are all hoping for.”
ASL2050 will also anticipate long-term public health risks such as unexpected disease spread from livestock to humans, and identify policies or procedures to implement now that can reduce these risks in the future.Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Nigeria hunger crisis deepens, spills over into Lake Chad Basin
As conflict and instability continue, the food security situation in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin is drastically deteriorating, FAO warned today, as it called for swift and decisive action from the international community to protect the livelihoods of millions of families dependent on farming, livestock and fishing for their food and livelihoods.
With the next planting season starting in May, and with scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it is crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves four countries: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
Some 7.1 million people are now severely food insecure across the four countries. Among them are 515 000 children who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition - a condition which, if untreated, can lead to permanent damage to a child's development and even death.
FAO is among the UN agencies and governments attending the Oslo Humanitarian Conference today, organized to mobilize international funding for the crisis-struck region, where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods.
"In the worst-affected areas, famine continues to loom -- and millions will remain trapped in cycles of severe hunger if we don't enable farmers to start cropping now," said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, who is representing FAO at the conference. "Our collective efforts cannot be limited to merely avoiding massive famine - they need to allow people to return to a dignified life. And supporting agriculture is the key to both," he said.
Besides reducing hunger and boosting nutrition, investing in farmers also provides much needed job opportunities that reduce migration and limit the potential for radicalization of unemployed youth, according to Burgeon.
Crisis spilling across borders
Violence related to the armed group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has spilled over to parts of neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin - specifically, Cameroon's Far North, western Chad and southeastern Niger - with devastating effects on food security and livelihoods.
With the Lake Chad Basin approaching a critical period in the agricultural calendar, FAO is urgently calling for $30 million in immediate emergency support to help farming families in the four countries get ready to plant in the upcoming May planting season and prevent them from slipping into long-term dependency on food aid.
A total of $232 million will be needed to secure food production and access to food for three million people in the worst-hit areas over the next three years. The vast majority of the requested funds - some $191 million - is designated for Nigeria, which is bearing the brunt of the crisis.
Violence and displacement drive severe hunger
Violence has driven millions across the four countries from their homes and hampered access to agricultural lands and assets, creating massive humanitarian needs in an area already struggling with food insecurity, poverty and environmental degradation. Host communities, in particular, have been struggling for several years now to feed the displaced as well as their own.
As humanitarian access improves, revealing the magnitude of impact of the conflict, time has come to support both people who remained on their land and those who decide to return to their original livelihoods.
In Borno State alone, the population in crisis, emergency and catastrophe phases of food insecurity (Phases 3 to 5 on the five-tiered scale used by humanitarian agencies) increased from 2 million in August 2016 to 3.3 million in October-December 2016. The worst-affected in this group are not able to feed themselves and have exhausted all resources by selling off their belongings, including seeds, tools and animals. Without intervention, that number is expected to climb to 3.6 million at the height of the lean season in August 2017.
The UN foresees around 120 000 people facing famine conditions in Nigeria. Of this number, the vast majority - some 96 percent -- are expected to be in Borno.
Targeting the most vulnerable
Emergency farming assistance must go hand in hand with food assistance for it to be successful throughout the upcoming lean season. To this end, FAO is collaborating with the World Food Programme to ensure vulnerable families -- mainly IDPs and host communities -- receive food assistance, and at the same time agriculture-based livelihood support in the form of provision of seeds, tools and fertilizer. This way, they will able to restore and protect their livelihoods and farming assets for ongoing food production.
FAO's long-term strategy for the Lake Chad region puts a special emphasis on supporting refugees, internally displaced families and host communities, as these are the most vulnerable groups in this crisis. Interventions are geared to improving their food security and nutrition and building their resilience so they are better equipped to handle future shocks. In addition, restoring agriculture-based livelihoods will offer a unique opportunity to pave the way to recovery and peace in the affected areas.
The strategy incorporates not only provision of farming and livestock inputs but also technical training, cash transfers, instruction in natural resource management, and support in setting up community-managed funds that can reduce vulnerability to shocks.Distributed by APO on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Greenpeace ship My Esperanza sails into West Africa waters
The Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) ship My Esperanza has today docked at the port of Praia in Cape Verde. For eleven weeks the Esperanza will sail the waters of six West Africa States - Cape Verde, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal to raise awareness on the state of fisheries through political events, public engagement and consultations with the West-African science community. The ship tour named “The West Africa tour of hope” will provide an opportunity to make these countries’ voice on protecting their own sea and marine resources heard internationally.
“By bringing the ship to West Africa, Greenpeace seeks once again to reiterate its ultimate commitment in working with local communities and governments in addressing issues of overfishing and illegal fishing that have plagued the region for decades” said Greenpeace Africa Executive Director Njeri Kabeberi
The West African waters are among the richest in the world. Millions of people and local communities depend on them to survive. However, the population in West Africa is growing and the fish stocks are declining as a result of fishing, climate change, pollution and destruction of critical habitats. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of efficient fisheries management in the region, illegal, unregulated and undeclared fishing activities (IUU fishing) and the weakness of surveillance systems in most of the countries.
“Overfishing and illegal fishing in West African waters is a threat to food security, fish stocks and a healthy ocean. It is critical that the collaboration between states be reinforced to support a regional approach to better management of fisheries in West Africa”, said Ibrahima Cissé, Greenpeace Africa Senior Oceans Campaign Manager.
In the last fifteen years, Greenpeace has documented and exposed how distant water fleets and illegal vessels have moved their fleets to West Africa after overexploiting fish stocks in their own waters. Chinese, Russian and European fleets are among the most prominent in West Africa waters. Their activities have and continue to compromise the food security and livelihoods of coastal communities who largely depend on artisanal fishing. More recently, the rapid growth of artisanal and industrial fishery without regulation or planning of their capacity has added to the problem.
“West Africa States will have to work together and act with a unified voice to safeguard their waters. A sustainable common management of resources, especially the small pelagic is a first step to guarantee fish stock for present and future generations” added Dr Cissé.
In the next two months, the Greenpeace vessel My Esperanza will work closely with local authorities to increase the sense of urgency required to deal with the current unsustainable approach to fisheries management and call for a strong Regional fisheries management system.Distributed by APO on behalf of Greenpeace.
Communications Officer on land, Greenpeace Africa
Senegal: +221 773336265
Senior Oceans Campaign Manager, Greenpeace Africa
Senegal: +221 770998842