Humanitarian leaders meet in Brussels to discuss Sahel crisis

A cash for work program by the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection in Burkina Faso, one of countries affected by the drought in Sahel. A high-level gathering on June 18 is aimed at exploring solutions to food and nutrition problems in the African region. Photo by: Raphael de Bengy / ECHO / CC BY-SA

High-level officials from major donors and nongovernmental organizations will convene Monday, June 18, to explore solutions to lingering food and nutrition problems in Africa’s Sahel region.

The high-level gathering will be led by European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva. Participants — which include U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, U.S. Agency for International Development Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake — are set to forge a new partnership focused on ending the current crisis in Sahel and prevent similar situations in the future.

Also expected at the meeting are representatives from Sahel countries, namely Senegal, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. The meeting comes as hunger that could affect up to 18 million people across the region is expected to reach its peak in the coming weeks.

Moreover, the European Commission has announced additional humanitarian funding worth €40 million ($50.6 million) for the region. The money will be used to finance blanket feeding programs for children and to distribute food or money to the poorest households, according to a press release. Part of the funding is also allocated for the food and health care needs of Malians displaced by conflict.

The European Union is among the largest supporters of relief and resilience efforts in Sahel. The European Commission has so far pledged €337 million for the food crisis in the region and conflict in Mali. EU member states have also provided separate assistance. 

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.