Three Years of Humanitarian Action
In 2012, and for the third time in ten years, the Sahel region was hit by a major drought which further weakened vulnerable communities. The scale of the resulting food and nutrition crisis required all actors to join forces to save the lives of the 24 million people affected. A three-year regional plan was developed in 2013 aiming to deliver coordinated and integrated life-saving assistance to people affected by emergencies while shaping the response to chronic needs in nine countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia.
With the aim of reversing the pattern of growing humanitarian needs, the triennial strategy integrated life-saving assistance, improved risk and vulnerability analysis and the livelihood support to vulnerable populations to better cope with shocks and build resilience.
Objective 1: Track and analyze risk and vulnerability, integrating findings into humanitarian and development programming
Under the Sahel Humanitarian Response Plan new systems and strengthened partnerships have contributed to the improvement of risks and vulnerability analysis across the region. Other data collection tools and mechanisms have developed outside of the humanitarian strategy and have enriched the global response and the ability of various actors to respond to emergencies in the region. More however can be achieved towards this overarching goal. Aid actors and donors have only started to increase focus towards reducing vulnerabilities and preventing crises from unfolding at large scale level.
Objective 2: Support vulnerable populations to better cope with shocks by responding earlier to warning signals, by reducing post-crisis recovery times and by building capacity of national actors
While the strategy has provided humanitarian actors with a forum for structuring debate and coordination with other aid actors and Governments, the integration of humanitarian and development programming remains a challenge. Funding has mostly been geared towards short term interventions instead of multi-annual humanitarian programmes, and spread very unequally across the various sectors.
Objective 3: Deliver coordinated and integrated life-saving assistance to people affected by emergencies
Life-saving assistance to people affected by emergencies accounted for over three quarters of all humanitarian operations from 2014 to 2016. Despite these efforts, millions of people still face immense challenges across the region. Deteriorating security, the effects of climate change, abject poverty and the fast-rising population growth - projected to double over the next three decades - continue to subject communities to recurrent shocks. As such, they remain highly vulnerable to food insecurity, epidemics, natural disasters and conflict.