The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the African Union (AU) have launched a project geared towards ending hunger in the Horn of Africa.
The project dubbed “Ending Hunger in the Horn of Africa: Moving from Rhetoric to Action,” has come in line with FAO-AU partnership to address hunger and translate earlier commitments into action to tame food insecurity and malnutrition in the sub-region.
A two-day workshop that deliberates on the project kicked off on Tuesday at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
The workshop discusses and reviews the project work plan and key activities to ensure smooth implementation in the target countries and across the Horn of Africa.
The project targets countries including, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda, and will be implemented with initial budget of 350,000 U.S. dollars.
It helps target countries document successes, develop country-driven strategies to end hunger as well as helping put in place monitoring and coordination mechanism to coordinate among the various ministries and departments involved in the implementation of the project.
In the Horn of Africa, the recurring and severe droughts and other natural disasters have, over the years, caused widespread famine, ecological degradation and economic hardship.
Although individual countries made substantial efforts to cope with the situation and received support from the international community, there are still signs that the problem is still far from over.
A regional approach has strongly been argued to supplement national efforts in addressing the problem.
The AU heads of states in June 2014 endorsed a declaration in Malabo on accelerated agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods, and one of the main tenets of the declaration is the “Commitment to Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025.”
FAO also partners for Africa’s commitment to end hunger by 2025 under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Patrick Kormawa, FAO Coordinator for East Africa, said the menace of hunger is still huge in Horn of Africa despite successes in some countries.
He told reporters, in particular, and said FAO and AU have been partnering over 50 years and FAO is more than 70 years old in the business of ending hunger in the world.
“Our partnership with the African Union this time related to the project we are launching today is to put in place specific programs that will lead to eradication of hunger in the Horn of Africa,” he noted.
FAO, through the partnership with AU, is working very closely on the CAADP which is a flagship program of AU, said Kormawa, adding, the Organization has also been supporting AU and its member states to develop their investment plans.
FAO has also been supporting AU member states in terms of building technical capacity for the implementation of CAADP programs.
“The program we are launching today is one of a series of programs in the East African sub-region towards ending hunger,” he said.
Responding to question about the beneficiary population, the Coordinator said, “Our target is all the member states in the Horn of Africa that they internalize the program, once internalizing it, it means it affects the poor, it means it affects the hungry, it means it affects young people, it means it affects children, that is our target.”
Ernest Ruzindaza, Senior Advisor to the AU Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture, noted that the project is the first one in a range of activities for translating the Malabo commitments into concrete actions.
“The Horn of Africa with its notable food insecurity challenges, which the recent El Nino effects aggravated, is the right place to start with,” he said.
The workshop creates platform for the participants to internalize, discuss, and agree on how to deliver it together, according to the Official.