West Africa: Promoting the Right to Food – Forum On Ecowas Zero Hunger Initiative Held
A Forum of non-state actors on ECOWAS Zero Hunger Initiative opened in Lomé, Togo, Wednesday, aimed at strengthening their participation in decision-making processes and institutional governance for the eradication of hunger and malnutrition.
The forum was organized in the context of the Zero Hunger Initiative for West Africa, an ECOWAS project with the technical support of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the financial support of the German Cooperation.
During the three-day meeting (4-6 November 2015) on the theme: “Role and participation of non-state actors/civil society organizations of West Africa in the Zero Hunger Initiative”, more than 80 representatives from civil society organizations, the private sector, regional organizations and other stakeholders will discuss how to improve the governance of the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) and implement the Zero Hunger Initiative.
Towards a strategic road map for achieving zero hunger
The forum is also meant to promote stronger roles and capacities of non-state actors towards the implementation of the policy on the right to food for all in West Africa by 2025.
Strategies identified and implemented by Zero Hunger Initiative include defining a strategic road map for achieving zero hunger and malnutrition in West Africa; promoting the Right to Food at legislative level and contributing to its application within ECOWAS; and strengthening the coordination of regional food and nutrition security initiatives and programs.
Other activities include promoting strategies to combine social protection, agriculture policies and interventions and promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture into national and regional agricultural investment policies, plans and budgets.
The approach is to complement, reinforce and promote existing efforts being carried out throughout West Africa, and to strengthen communication and advocacy on the goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition in West Africa by 2025.
Among the expected outcomes of the forum are the setting up of a non-state actors platform for dialogue on policies, programs, investments, governance of agriculture and food and nutrition security; as well as the definition of a common position of non-state actors on the Regional Agricultural Policy that will contribute to the upcoming ECOWAS’ International Conference on Agriculture in West Africa (17-19 November 2015, Dakar).
Specific areas of interest include the binding legal framework of the Right to Food; the role of women and marginalized groups; prioritization of strategies, programs and financial resources to achieve zero hunger; building alliances and ensuring participation of all interested actors.