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West Africa: Humanitarian Appeal

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Nov 16, 2004 (041116)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

The United Nations last week launched its humanitarian appeal for 2005, stressing "forgotten crises" and warning of the consequences of a global downturn in humanitarian funding. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland mentioned particularly Northern Uganda, because of the scale of the crisis, and Cote d'Ivoire, for which by this month the UN had received only 18% of its 2004 appeal.

Overall, the appeal for 2004 had received only 55% of the $3.4 billion in requested funding by this month. Next year's appeal, for $1.7 billion, does not include amounts requested for the Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Colombia. It also focuses more exclusively on "purely humanitarian" needs, limiting appeals for development and reconstruction needs that donors are more reluctant to fund. The shortfall also reflects a downturn in global humanitarian funding in 2004 of 50 percent as compared with 2003, noted Mr. Egeland.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the section of the 2005 appeal on West Africa, with a useful summary of recent developments in the region. Full information on the appeal is available on

For commentary on last year's humanitarian appeal, see "Humanitarian Double Standard"
( For detailed statistical updates on UN humanitarian appeals, see

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP):
Humanitarian Appeal 2005 for West Africa

November 11, 2004

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Palais des Nations 8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel.: (41 22) 917.1972 Fax: (41 22) 917.0368

1. Executive Summary

Having closely examined the overall human security situation in West Africa during a workshop held in August 2004 in Dakar, representatives from UN agencies, NGOs and donors concluded that the humanitarian and political trends in the region once again called for an inter-agency Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP).

Although progress towards peace and stability had recently been made in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, regional partners unanimously agreed that the overall human security in the region would remain fragile and could potentially deteriorate in 2005. It is anticipated that in the next 12 months, the humanitarian community will have to address three main challenges: (1) mitigating the immediate life-threatening consequences of both active and simmering civil conflicts in the sub-region; (2) preserving coping capacities and social cohesiveness in host communities directly or indirectly affected by complex emergencies; and, (3) managing the aftermath of the most severe locust invasion in 15 years that has affected almost the entire sub-region, which is mostly composed of countries at the very bottom of the Human Development Index (HDI).

The stalemate in the peace process in Cote d'Ivoire, the slow reintegration and reconstruction process in Liberia, the political tension and the social unrest in Guinea, the alleged dormant presence of Islamic fundamentalist groups in the Sahel and the uncertainty about the impact of the locust plague are all factors that could destabilize local communities or possibly trigger instability across the sub-region. The conflicts in the region have created a pattern of humanitarian needs that transcend national borders, and there are now a number of interdependent clusters of countries in crisis that serve as potential exporters of further instability. So far, the border areas in West Africa have not received sufficient attention to reverse the deterioration of living conditions among host communities and their unfortunate guests from neighbouring countries. As pointed out by the Security Council during its recent visit to West Africa, efforts to address the transnational character of the crises will not be successful unless effective regional solutions are found.

It is in this context that this year's CAP for West Africa focuses on transnational issues that affect the quality of the humanitarian environment in the sub-region. Projects submitted for 2005 include proposals to: provide protection and assistance to people that are forced to flee; expand the coping capacities of communities that welcome those in distress; strengthen national capacities to address cross-border health and diseases issues; mobilize humanitarian, political, social and security resources capable of protecting humanitarian space; preserve and restore peace by interacting with the political actors and assisting civil society networks; and, to establish coordination and response mechanisms capable of anticipating crises and alleviating human suffering in times of complex emergencies and natural disasters.

Consolidated Appeal for West Africa 2005
Summary of Requirements - by Sector

as of 19 October 2004

Compiled by OCHA on the basis of information provided by the respective appealing organisation.

Coordination and Support Services         4,795,447
Education                                   866,363
Food                                    125,094,945
Health                                   14,955,731
Protection/human Rights/rule of Law       6,346,023
Water and Sanitation                        221,590
Grand Total                             152,280,099

2. The Year in Review

2.1 Changes in the Humanitarian Situation

In 2004 the West Africa sub-region continued to experience the impact of various complex emergencies and natural disasters. While initial steps towards recovery took place in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire struggled with the implementation of the Linas Marcoussis Accord. Both peace processes proved fragile, and large populations continued to be displaced. Arms and combatants, as well as a number of epidemics including Human Immune-Deficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), moved swiftly across the region. Poor host communities that had experienced the erosion of their traditional coping mechanisms remained over-burdened by refugees and returning migrants, and already fragile basic social services were weakened by the additional demands from these population groups. In addition, locust swarms invaded Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Chad, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso, with detrimental consequences for food security in the region. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), this invasion is the worst since 1987-89, and experts are warning of famine unless the situation is not under control by November 2004. As a result of the current locust invasion, cropping and grassland areas of the Sahelian countries are infested, and damages to pasture cereals and vegetable crops are becoming widespread.

In Cote d'Ivoire the peace process went through an erratic path, with peaceful periods alternating with violent confrontations. This trend was reflected in the 25 March demonstration in Abidjan, which led to brutal acts of repression and the killings of some 120 civilians. Subsequently, seven political groups walked out from the Government, a development that halted the political dialogue in Cote d'Ivoire for five months. As a last attempt to reconcile the parties, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the President of the African Union and the Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organized an Extraordinary Summit in Accra on 29-30 July 2004. After extensive talks with Government representatives and reassurances from the international community, the rebel movement Forces Nouvelles (FN) and the four main opposition parties agreed to return to the government of national reconciliation, hence giving a new chance to the long-delayed process of disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation (DDR), which is now set to start by 15 October. However, the incapacity, or the unwillingness, of the parties to abide by the political commitments expressed in Accra III raises serious concerns for the coming months, and one cannot rule out the possibility of sporadic armed confrontations.

Liberia saw significant improvements in security, stability and access following the departure of Charles Taylor in 2003, the subsequent establishment of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on 1 October 2003, and the relatively successful implementation of the DDR programme. A Transitional National Government (TNG) was appointed in October 2003, under the leadership of Chairman Bryant, to steer the country towards elections in 2005. However, a climate of political instability and relative insecurity remains in certain areas of the country. The progressive deployment of UN peacekeeping forces has substantially increased access to vulnerable groups, hence allowing humanitarian actors to increase its efforts to meet the most critical needs. However, new challenges are emerging with the imminent return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs), ex-combatants and refugees. Rehabilitation, reintegration and reconstruction activities are therefore going to be central to the future stability of the country.

These positive developments in Liberia are somewhat tempered by the instability of the current political situation. Last August, disputes over the leadership within the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) triggered street violence in Monrovia, forcing the UN peacekeeping mission to respond forcefully and step up street patrols. Since the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) programme began in late 2003, approximately 80,000 combatants have been disarmed, but smaller groups of ex-fighters still require specific attention and tailored interventions. Rehabilitation and reintegration efforts are hampered by lack of funding, which could severely undermine the peace process.

Voluntary repatriation to Sierra Leone was completed in June, and the country is continuing its reconstruction efforts. The DDR process was relatively successful, with a few exceptions regarding the integration of female combatants. The Security Council requested the drawdown of UN Peace Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) on the basis that the national security forces now have the capacity and the competence to take over the responsibility for ensuring national security and territorial integrity, particularly along the border areas with Guinea and Liberia. Finally, the reintegration of former fighters will continue to pose challenges in a country with a fragile economy that offers few prospects for young and unemployed people.

Guinea has been plagued by recent political instability and economic fragility. In May 2004 the Prime Minister, Francois Larceny Fall, who had previously rallied the support of the international community and most of the political class, unexpectedly resigned and went into exile after two months in office. He later justified his actions in a letter addressed to the Head of State and the public, explaining that his attempts to address the political situation and foster economic reform had been stalled by close followers of President Lansana Cont‚.

This resignation occurred as Guinea was experiencing the first serious socio-economic impacts of the lack of dialogue with the international community and the drastic reduction of international aid that started two years ago. In the past year, living conditions have worsened, acute monetary instability has set in, and the prices of rice and fuel have increased. This situation has triggered violent attacks on commercial food convoys and warehouses, as well as streets demonstrations and strikes.

Numerous multilateral and bilateral attempts to resume dialogue with the Government and deter tensions in a country that is the cornerstone of regional stability have not yielded substantive results yet. The UN and the European Union are therefore contemplating specific measures such as rehabilitation projects and DDR programmes for the most unstable area of the country, Guinea ForestiŠre, which borders countries currently undergoing UN peacekeeping operations (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire).

In Guinea-Bissau the internal political situation seemed to have stabilized after former President Kumba Yala was overthrown in the coup of September 2003. During the legislative elections held in March, the majority of votes went to the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which fought for the independence of the country against Portugal. A National Assembly and a transitional Government have now been installed. In June, a report from the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) to the Security Council concluded that the democratisation process in Guinea-Bissau remained fragile and that ethnic imbalances within the military, unpaid salary arrears for security forces as well as the poor living conditions of former fighters and active militias continue to be potentially destabilising factors.

In Nigeria interethnic riots between Christian Tarok farmers and Muslim Fulani pastoralists resulted in the killing of approximately 600 people and the internal displacement of more than 57,000 individuals. The President of Nigeria requested assistance from the Secretary-General of the United Nations to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs deriving from this crisis, and OCHA was instrumental in coordinating assistance for IDPs. However, in view of the simmering ethno-religious tensions and the risks for natural and/or man-made disasters, the internal stability of the country remains of concern. Individuals that enjoyed more power during previous dictatorships may still hamper democratic progress.

Members of Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat (GSPC), a fundamentalist movement based in Algeria, were reported to have withdrawn into Northern Niger and Mali after Algerian authorities had taken measures to secure the southern part of Algeria, which is mostly composed by desert and is characterized by porous borders. The activities of the GPSC remain fluid and uncontrollable, hence generating concern that the group could find a favourable environment to entrench its radical and terrorist activities among nomadic populations that are hard hit by abject poverty and lack of economic opportunities. Furthermore, many ex-Tuareg fighters from the rebellion of 1991-1996 have not fully benefited from the DDR programmes of Mali and Niger. In response to these threats, the US initiated the Pan-Sahelian Initiative (PSI), which encompasses Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. However, recent confrontations in Gao (northern Mali) and three coups attempts in Mauritania over the last 12 months indicate that preserving stability in this part of the sub-region will depend significantly on effective conflict prevention measures.

Pursuant to its commitment to restore sub-regional stability, the Security Council undertook its second mission to West Africa in less than a year. Sir Emyr Jones Parry, former United Kingdom Ambassador to the Permanent Mission to the UN, headed the mission. Members of the Security Council that participated in this mission recognized the progress made in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but was also alarmed by other recurrent tensions in countries such as Cote d'Ivoire. Issues of concern to the mission included the collapse of local economies, the setbacks on economic integration and the unhindered movements of people and goods, the rise of criminal activities, the accelerated recruitment of child soldiers, and the growing number of women heading households despite having few income opportunities, which partly explains the rapid expansion of HIV/AIDS. The Security Council therefore recommended to United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to undertake a sub-regional consultation process to formulate and facilitate the implementation of mechanisms to contain the further contamination of this regional instability. For that purpose, UNOWA and OCHA are now working together to develop an integrated cross-border strategy that will pull together and put into action the knowledge, experience and capacity of Governments, UN agencies, NGOs, donors and civil society organizations. ...

2.2 Financial Overview

The West Africa Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 2004 originally appealed for US$ 120.76 million. Following the Mid-Year Review exercise, funding requirements were adjusted downward to US$ 108.4 million and finally consolidated at US$ 97.26 million. As of 15 October 2004, based on contributions reported to OCHA, the West Africa Appeal for 2004 raised US$ 71.8 million, or 73.2% of the funding required (see Annex I).

Whereas the West Africa CAP for 2004 seemed relatively well funded, it embedded a pronounced imbalance between sectors and agencies. Food assistance accounted for 95% of the total funding, with the World Food Programme (WFP) receiving 75.9% of its revised requirements. However, only US$ 3.8 million out of the additional US$ 8.9 million required for non-food projects were received, with almost all funding going to the sector for Coordination and Support Services (68%), in which OCHA covered 90% of its regional funding needs. Generally, life-sustaining projects received the vast majority of funding, while funds for prevention activities proved to be scarce.

Sectors such as Agriculture, Health and Protection/Human Rights/Rule of Law, which are key to conflict prevention and post-conflict mitigation, only received an un-earmarked contribution of US$ 650,000, which was split between three (3) projects presented by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The very low level of funding response for these sectors undermines the efforts of the humanitarian community to tackle the cross-border effects of complex emergencies. It also limits efforts to promote social cohesiveness between displaced populations and host communities, preserve a hospitable and positive asylum in the sub-region, and to strengthen prevention, preparedness and response mechanisms at the regional level.

2.3 Lessons Learned

In early August 2004, a Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) Workshop was held in Dakar with participants from UN Agencies, NGOs, inter-governmental organizations as well as donor countries active in the sub-region. The workshop reviewed the experience of the West Africa CAP for 2004 and marked the start of preparations for the 2005 CAP. Participants in the workshop reaffirmed the need for:

  1. Regional cooperation and regional approaches to address existing and emerging humanitarian needs in the region;
  2. The use of the CAP formulation process as a way to address the cross-border nature of humanitarian challenges highlighted in the analysis of the regional context; and,
  3. Efforts to ensure that projects are regional in nature, complementary to those undertaken in crisis countries, and tailored to address the hidden needs in non-crisis countries affected by complex emergencies.

Looking back at the strategic goals set forth in the West Africa CAP for 2004, it is clear that progress has been made in using the consolidated appeal to ensure appropriate food security needs and meet some of the basic strategic coordination objectives. However, much work remains in order to mobilize resources needed for:

  1. Developing a comprehensive sub-regional approach to protection, including appropriate actions for children, women, youth at risk, refugees, IDPs, third country nationals (TCNs), and returnees;
  2. Creating an environment conducive to sustainable peace in the sub-region;
  3. Reducing vulnerability to food insecurity;
  4. Establishing sustainable, effective and coordinated humanitarian responses for the sub-region that link transition, development and self-sufficiency;
  5. Developing coordination mechanisms and monitoring mechanisms that reflect roles and responsibilities of different actors.

Regarding the coordination of humanitarian action, participants at the workshop recognized that stronger inter-agency planning and response tools are needed at the sub-regional level. The workshop also highlighted the need for individual agencies and organizations to review their internal preparedness and response frameworks and to actively participate in joint efforts to ensure that regional issues are tackled in the most effective and efficient manner.

The establishment of the OCHA Regional Support Office for West Africa in Dakar was recognized as a positive step towards greater cohesiveness among humanitarian actors, because of the Office's role in establishing regular consultation mechanisms and offering facilities for stakeholders to rapidly meet and take preventive/corrective actions whenever a situation warrants it. Such inter-agency collaboration is reflected in the OCHA-led process that led to the formulation of a Regional Protection Strategy, which was later endorsed by all parties concerned with the enhancement of the protection of civilians.

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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