UN launches first regional fund to meet growing humanitarian needs in West and Central Africa

Following the approval of the very first pooled fund hosted at the regional level to stimulate humanitarian operations in West and Central Africa, OCHA launched the Niger envelope, starting with the release of $ 15 million.

The fund will initially prioritize Sahel countries, to help meet growing humanitarian needs in the region. In 2021, a record 29 million people in six countries – Burkina Faso, northern Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger and northeast Nigeria – are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The Pooled Fund hosted at the regional level will support the humanitarian response in countries by prioritizing urgent needs while promoting regional coordination and synergies to face the interdependent challenges of the Sahel. The fund expands the types of funding available, to help ensure that humanitarian partners can effectively deliver assistance in underserved places, access vulnerable populations most difficult to reach, and respond to new and emerging crises. “The Pooled Fund hosted at the regional level represents an opportunity to strengthen the coordination and coherence of humanitarian action in one of the most interconnected regions in the world. Analysis of regional trends and priorities will feed into the discussions of each country’s advisory board, and lessons learned and best practices will be shared among countries receiving funding envelopes. Cross-border initiatives will be supported, where and when it is relevant ”, declared Julie Bélanger, responsible for the OCHA Regional office for West and Central Africa.

A first envelope of 15 million dollars will be released for Niger. The country faces a complex humanitarian emergency where continued violence and insecurity is compounded by rampant poverty, population pressure and climate shocks. Armed conflicts in neighboring Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria continue to exacerbate instability and displacement in border areas and the spillover effects are strongly felt in cross-border regions of Niger.

As of July 19, 2021, the Humanitarian Response Plan for Niger was only 14% covered, with only $ 75 million received out of a total of $ 523 million required, being currently the most underfunded in the region. . This reflects the growing general funding gap in the Sahel, where funding levels are struggling to meet growing needs. In 2020, response plans in the region were funded at an average of 53%, and midway through 2021, only 21% of the required funding had been received.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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