News / Africa

FAO says Africa Drought Relief Should Plan for Long Term

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf (file photo)
FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf (file photo)

The response to the drought and hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa should include steps to prevent the humanitarian disaster from happening again. That is according to Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. FAO is hosting a meeting of officials and experts in Rome Thursday to identify areas of need and plan responses.

The United Nations is seeking about $2 billion in humanitarian relief for drought-stricken countries in the Horn of Africa. The short-term needs are for food and medicine - both for people, and the surviving livestock herders depend on for their livelihoods.

But in the long term, says FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, the fundamental issue is water. "Unless we control water in that region, we're bound to have similar situations, particularly in the face of climate change," said Diouf.

Diouf says only about one percent of the farmable land in the region is irrigated, compared to about four percent in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, and nearly forty percent in Asia.

Improving access to water for the region's livestock herders is another key goal.

Farmers also need fertilizer, better seeds and a way to store their crops in order to be more productive, and better access to markets to achieve financial security.

The needs are substantial. But Diouf says the Rome meeting is building on a solid foundation of previous work.

"We have the programmatic tools," he said. "We have the strategies. We have the projects. We have costed them. We have evaluated them. Some governments have started within their limited means to take action. And because they have taken action, they are better prepared now than they were before. But it's still not enough. We need to invest more."

That demand is directed, in part, to African governments. Most have pledged to commit 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture, but fewer than a dozen have followed through.

Diouf says international donors need to do more, too. He notes that in 2000, a UN task force drew up a long-term strategy to end hunger in the Horn of Africa.

"Unfortunately, the follow-up action to mobilize the resources did not result in concrete action, and here we are again," said Diouf.

The problems go beyond natural and financial resources, however. The FAO chief acknowledges that civil conflicts have hampered development efforts in the region as well.

"Well, first, naturally, we have to do it where there is no civil war, as is the case in Somalia," he said.

The Rome conference will not end the civil war. But Diouf notes there are eight countries in the region threatened with chronic food insecurity. Investments now, he says, can help prevent another crisis later.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid