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    Source: Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Country: Nigeria

    Nutrition and food distribution programmes have helped, but the situation remains "extremely fragile"

    • Huge number of civilians beyond reach of aid workers

    • Civilians report violence by Boko Haram and army, MSF says

    • "They are completely cut off from their livelihoods"

    By Stephanie Nebehay

    GENEVA, March 10 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of people in northeastern Nigeria remain beyond the reach of aid, trapped between Boko Haram Islamist insurgents and counter-insurgency operations that have left many without food or work, Doctors Without Borders said.

    Read more on the Thomson Reuters Foundation


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    Source: African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, Conciliation Resources
    Country: Nigeria

    Overview

    Pastoralist livelihoods support millions of Nigerians and form an important part of the rural economy and society. There are different types of pastoralism in Nigeria ranging from nomadic to semi-settled and settled agro-pastoralism. This report looks at transhumant (or nomadic) pastoralism – the movement of livestock from one place to another between wet and dry seasons – and the dynamics of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists, which have steadily increased in Nigeria in recent years.

    While these two essential components of rural society have enjoyed cooperative relationships in many parts of the country, such coexistence is now strained or has broken down in many communities. The pattern and scale of farmer-pastoralist conflicts varies across Nigeria, and in some places the two groups do still accommodate each other. But in many states clashes have intensified – killing and destruction have reached unprecedented levels in major flashpoint centres in northern and central Nigeria, and tensions have now extended to the south. How such tensions are categorised – in particular perceptions of why violence happens and who is responsible – affects how responses are designed and implemented. Pastoralists lack meaningful political representation or support at federal and state levels. Rural areas are generally lightly governed, and heavy dependence on the oil economy has led to the neglect and subsequent decline of the agricultural sector. The prominence of pastoralism as a political issue has grown alongside rising levels of pastoralist-farmer violence. In particular, the politicisation of ethnic and religious divides in Nigeria, the intersection of rural violence with other forms of insecurity including urban riots, and the incorrect links made with Boko Haram activity in the north-east, have intensified the security and political profile of Fulani pastoralists. There is an urgent need to clarify contemporary dimensions of pastoralist farmer conflicts, and to identify ways to de-escalate this type of violence and prevent spill over into other forms of conflict.

    This report outlines the causes of increased pastoralist-farmer tensions as well as the position of pastoralists in Nigeria. It explores the challenges to developing conflict prevention mechanisms at local and national levels, and identifies potential entry points for doing so. The report is primarily based on fieldwork conducted among pastoralists and farmers in Plateau, Kaduna and Nasarawa States in November and December 2016, and on individual meetings in Abuja with government officials and civil society representatives. The analysis also utilises data and insights from Zamfara State in January 2017 and from earlier fieldwork carried out in Plateau and Bauchi States since 2005, and Borno, Adamawa, and Taraba States in 2015–16. In addition, it draws on workshop discussions held by Conciliation Resources in Abuja in 2016 with representatives of government ministries, civil society organisations and relevant interest groups from across Nigeria.


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Mali

    Note de présentation
    Contexte et source de données

    Suite à l’Accord de paix signé en mai et juin 2015 entre le Gouvernement du Mali et les Mouvements Signataires, la Banque Mondiale a effectué en août et septembre 2015 une enquête d’évaluation des besoins et des difficultés des populations dans les trois régions du Nord. Cette enquête donnait aussi des renseignements sur les priorités et perceptions des populations.

    L’enquête avait pour but principal de fournir des informations à la Mission d’Evaluation Conjointe (MIEC) au Nord du Mali. En son article 36, l’Accord de paix stipule que la Banque Mondiale, la Banque Africaine de Développement et la Banque Islamique de Développement doivent conduire cette mission, dont l’objectif est de procéder à l’identification des besoins en matière de relèvement rapide, de réduction de la pauvreté et de développement des trois régions du Nord.

    Le Suivi Permanent dont sont issues des communications périodiques fait suite à cette enquête d’évaluation et collecte des données depuis janvier 2016 à une fréquence mensuelle auprès des ménages, des autorités locales, des directeurs d’écoles, des directeurs des centres de santé, ainsi que dans les marchés pour suivre le niveau de prix des principaux produits de consommation. Ce dispositif est utilisé pour évaluer l'impact des projets d’aide sur les activités économiques et la sécurité au Nord du Mali. Il a pour ambition d’être un observatoire des actions de relèvement et de développement au Nord.

    Utilisation prévue du Suivi Permanent

    Pour exploiter au mieux la grande masse des données collectées par le Suivi Permanent et en faire bénéficier tous les acteurs impliqués au Nord, il est prévu de publier régulièrement des communications thématiques. Ces communications, synthétiques et permettant une lecture aisée de la situation au Nord, donnent un éclairage approfondi sur un thème précis. Le présent document en constitue le douzième numéro. Parallèlement, des rapports trimestriels plus exhaustifs sont diffusés sur le suivi permanent. Les données collectées dans la cadre du Suivi Permanent sont disponibles sur www.gisse.org.

    Avertissement

    Le Suivi Permanent fournit une image factuelle de la réalité sur le terrain, mais ne procède pas à une analyse contextuelle. Il n’émet donc aucun jugement de valeur sur les résultats, sur l’atteinte des objectifs de tel projet humanitaire, de tel programme de développement, ou de l’action globale du Gouvernement et de ses partenaires au développement.

    Le lecteur pourrait cependant mettre en relation les résultats présentés par le Suivi Permanent avec les indicateurs sectoriels d’avant-crise, ceux atteints dans les autres régions du Mali, ainsi que les objectifs à court, moyen et long terme visés par le Gouvernement et ses partenaires au développement. Seule cette analyse, qui dépasse le cadre du suivi permanent, permettrait de tirer des conclusions quant à la réussite des actions menées au Nord du Mali.

    Focus sur la possession des comptes dans une institution financière et le taux de pénétration d’orange money

    Les populations du Nord Mali possèdent plus de comptes d’orange money au détriment des comptes dans une institution financière.

    Le taux d’utilisation des institutions financières n’a pas significativement changé entre septembre 2015 et octobre 2016.

    Le climat d’insécurité qui a suivi le conflit de 2012 au Nord Mali a eu pour conséquence la fermeture de plusieurs institutions financières dans la Nord.
    Le rapport de la Banque Mondiale sur l’ évaluation de la situation socio-économique des populations du Nord Mali et leurs priorités de janvier 2016 montre que le pourcentage de villages et quartiers du Nord où il existe une banque, une microfinance ou une autre institution financière est passé de 49% avant la crise à 26% en septembre 2015. À cette date, on comptait au moins quatre institutions financières à Kidal et au moins trois à Tombouctou qui existaient officiellement, mais ne fonctionnaient pas. Par conséquent, le pourcentage de ménages dont un membre utilise une banque ou une microfinance était très faible en septembre 2015 et se situait respectivement à 15% à Gao, 4% à Kidal et 11% à Tombouctou. Un an plus tard, soit en octobre 2016, la situation n’a pas significativement changé malgré une hausse d’utilisation à Gao et Kidal. Dans ces deux régions, le pourcentage de ménages dont un membre possède un compte dans une institution financière se situait à seulement 22% et 12% en octobre 2016. Ce pourcentage n’a pas changé à Tombouctou. ( extrait )


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    Source: Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, World

    Welcome to the March issue of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project’s (ACLED) Conflict Trends report. Each month, ACLED researchers gather, analyse and publish data on political violence in Africa in realtime. Weekly updates to realtime conflict event data are published on the ACLED website.

    This month’s issue focuses on President el-Sisi’s securitisation of Egypt to remove the opportunity for protest, union-led protests in Guinea, a decrease in political violence in Ivory Coast following mutiny in January, increasing xenophobic violence & riots and protests across South Africa, a review of conflict dynamics in South Sudan after violence re-erupted between the government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLA-IO) in July 2016. A Special Report focuses on insecurity in the Liptako-Gourma region.

    Elsewhere on the continent, overall violence declined in Ethiopia but battles between Oromia militias and regional Somali police forces escalated, high protest rates continued in Algeria, and violence against civilians remained above the continental six-month average in Burundi, DR-Congo, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan & South Sudan.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger


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    Source: Catholic Relief Services, US Agency for International Development
    Country: Mali

    I. INTRODUCTION
    A. CONTEXTE

    Dans le cadre de la mise en oeuvre de son projet d'urgence "KISLI", dont l'objectif est d'assister le communautés affectées par la sécheresse, les innodations et les conflits, CRS en collaboration avec son résau de parternaires prend des initiatives concertées pour apporter une assistance vitale aux populations affectées par les situations de crise. C'est dans ce cadre qu'à la suite de la réception d'une alerte liée à un mouvement de population suite à des affrontements entre groupes armés belligérants survenus dans la localité de MARSY dans la communde de N'TILIT, Cercle de Gao, dans la région du même nom le 01er décembre 2016 que CRS a conduit avec son parternaire Local, l'ONG TASSGHT une évaluation rapide des besoins pour 196 méanages suivi d'une réponse en cash inconditionnel enten articles non alimentaires domestiques et abris, et ce dans les sites d'accueil de Doreye, Tinanou et Oussadja.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    169.9 M required for 2017

    4.4 M contributions received, representing 3% of requirements

    165.5 M funding gap for the Nigeria Situation

    All figures are displayed in USD


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    Source: Government of the Republic of Mali
    Country: Mali

    Faits saillants de la semaine

    Par rapport à la semaine écoulée, les quantités de céréales sèches vendues par les producteurs ont continué de fléchir. Ainsi, elles sont passées de 1.599 tonnes la semaine dernière à 1.316 tonnes cette semaine, soit une baisse de -18%. La baisse des quantités de céréales sèches vendues par les producteurs s’explique, non seulement, par la baisse saisonnière des quantités vendues après le paiement des dettes contractées pour la campagne agricole, mais aussi, par un certain nombre de facteurs qui sont entre autres : la gestion parcimonieuse des stocks au niveau des producteur, la tendance des producteurs à vendre les produits maraîchers dans certaines localités (Bla, etc.) et l’insécurité régnant dans le centre du pays, notamment la région de Ségou. Les 1.316 tonnes de céréales sèches vendues par les producteurs sont composées de 674 tonnes de mil, 331 tonnes de sorgho et 311 tonnes de maïs.

    Les quantités de riz local vendues par les exploitants sur les marchés ruraux de la zone de l’Office du Niger ont connu une augmentation. Par contre, les quantités de riz local, achetées et transférées des zones de l’Office du Niger pour les autres localités du pays, ont subi une régression. En effet, celles-ci sont passées de 2.485 tonnes la semaine dernière à 1.986 tonnes cette semaine, soit une baisse de - 20%. Cette diminution des quantités de riz local en provenance des zones de l’Office du Niger s’explique essentiellement par une baisse des expéditions causées par la recrudescence de l’insécurité dans cette zone de production rizicole. Cette situation a fait baisser les quantités expédiées dans les grands centres de consommation notamment le District de Bamako. En effet au cours de la semaine, les 1.986 tonnes de riz local en provenance des zones de l’Office du Niger ont été destinées aux centres de consommation suivants : Bamako (1.263 tonnes, soit une baisse de - 38% par rapport à la semaine passée), Fana (26 tonnes, soit -73%), Sikasso (130 tonnes, soit -36%),
    Koutiala (45 tonnes, soit -48% par rapport à la semaine dernière) et Koulikoro (70 tonnes). Il y a eu également 75 tonnes de paddy en destination de Ségou, 40 tonnes en destination de Koulikoro et 60 tonnes en destination du District de Bamako.

    Durant cette semaine, la baisse des quantités de céréales sèches s’est accompagnée d’une hausse de la demande sur les marchés ruraux. Ainsi, les prix moyens pondérés au producteur des céréales de cette semaine sont majoritairement à la hausse. Pour ce qui concerne les prix moyens au consommateur, c’est une stabilité émaillée de quelqueslégères fluctuations, qui les caractérise.

    Les offres sur les marchés reposent essentiellement sur la production locale aussi bien pour les céréales sèches que pour le riz. Parallèlement, le riz importé du marché international et le riz réexporté des pays côtiers se retrouvent sur les marchés à côté des productions locales, qui représentent l’essentiel de l’offre globale.

    La demande actuelle est constituée des demandes internes de consommation, des achats des commerçants en vue de se positionner pour la reconstitution du stock national de sécurité et des autres achats institutionnels et des achats des commerçants des pays de la sous-région.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

    10 March 2017

    Checked against delivery

    Mr. President, Council members,

    Thank you for inviting me to brief on my visits to countries facing famine or at risk of famine: Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. I will also briefly mention the outcomes of the Oslo Conference on the Lake Chad Basin.

    I need to mention that I also visited Northern Kenya where pastoralists are worst affected by the terrible drought. Over 2.7 million Kenyans are now food insecure, a number likely to reach 4 million by April. In collaboration with the Government, the UN will soon launch an appeal of $200 million to provide timely life-saving assistance and protection. For what follows however, I will focus on my other visits over the past 16 days.

    Mr. President,

    I turn first to Yemen. It’s already the largest humanitarian crisis in the world and the Yemeni people now face the spectre of famine. Today, two-thirds of the population – 18.8 million people – need assistance and more than 7 million are hungry and do not know where there next meal will come from. That is 3 million people more than in January. As fighting continues and escalates, displacement increases. With health facilities destroyed and damaged, diseases are sweeping through the country.

    I spoke with people in Aden, Ibb, Sana’a and from Taizz. They told me horrific stories of displacement, escaping unspeakable violence and destruction from Mokha and Taizz city in Taizz governorate. I saw first-hand the effects of losing home and livelihood: malnourishment, hunger and squalid living conditions in destroyed schools, unfinished apartments and wet, concrete basements. In the past two months alone, more than 48,000 people fled fighting, mines and IEDs from Mokha town and the surrounding fields alone. I met countless children, malnourished and sick. My small team met a girl displaced to Ibb, still having shrapnel wounds in her legs while her brother was deeply traumatized. I was introduced to a 13-year-old girl who fled from Taizz city, left in charge of her seven siblings. I spoke with families who have become displaced to Aden as their homes were destroyed by airstrikes living in a destroyed school. All of them told me three things: they are hungry and sick – and they need peace so that they can return home.

    I travelled to Aden on the first humanitarian UN flight, where I met the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Yemen. I also met with the senior leadership of the Houthi and General People’s Congress authorities in Sana’a. I discussed the humanitarian situation, the need to prevent a famine and to better respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians. I demanded full, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access. All counterparts promised to facilitate sustained access and respect international humanitarian law. Yet all parties to the conflict are arbitrarily denying sustained humanitarian access and politicize aid. Already, the humanitarian suffering that we see in Yemen today is caused by the parties and proxies and if they don’t change their behaviour now, they must be held accountable for the inevitable famine, unnecessary deaths and associated amplification in suffering that will follow.

    Despite the almost impossible and terrifying conditions, the UN and humanitarian partners are not deterred and are stepping up to meet the humanitarian needs across the country. In February alone, 4.9 million people received food assistance. We continue to negotiate access and make modest gains. For instance, despite assurances from all parties of safe passage to Taizz city, I was denied access and retreated to a short safe distance when I and my team came under gunfire. Yet, we managed to use this experience to clear the path for reaching people inside Taizz city with a first humanitarian truck delivery of eight tons of essential medicine on the Ibb to Taizz city road since August 2016. We will not leave a stone unturned to find alternative routes. We must prevail as so many lives depend on us, the full range of the humanitarian family.

    For 2017, the humanitarian community requires US$ 2.1 billion to reach 12 million people with life-saving assistance and protection in Yemen. Only 6 per cent of that funding has been received thus far. An international ministerial-level pledging event is scheduled for 25 April, but the situation is so dire that I ask donors to give urgently now. All contributions and pledges since 1 January will be counted at the event.

    I continue to reiterate the same message to all: it is only a political solution that will ultimately end human suffering and bring stability to the region. And at this stage, only a combined response with the private sector can stem a famine: commercial imports must be allowed to resume through all entry points in Yemen, including and especially Hudaydah port, which must be kept open and expanded. With access and funding, humanitarians will do more, but we are not the long-term solution to this growing crisis.

    I am pleased as I said to confirm that a ministerial-level pledging event for the humanitarian response in Yemen for 2017 will take place in Geneva on 25 April. The Secretary-General will chair the event, co-hosted by the Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Switzerland, to advocate for more resources and access. For 2017, as mentioned, the Yemen humanitarian response plan asks for US $2.1 billion to assist 12 million people in need across all 22 governorates.

    Mr. President,

    Turning to South Sudan which I visited on 4 and 5 March. The situation is worse than it has ever been. The famine in South Sudan is man-made. Parties to the conflict are parties to the famine – as are those not intervening to make the violence stop.

    More than 7.5 million people need assistance, up by 1.4 million from last year. About 3.4 million people are displaced, of which almost 200,000 have fled South Sudan since January alone. A localized famine was declared for Leer and Mayendit [counties] on 20 February, an area where violence and insecurity have compromised humanitarian access for years. More than one million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished across the country; including 270,000 children who face the imminent risk of death should they not be reached in time with assistance. Meanwhile, the cholera outbreak that began in June 2016 has spread to more locations.

    I travelled to Ganyiel in Unity state where people have fled from the horrors of famine and conflict. I saw the impact humanitarians can have to alleviate suffering. I met an elderly woman with her malnourished grandson receiving treatment. I listened to women who fled fighting with their children through waist-high swamps to receive food and medicine. Some of these women have experienced the most appalling acts of sexual violence – which continues to be used as a weapon of war. Their harrowing stories are only a few among thousands who have suffered a similar fate across the country.

    Humanitarians are delivering. Last year, partners reached more than 5.1 million people with assistance. However, active hostilities, access denials and bureaucratic impediments continue to curtail their efforts to reach people who desperately need help. Aid workers have been killed; humanitarian compounds and supplies have been attacked, looted, and occupied by armed actors. Recently, humanitarians had to leave one of the famine-affected counties because of fighting. Assurances by senior Government officials of unconditional access and no bureaucratic impediments now need to be turned into action on the ground.

    Mr. President,

    In Somalia, more than half the population – 6.2 million people – need humanitarian and protection assistance, including 2.9 million who are at risk of famine and require immediate assistance to save or sustain their lives, close to 1 million children under the age of 5 will be acutely malnourished this year. In the last two months alone, nearly 160,000 people have been displaced due to severe drought conditions, adding to the already 1.1 million people who live in appalling conditions around the country.

    What I saw and heard during my visit to Somalia was distressing – women and children walk for weeks in search of food and water. They have lost their livestock, water sources have dried up and they have nothing left to survive on. With everything lost, women, boys, girls and men now move to urban centres.

    With the Secretary-General – his first field mission since he took office – we visited Baidoa. We met with displaced people going through ordeals none of us can imagine. We visited the regional hospital where children and adults are desperately fighting to survive diarrhoea, cholera and malnutrition. Again, as if proof was needed, it was clear that between malnutrition and death there is disease.

    Large parts of southern and central Somalia remain under the control or influence of Al-Shabaab and the security situation is volatile. Last year, some 165 violent incidents – an 18 per cent increase compared to 2015 – directly impacted humanitarian work and resulted in 14 deaths of aid workers. Al-Shabaab, Government Forces and other militia also continue to block major supply routes to towns in 29 of the 42 districts in southern and central Somalia. This has restricted access to markets, basic commodities and services, and is severely disrupting livelihoods. Blockades and double taxation bar farmers from transporting their grains. It is critical that AMISOM and Somali forces secure vital road access to enable both lifesaving aid and longer term recovery. A lot of hope is placed in the new Government.

    The current indicators mirror the tragic picture of 2011, when Somalia last suffered a famine. It is important to add that when the famine was called at that time 260,000 had already died, this will be important in what I am about to tell you. However, humanitarian partners now have a larger footprint, mature cash programming, better data through assessments, better controls on resources and vetting of partners, as well as stronger partnership with government authorities. The Government recently declared the drought a national disaster and is taking steps to work with humanitarian partners to ensure a coordinated response. To be clear, we can avert a famine, we have a committed clear new President, a humanitarian and resilience track record, a detailed plan, we’re ready despite incredible risk and danger, we have local and international leadership, we have a lot of access, now we need the international community, at the scale of you the donor agencies and nations, to invest in Somalia, its life-saving – but we need those huge funds now.

    For all three crises and North-Eastern Nigeria, an immediate injection of funds plus safe and unimpeded access are required to enable partners to avert a catastrophe; otherwise, many people will predictably die from hunger, livelihoods will be lost, and political gains that have been hard-won over the last few years will be reversed. To be precise we need $4.4 billion by July, and that’s a detailed cost, not a negotiating number.

    Mr. President,

    Before I visited all these countries, I was in Oslo, where the governments of Norway, Germany and Nigeria, in partnership with the United Nations, organized a humanitarian conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. 10.7 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection, including 7.1 million people who are severely food insecure. Humanitarian partners scaled up their response to reach the most vulnerable groups threatened by violence, food insecurity and famine, particularly in North-Eastern Nigeria.

    Fourteen donors pledged a total of US$672 million, of which $458 million is for humanitarian action in 2017. This is very good news, and I commend those who made such generous pledges. More is needed however to receive the $1.5 billion required to provide the assistance needed across the Lake Chad region.

    Mr. President,

    We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations. Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease. Children stunted and out of school. Livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost. Communities’ resilience rapidly wilting away. Development gains reversed. Many will be displaced and will continue to move in search for survival, creating ever more instability across entire regions. The warning call and appeal for action by the Secretary-General can thus not be understated. It was right to take the risk and sound the alarm early, not wait for the pictures of emaciated dying children or the world’s TV screens to mobilise a reaction and the funds.

    The UN and humanitarian partners are responding. We have strategic, coordinated and prioritised plans in every country. We have the right leadership and heroic, dedicated teams on the ground. We are working hand-in-hand with development partners to marry the immediate life-saving with longer term sustainable development. We are ready to scale up. This is frankly not the time to ask for more detail or use that postponing phrase, what would you prioritize? Every life on the edge of famine and death is equally worth saving.

    Now we need the international community and this Council to act:

    First and foremost, act quickly to tackle the precipitating factors of famine. Preserving and restoring normal access to food and ensuring all parties' compliance with international humanitarian law are key.

    Second, with sufficient and timely financial support, humanitarians can still help to prevent the worst-case scenario. To do this, humanitarians require safe, full and unimpeded access to people in need. Parties to the conflict must respect this fundamental tenet of IHL and those with influence over the parties must exert that influence now.

    Third, stop the fighting. To continue on the path of war and military conquest is – I think we all know – to guarantee failure, humiliation and moral turpitude, and will bear the responsibility for the millions who face hunger and deprivation on an incalculable scale because of it.

    Mr. President,

    Allow me to very briefly sum up. The situation for people in each country is dire and without a major international response, the situation will get worse. All four countries have one thing in common: conflict. This means we – you – have the possibility to prevent – and end – further misery and suffering. The UN and its partners are ready to scale up. But we need the access and the funds to do more. It is all preventable. It is possible to avert this crisis, to avert these famines, to avert these looming human catastrophes.

    Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

    SC/12748

    Security Council
    7897th Meeting (AM)

    Twenty million people across four countries faced starvation and famine if the international community did not act quickly, the United Nations humanitarian chief warned the Security Council today, expressing alarm at the funding gap to meet the needs in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria.

    Briefing the Council on his recent trips to all four countries, Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien recalled harrowing stories he heard from women and children fleeing fighting through waist-high swamps and rummaging the streets for something to eat.

    “Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death,” he warned, stressing that the situation had deteriorated in all four countries amid environments of increased fighting, displacements, drought and attacks on schools and medical facilities. Attacks on humanitarians had also significantly hindered the delivery of much-needed supplies.

    The situation in Yemen, which constituted the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, was particularly grim, he continued. Two thirds of the population — 18.8 million people — needed assistance and more than 7 million did not know where their next meal would come from. The country depended heavily on imports, but hostilities had damaged and destroyed infrastructure. Closure of the capital’s airport only worsened the situation. With $2.1 billion needed to reach 12 million people with life-saving aid, he voiced serious concern that only 6 per cent of that had been received thus far and urged Member States and donors to meet the target.

    In South Sudan, more than 7.5 million people needed aid, up by 1.4 million from last year, he continued. Continued fighting had displaced some 3.4 million people and more than 1 million children were estimated to be acutely malnourished across the country. That included 270,000 children who faced the imminent risk of death if they were not reached in time.

    In Somalia, more than half of the population — 6.2 million people — required humanitarian and protection assistance, he said. Some 2.9 million people were at risk of famine. In the last two months alone, nearly 160,000 people had been displaced due to severe drought conditions, adding to the already 1.1 million people who lived in appalling conditions around the country. Large parts of southern and central Somalia remained under the control or influence of Al-Shabaab. The security situation remained volatile.

    Humanitarian partners had also scaled up their response to reach the most vulnerable in the Lake Chad region, particularly in north-east Nigeria. While donors had pledged millions, $1.5 billion was needed to provide aid across the Lake Chad region. “The warning call could not be understated,” Mr. O’Brien said. “Every life on the edge of famine and death was equally worth saving.”

    In the ensuing discussion, Council members expressed serious concern over the deep insecurity faced by millions with the delegate from the United States saying that every member of the Security Council should be outraged that the world was confronting famine in the year 2017. She said that famine was a man-made problem with a man-made solution. In South Sudan, for example, responsibility lay squarely with the country’s leaders who continued to fight a senseless conflict while 5.5 million people faced severe hunger.

    Members reiterated that the only solution to crises in those countries was a political one, and urged all parties to stop fighting and return to peace talks. The representative of Egypt, voicing concern about the current drought and famine threatening Somalia, pointed out that the “common denominator” in each of the countries was ongoing political crises. In regards to Somalia, regional efforts to combat that crisis would help ensure the delivery of aid.

    Several speakers urged the need to address the funding gap to meet the humanitarian needs, with the representative of the United Kingdom urging Member States to “match our messages with our money”. More than 20 million people — nearly the entire population of Australia — risked starving to death in the coming months.

    The representative of Senegal said that the looming famine in the Lake Chad Basin sub-region, as well as Somalia, could be averted if international partners acted quickly to end the proliferation of terrorist groups. Ukraine’s delegate echoed that sentiment, expressing concern over the sophistication of attacks carried out by Houthi-Saleh forces. Blocking weapons shipments to the forces in Yemen was essential to prevent further escalation of the conflict, he added.

    Sweden’s representative deemed attacks on aid workers “totally unacceptable” and urged all parties from South Sudan to Yemen to allow humanitarians unimpeded access to civilians.

    Also speaking today were the representatives of Russian Federation, France, Uruguay, Japan, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Italy, China and Ethiopia.

    The meeting begain at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 4:32 p.m.

    Briefing

    STEPHEN O’BRIEN, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefed the Council on his visits to countries facing famine or at risk of famine namely, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. Having also visited north Kenya, where pastoralists were affected by the terrible drought, he said that over 2.7 million Kenyans were now food insecure, a number likely to reach 4 million by April. The United Nations would launch an appeal of $200 million to provide timely life-saving assistance.

    Moving on to Yemen, he said that it remained the largest humanitarian crisis in the world and warned that the Yemeni people now faced the spectre of famine. Some two thirds of the population or 18.8 million people were in need of assistance and more than 7 million were hungry and did not know where their next meal would come from. The number of hungry was now 3 million more than in January. Displacement continued to increase. Health facilities were being destroyed and damaged and disease was sweeping throughout the country.

    He recalled meeting with people in Aden, Ibb, Sana’a and from Taizz. “My small team met a girl displaced to Ibb, still having shrapnel wounds in her legs while her brother was deeply traumatized,” he told Council members. In Aden, he met with Yemen’s President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. In Sana’a, he met with senior leadership of the Houthi and General People’s Congress authorities. He discussed with them the need to prevent a famine and urged them to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians. While all parties promised to facilitate sustained access and respect international humanitarian law, they continued to arbitrarily deny access and to politicize aid. Despite the almost impossible conditions, United Nations relief staff continued to step up to meet the humanitarian needs across the country. “We will not leave a stone unturned to find alternative routes,” he said. “We must prevail as so many lives depend on us.”

    For 2017, the humanitarian community required $2.1 billion to reach 12 million people with life-saving aid, he continued, expressing concern that only 6 per cent of that had been received thus far. Only a political solution would ultimately end human suffering. At the current stage, only a combined response with the private sector could stem a famine. “With access and funding, humanitarians will do more, but we are not the long-term solution to this growing crisis,” he said. A pledging event for the humanitarian response in Yemen for 2017 would take place in Geneva on 25 April, he confirmed.

    On South Sudan, he said that more than 7.5 million people needed aid, up by 1.4 million from last year. Around 3.4 million people were displaced. More than 1 million children were estimated to be acutely malnourished across the country; including 270,000 children who faced the imminent risk of death if they were not reached in time. Having travelled to South Sudan, Mr. O’Brien recalled meeting with women who fled fighting with their children through waist-high swamps to receive food and medicine. Some of those women had experienced the most appalling acts of sexual violence. Active hostilities continued to curtail humanitarian efforts. Aid workers had been killed and their compounds attacked.

    In Somalia, more than half of the population — 6.2 million people — required humanitarian and protection assistance, including 2.9 million people at risk of famine, he said. In the last two months alone, nearly 160,000 people had been displaced due to severe drought conditions, adding to the already 1.1 million people who lived in appalling conditions around the country. Large parts of southern and central Somalia remained under the control or influence of Al-Shabaab and the security situation remained volatile. The Government had recently declared the drought a national disaster and was taking steps to work with humanitarian partners to coordinate a response. “To be clear, we can avert a famine,” he said.

    For all three countries and north-east Nigeria, $4.4 billion by July was critical, he said. Humanitarian partners had also scaled up their response to reach the most vulnerable in the Lake Chad region, particularly in north-east Nigeria. While donors had pledged millions, more was needed to receive the $1.5 billion required to provide the assistance needed across the Lake Chad region. More than 20 million people across four countries faced starvation and famine and without collective global efforts, people would simply starve to death. More would suffer and die from disease. The warning call could not be understated. It was not the time to ask for more detail. Every life on the edge of famine and death was equally worth saving, he said

    Statements

    VLADIMIR SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation) said that, in calling for today’s meeting, his delegation had been motivated by the need to receive first-hand information about what was taking place in Yemen. That country was on the verge of famine, its civilian infrastructure lay in ruins and many businesses and other buildings had been destroyed. Calling on all partners to set aside efforts to find a military solution to the conflict— which could only deepen mistrust between the parties — he said peace would only be achieved through political negotiations based on a balanced road map. The Russian Federation continued to work with all sides of the conflict through its embassy, urging them to refrain from unilateral actions that would interfere with the negotiation process. Across the region, terrorists and extremist groups were the only winners of the present conflicts, and the international community should already have learned that postponing efforts to combat such groups would only lead to more havoc, he said.

    FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said United Nations efforts, as essential as they were, could never replace the primary responsibility of Governments to protect their populations. In South Sudan, the recent declaration of famine reflected the chaos that had been raging for three years. Both there and in Yemen, the United Nations and other humanitarian actors must be able to reach all people needing help, he said, noting that hindrances resulting from those countries’ respective conflicts were multiplying by the day. Governments must also avoid imposing bureaucratic obstacles to aid delivery, as was particularly evident in South Sudan. Calling on the Council to immediately and unanimously condemn such actions, he said the parties to Yemen’s conflict must immediately cease their attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, which might qualify as war crimes. Given the scale of the financial assistance required by the four countries, he expressed support for a global approach to mobilize all goodwill, including from private and non-traditional donors.

    ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) stressed that improving the humanitarian situations in each of the four countries being discussed today required political solutions to their respective conflicts. To those ends, Member States in a position to do so should exert their influence on the conflict parties. The unprecedented, indiscriminate recent attacks against hospitals, schools and civilian infrastructure must also end.

    MICHELE SISON (United States) said that the United Nations was warning the Council that 20 million people were starving in Yemen, Somalia and the Lake Chad Basin. Every member of the Security Council should be outraged that the world was confronting famine in the year 2017. Famine was a man-made problem with a man-made solution. Preventing famine meant that the parties fighting on the ground had to prioritize access to civilians. They must allow unfettered access and not obstruct aid, she stressed. The humanitarian appeal was just 6 per cent funded. The stakes in Yemen were the highest. Some 7.3 million people emergency food aid. Yemen was overwhelmingly dependent on imports for its food supply. It was critical to renew the cessation of hostilities and bring all parties back to the negotiating table. However, while the conflict continued, all parties must allow unfettered food deliveries, she said, adding that the closure of Sana’a airport had worsened the situation.

    In South Sudan, responsibility lay squarely on the country’s leaders who continued to fight a senseless conflict while 5.5 million people faced severe hunger, she continued. Noting reports that the South Sudan Government was expelling humanitarian aid workers from food insecurity areas, she described how civilians were suffering in their search for the basic necessities. In Somalia, following several poor rainy seasons, the country faced drought and famine. Lack of funding was the primary obstacle in saving lives. As the Council had recently seen on the ground, it was a daunting challenge to address food insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin as the region’s military resources were focused on combating Boko Haram. To save people from starving to death, humanitarian workers must be able to deliver food and aid to millions. “Starvation is preventable but only if we have the will to act,” she said.

    KORO BESSHO (Japan) expressed concern over Yemen’s persisting food insecurity and malnutrition. Ongoing fighting continued to decrease the volume of commercial imports to Yemen, which had already struggled with food production. The fighting deepened the economic crisis, delayed the payment of salaries, and made it difficult for ordinary people to buy basic necessities. The fighting also prevented the United Nations and other humanitarian actors from delivering assistance. Expressing concern over reports that Hodeidah would become the next battlefield after Mocha, he warned that, if the Hodeidah Port was severely damaged, economic and food insecurity would worsen. He urged all parties to listen to the voices of the Yemeni people in seeking a ceasefire.

    Almost a year had passed since the United Nations envoy to Yemen announced a nation-wide cessation of hostilities, he said, expressing frustration at the slow progress in the political process and the worsening fighting. The Council should consider delivering a strong unified message to the parties, supporting the mediation efforts and urging all sides to cease hostilities and allow unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access. On South Sudan, he said Japan had pledged some $22.4 million to United Nations humanitarian efforts. He urged President Kiir to honour his commitment to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access. Regarding Somalia, he warned that progress in the Somali state-formation process could be jeopardized. Japan had also pledged funds to humanitarian efforts there.

    OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said emergency funding had to be scaled up so that the United Nations system and its partners could deliver life-saving aid to people in need. Humanitarian access remained critical, he added, calling on all parties to meet their obligations under humanitarian law. Only political solutions could guarantee peace. The situation in Yemen was shocking. “We cannot look the other way,” he stressed. There was an urgent need to resupply the shrinking stock of food and medicine. Immediate action was needed to prevent famine and yet the humanitarian proposed plan was only six percent funding. He invited all partners to attend the pledging conference in April. It was important to keep in mind that while humanitarian aid was critical, a political solution was the only viable option to solving conflict. On South Sudan, he said it was “totally unacceptable” that aid workers continued to be targeted and urged all parties to allow aid workers to have unimpeded access to civilians.

    BARLYBAY SADYKOV (Kazakhstan), urging prompt action to assist civilians in need in Yemen, advocated for the resumption of commercial air service to Sana'a in order to help deliver food, medicine and other aid. Calling for a cessation of hostilities in that country, as well as negotiations towards a political solution, he also urged Member States to help Somalia recover from its drought, stressing that famine must be avoided at all costs. It was crucial to help Somalia strengthen its security sector through well-planned reform, thereby allowing it to effectively counter terrorist activity. He also expressed concern about the situation in South Sudan, commending Under-Secretary-General O’Brien for being vocal with the authorities in Juba. The humanitarian crisis in that country was a direct result of hampered aid delivery, which was in turn a result of the conflict.

    SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) joined other delegations in voicing alarm over the situations in South Sudan and Somalia, and stressed that, in Yemen, where the Council had been suspiciously silent, the only lasting solution would be a political one. Every 10 minutes, a Yemeni child died due to lack of food, while the country’s overall death toll had recently reached 10,000. Recalling that the Resident Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, had described attacks on roads and bridges, as well as restrictions on ports, that were aimed at reducing imports and aid delivery, he said such activities were an affront to international humanitarian law. The Council should send a “clear, unequivocal and unanimous” message to the effect that restrictions on Yemeni ports must be lifted immediately.

    AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), voicing concern about the situation in Yemen, expressed regret that the Houthis continued to restrict humanitarian access to some of the country’s cities. Proposing that the United Nations begin studying the idea of deploying observers to end such access restrictions, which included procrastinating and stalling the delivery of imports, he went on to say that the suffering of South Sudan’s population had also reached an unprecedented level. There was an urgent need to facilitate rapid and unhindered United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) access to affected areas. Voicing concern about the current drought and the famine threatening Somalia, and stressing the need to increase regional efforts to combat that crisis and ensure the delivery of aid, he agreed with other speakers and ongoing political crises were the “common denominator” in each of those countries. Ending the suffering of their respective populations could only be achieved through political solutions.

    SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) expressed concern over the situation in Yemen and outlined ways his country had provided nutrition and education aid. Assistance must reach those in need, he said, urging all parties to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to civilians. A political solution was the only viable option for resolving the crisis in Yemen. Somali refugees in Yemen were of great concern, he said, stressing that a collective effort, chiefly led by Ethiopia and Kenya, to host Somali refugees was vital. He also expressed concern over the limitations on humanitarian access in South Sudan, condemning attacks on churches and other places of worship.

    YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine) urged all parties in Yemen to ensure the sustainable delivery of commercial and humanitarian supplies, without which millions of Yemenis were at risk of famine and death. He expressed concern over the upsurge of rocket attacks by Houthi forces in Yemen against objects located in Saudi Arabia, as well as maritime vessels operating near Bab al-Mandeb. The use by the Houthi-Saleh forces of an unmanned remote-control boat to attack a Saudi vessel in the Red Sea testified to the increased sophistication of Houthi-Saleh attacks. Ensuring the safety of the Bab al-Mandeb shipping passage was of paramount importance for international peace. Blocking weapons shipments to the Houthi-Saleh forces was essential to prevent further escalation of the conflict.

    SHEN BO (China) called on the international community to extend a “helping hand” to the humanitarian crises in Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. He expressed concern over the escalating human suffering in Yemen, stressing that Yemenis needed external support. It was important to stop attacks against civilian targets. The international community must join efforts to improve the humanitarian response in Yemen. China would continue to provide aid to Yemen, he added, urging all parties to reach a ceasefire, resume peace talks and find a political solution.

    DAWIT YIRGA WOLDEGERIMA (Ethiopia), thanking Mr. O’Brien for the solidarity demonstrated by his visit to Somalia and the Somali region of Ethiopia, urged the international community to act decisively to avert catastrophe in Yemen. Agreeing with other speakers on the need to address the huge funding gap to meet that country’s humanitarian needs, he expressed hope that the high-level donor conference to be held in April would help to close the gap. In addition, a political resolution — requiring both a cessation of hostilities and the urgent resumption of peace talks — was needed to address the Yemeni crisis.

    GORGUI CISS (Senegal) joined other speakers in calling for urgent action to address the “sombre predictions” in each of the four countries being discussed. On Yemen, he called on the parties — especially the Houthis and their allies — to adhere to their responsibilities under international law, including allowing for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid. Further urging the parties to resume good-faith negotiations in order to reach a political solution, he said international assistance was needed “now more than ever” in South Sudan. Turning to the countries of the Lake Chad Basin subregion, as well as Somalia, he said the looming famine could be averted if international partners acted quickly to end the proliferation of terrorist groups.

    MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), Council President for March, spoke in his national capacity, emphasizing that more than 20 million people — nearly the entire population of Australia — risked starving to death in the coming months. Noting that the United Kingdom was the second-largest donor to South Sudan, he stressed that “we can’t do it alone” and urged Member States to “match our messages with our money”. In Somalia, there was a crucial window to take action before the drought took hold, during which the international community could help avoid a recurrence of the tragic 2011 famine. “Al-Shabaab is poised to step into the breach” if States did not step up to help, he warned, noting that Somalis would be forced to turn to the group in desperation. In Yemen, all parties to the conflict must ensure the continued delivery of commercial imports, while partners should help stabilize the banking sector and resolve the liquidity crisis. The United Kingdom had increased its assistance to Yemen to $125 million, but it would be difficult to effectively address the crisis while the conflict continued. In that regard, he joined others in calling on the parties to work towards a ceasefire and an enduring political settlement.

    For information media. Not an official record.


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: South Sudan

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    BACKGROUND

    The continuing conflict which began in December 2013 is having a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Sudanese women, men, boys and girls. Conflict has displaced populations, reduced food production and disrupted livelihoods and markets, making South Sudan one of the most food-insecure countries in the world. Women and men of all ages are suffering from the effects of conflict, including abuses and loss of control over, and access to, vital resources.

    In recognition that conflict can further aggravate existing vulnerabilities, exacerbate poverty and reinforce gender gaps, Oxfam conducted a gender analysis field study in May–June 2016 as part of the ECHO-ERC project ‘Institutionalizing Gender in Emergencies: Bridging Policy and Practice’.

    This study was conceptualized on the basis of a gap analysis of previous work done on gender in South Sudan. Whereas other studies explored specific issues pertaining to gender in the country context, this study aims to audit and understand the overall perceptions of communities and aid workers on the performance of the humanitarian aid effort in gender mainstreaming in five different locations across the country. It highlights differential gender needs that are, or are not, being addressed, and the reasons for the perceptions that communities and aid workers have, as well as differential coping strategies and changing gender dynamics. It suggests, where possible, opportunities for improved and engendered programming by humanitarian donors, UN agencies, Cluster organizations, INGOs and NNGOs, as well as national and local authorities. It also aims to inform long-term modes of engendering programming needs in the protracted conflict.

    The study was carried out in Wau State, Jonglei State and Juba State and attempted to cover a broad range of situations that people are living in across the country. The assessment targeted 490 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in these areas. In each location, the study team also conducted key informant interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) among women, men, boys and girls and in some cases reached out to host community members. The selection criteria aimed to reach vulnerable communities and to achieve a gender and age balance among respondents.

    The document is structured into four sections. Section 1 focuses on the overall severity of the crisis, and Section 2 explores vulnerable populations and gender-related impacts of the ongoing emergency. Section 3 identifies the change in gender dynamics and coping strategies, while Section 4 highlights the priorities and opportunities for gender-based programming.


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    Source: International Organization for Migration, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster
    Country: Nigeria


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    Source: Guardian
    Country: South Sudan

    Even in the context of years of obscene crimes against its citizens, the news that South Sudan’s government is threatening to hike the cost of work permits for foreigners a hundredfold, from $100 to as much as $10,000, is horrifying. Without permits, aid workers trying to feed civilians who are starving in a famine caused by three years of vicious conflict cannot operate. What began with a rift between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, has fractured the country along ethnic lines. Atrocities have been committed by all parties; civilians and their livelihoods have been deliberately and repeatedly targeted. In December, the chair of the UN commission on civil rights in South Sudan warned that the country stood on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war.

    Read more on the Guardian


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

    Situation Overview

    By the end of January 2017, about 3.4 million South Sudanese people had been forced out of their homes, including about 1.89 million internally displaced and 1.5 million seeking refuge in countries neighbouring South Sudan. During the month, renewed fighting in Upper Nile and the Equatorias displaced more than 90,000 people. This includes, over 58,000 South Sudanese sought refuge in neighbouring Uganda in January alone, mainly from Yei, Morobo, Lainya and Kajo-Keji. In Western Equatoria, about 4,000 people fled to Yambio town and another 3,000 displaced to Makpandu, Rimenze Church and Kasia Boma following attacks on villages north of Yambio town. In Upper Nile, fighting broke out in the vicinity of Wau Shilluk and Malakal town on 25 January, displacing at least 20,000 civilians and disrupting humanitarian activities, while in Nasir, forcing over 30,000 people from Kueturenge, Madeng were forced to flee their homes to Jikmir and areas along the Baro and Giro rivers bordering Ethiopia. During the month, Wau also received around 12,000 new arrivals, displaced from Jur River region. In Unity, new cholera cases were confirmed in Mayendit County.

    There was a reduction in the number of humanitarian access incidents reported (64) in January 2017 compared with December 2016 (77). However, the impact on humanitarian operations was substantial with 16 aid workers relocated from Wau Shilluk in Upper Nile due to fighting, and some 26 aid workers relocated from Panyijiar County in Unity, following a Government directive to partners to cease operations in the area, due to relocations of aid workers and suspension of operations in multiple locations. About 53 per cent of incidents reported involved violence against humanitarian personnel or assets. During the month, there were nine incidents involving restrictions of movement within the country, representing a significant increase from December 2016 when there were three cases.

    By the end the month, humanitarian partners had reached 1.6 million people, out of 5.8 million targeted in 2017 under the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). However, lack of early funding proved to be a challenge, with the US$1.6 billion appeal for 2017 for South Sudan just one per cent funded by the end of January. Timely funding in the first quarter of the year is particularly critical in South Sudan, where vast amounts of supplies must be pre-positioned before the rainy season begins in April.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

    On 20 February, localized famine was declared in Leer and Mayendit counties, and food security experts estimated that some 5.5 million people would be severely food insecure by the height of the lean season in July. Over the course of the month, tens of thousands of people were displaced due to offensives in Upper Nile and Jonglei. In Upper Nile, an estimated 31,500 people were forced to flee continued advances by armed forces on the western bank of the River Nile. About 18,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) reportedly arrived in Kodok and over 13,500 in Aburoc, Fashoda County. In Jonglei, nearly 17,000 people were displaced by heavy clashes in Pulchuol, Pathai, Motot and Pieri in Uror County and Waat in Nyirol County. More than 9,800 IDPs reportedly arrived in Akobo County, while about 5,600 reportedly fled to Duk County, and 1,500 to Lankien in Nyirol County.
    The exodus from Central and Eastern Equatoria to Uganda continued, with 66,000 people arriving during the month. Kajo-Keji town largely emptied, with only around 400 people remaining, while some 30,000 people remained in the IDP sites in Liwolo. Cholera continued to spread and was confirmed in Bor South and Yirol East in February.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: South Sudan

    Highlights

    • WFP’s Assistant Executive Director and Regional Director visited populations facing acute hunger in Mayendit County.

    • Successful access negotiations enable WFP to reach more than 15,000 people in Greater Bagari, south of Wau town.

    • Dispatches from Kosti (Sudan) to Renk (South Sudan) have resumed with a convoy reaching Renk with 1,500mt of assorted food commodities.

    Situation Update

    • WFP marked International Women’s Day with a panel discussion of food security experts to look at the relationships between gender inequality and the cycle of hunger. Panelists from the Ebony Centre for Strategic Studies, the Sudd Institute, the Government of South Sudan, the University of Juba, and WFP’s Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) unit presented their perspectives on food security and hunger in South Sudan, and how gender dynamics within the country influence the current food security situation.

    • WFP’s Assistant Executive Director, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, and Regional Director for East & Central Africa,
      Valerie Guarnieri, visited South Sudan from 7-10 March.
      The high level delegation met with partners and government to discuss WFP’s operational response in the context of increasing humanitarian needs. In addition, the team travelled to Dablual and Loth (Mayendit County, Unity) where populations are facing acute hunger.


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    Source: Government of Denmark
    Country: Denmark, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen

    The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, is now increasing Denmark’s humanitarian assistance to combat the acute food security crisis in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Denmark will provide 300 mio. DKK (approx. 42,8 mio. USD) in humanitarian assistance to the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and to Danish NGO’s working in the affected countries.

    War and conflict combined with a lengthy drought have had serious consequences for the region, where an increasing number of people face an acute food deficit and are threatened by famine. In South Sudan, almost 5 million people, including 1 million children, are currently facing starvation, and last month the UN declared famine in the northern part of the country. Similar developments are now feared in other parts of the Horn of Africa. This extraordinary Danish contribution will enable the humanitarian partners to scale up their response immediately to address the alarming humanitarian needs.

    Ulla Tørnæs says:

    “I have just returned home from Kenya, where I got a first-hand impression of the crisis that is currently unfolding in the region. The situation in the Horn of Africa is becoming more and more desperate with each day that passes. The UN’s humanitarian appeals are significantly underfunded, and millions of people are at risk. It is crucial that we respond efficiently in support of the people affected by the drought.”

    The Danish contribution is a timely and prompt response to the UN appeals for increased humanitarian aid in response to the escalating food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Currently, less than 6% of the UN’s humanitarian appeals for relief efforts in South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are funded, so there is a big need for more funds for critically needed emergency food assistance. In addition to immediate emergency relief, the Danish contribution will also support a number of longer-term initiatives aimed at strengthening food security and building resilience in the region, to prevent similar situations from developing in the future.

    ”If the international community does not act now, the drought in East Africa could very easily end up being one of those silent disasters, which costs thousands of lives. This is why Denmark is acting now. There is an urgent need for funding and, hopefully, other donors will follow suit with significant contributions. If we act now, we can save lives and increase the resilience of the drought affected countries”, Ulla Tørnæs concludes.
    The Danish contribution of 300 mio. DKK (approx. 42,8 mio. USD) will be allocated to:

    WFP (75 mio. DKK/ approx. 10,7 mio. USD) to efforts on the Horn of Africa,
    ICRC (100 mio. DKK / approx. 14.3 mio. USD) for efforts in Somalia and Yemen)
    Danish NGO’s (125 mio. DKK / approx.17,8 mio. USD) to projects in the countries affected.
    The funds for WFP and the ICRC will be transferred immediately, while the funds for the NGO’s will be allocated over the coming month.

    For more information, contact:
    Dorte Bryde, press advisor, + 45 50778698.
    Marianne Lynghøj, special advisor, + 45 42485158.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger

    2017 REQUIREMENTS 271 million

    FUNDING (1) 21 million

    UNMET REQUIREMENTS 250 million


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    Source: Sudan Tribune
    Country: South Sudan, Sudan

    March 11, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has directed to provide 10,000 tonnes of sorghum to assist those affected by the famine in South Sudan. He further expressed his government readiness to meet humanitarian needs of large influx of refugees from the neighbouring country, said the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner

    On 20 February 2017, South Sudanese government and UN agencies declared Some 100,000 people were facing starvation in the two counties of Leer and Mayiandit, while people in Koch and Panyijar nearby were considered at high risk of famine.

    Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam told Sudan Tribune Saturday that they discussed with the Vice-President ways to assist victims of war and famine in South Sudan, pointing to the historic ties between the two peoples.

    He said the new support would be added to a previous presidential directive to send 27,000 sacks of sorghum, pointing the relief would be transferred through the border crossing in the White Nile State.

    Adam stressed that Sudan attaches great importance to the situation in South Sudan and is keen to provide all necessary assistance to its citizens, pointing to the formation of a national committee to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation there.

    He pointed to the large influx of South Sudan refugees, expecting a significant increase in their numbers during the coming days.

    “The number of those affected by the food shortage is estimated at 4,6 million people and some of them have reached the famine stage and others are experiencing the pre-famine stage,” he said

    “More than 70,000 refugees have entered Sudan during February and the first week of March and we expect more influx” he added

    The Sudanese official said the government is currently making arrangements to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of Southerners, pointing they intend to set up new refugee camps and provide the greatest amount of aid to the affected.

    According to the UN, the number of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan has surpassed the 300,000 mark and as of 13 February and stands at 305,000 people.

    Before the December 2013 crisis, 350,000 South Sudanese have remained in Sudan and didn’t return to their areas after the independence of South Sudan.

    Also in December 2014, the Sudanese government agreed with the UN to deliver residence permits to South Sudanese refugees enabling them to circulate and to work in the country.

    IMPACT ON TWO AREAS

    Meanwhile, Adam didn’t rule out that South Kordofan and Blue Nile states could be adversely impacted by the situation in South Sudan, calling on the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) to accept the U.S. proposal to deliver assistance to the needy population in the Two Areas.

    Adam further underscored Khartoum’s support to the U.S. proposal, pointing to the government categorical refusal to deliver the assistance to the Two Areas from abroad.

    The Sudanese army has been fighting the SPLM-N in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

    The African Union has been seeking to end the conflict for several years. However, last August, the two sides failed to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities agreement because Khartoum refuses to allow the delivery of food to civilians in some rebel-controlled areas in the Blue Nile State directly through Asosa, an Ethiopian Town near the border with Sudan.

    In a bid to break the deadlock in the peace talks, the former U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth last November proposed that the USAID will deliver medical humanitarian aid to civilians in the rebel-held areas by air directly after its inspection from the government.

    The SPLM-N declined the proposal insisting on the need to transport 20% of the humanitarian aid directly from Asosa to the rebel areas.

    (ST)


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    Source: International Crisis Group
    Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, World

    Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.

    Moussa Faki Mahamat, the new chair of the African Union Commission (AUC), takes office in mid-March as the continent faces its worst spate of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. The most alarming is in the Lake Chad basin where more than eleven million people need emergency aid. In Somalia, 6.2 million (almost half the population) face acute food shortages and in South Sudan, where the UN recently declared a famine, nearly 5 million are severely food insecure. The suffering is largely man-made: the effects of drought have been exacerbated by prolonged wars and mass displacement.

    More promisingly, Gambia’s peaceful transition, negotiated by the Economic Community of West African States with AU support, is one of the steps toward democracy and rule of law being taken in much of the continent. Whether these gains can be multiplied across Africa depends on how well Mr Faki, Chad’s former foreign minister, will use the tools at his disposal to persuade member states to address the triggers and longer-term drivers of conflict: fraught electoral processes; leaders who refuse to leave office as scheduled; corrupt, authoritarian or repressive governments; population growth; joblessness and climate change. These same forces precipitate two other major continental challenges, migration and the threat from religious extremists and other violent non-state groups.

    Mr Faki arrives at a time of upheaval for the AU. At January’s summit, heads of state agreed to proposals from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame that the organisation should focus only on a limited number of key priorities with continental scope, such as political affairs, peace and security and continental integration, and that institutional structures should be redesigned to reflect this. He will have to carefully manage this radical reform, as well as Morocco’s recent re-admission, to avoid aggravating existing tensions and divisions and maintain morale in a beleaguered secretariat.

    The geopolitical context for multilateral diplomacy is also changing rapidly. The influence of China, the Gulf states and Turkey (especially in the Horn, the Sahel and North Africa) cannot be ignored. Growing nationalism in Europe and the uncertainty of U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies have created new concerns. There are opportunities here for the AU along with challenges, but to take advantage of them, Mr Faki will have to push it and its member states to take greater responsibility, both politically and financially, for conflict prevention and resolution. Crisis Group offers below ideas on how the new chair of the AUC can drive change and revitalise key relationships so as to strengthen the AU’s response to threats to continental peace and security, as well as suggestions for how the organisation can help prevent conflict escalating and move peace processes forward.

    Strategic Direction

    1. Build support for a stronger, more self-sufficient union

    In a deeply unstable global environment, with old power centres in disarray and Middle East rivalries infecting the continent, African multilateral diplomacy is more necessary than ever. The new chair’s challenge is to convince member states of the AU’s worth, in particular the value of its peace and security architecture. That leaders signed on to a bold reform agenda would seem to suggest they want a more effective AU. But for the process to be truly transformative, they must make tough choices on sovereignty, and the tensions between popular aspirations for more open government and the authoritarian tendencies of many of those governments.

    Working closely with presidents Kagame, Idriss Déby (Chad) and Alpha Condé (Guinea), the troika appointed to supervise implementation of the reforms, Mr Faki should build a coalition of leaders representing each region, who are committed to reform. But, building political support for a stronger AU will not be enough. Member states also need to provide adequate funding. Aside from the loss of credibility and ownership that reliance on external donors brings, the AU can no longer count on the same levels of external financing from the U.S. and Europe. The AUC’s ability to work effectively depends on member states willingness to implement the July 2016 summit decision for a 0.2 per cent levy on imports, with proceeds going to the AU. Only a handful of states have begun to enact the tax into law. Mr Faki should provide full support to the AU’s High Representative for the Peace Fund, Dr Donald Kaberuka, and encourage member states to fulfil their financial commitments. Those who pay only lip service to the idea of a stronger AU must recognise that without significant additional African financing, AU peace support operations will likely remain blocked from sustainable funding from UN assessed contributions as well.

    2. Make effective use of the existing conflict prevention architecture

    The AU has the tools necessary for conflict prevention but finds it difficult to use them effectively because of resource constraints and the great influence member states willing to play the sovereignty card to avoid scrutiny wield. Changing leaders’ thinking is hard, and Mr Faki should focus on building political support for conflict prevention among like-minded members. Even without such a coalition, there are ways to improve existing mechanisms. Translating data and analysis of the AU’s early warning system into early action has been hampered, in part, by the way information flows within the AUC and between it and the regional economic communities (RECs). The chair should break down AUC barriers, especially between the Political Affairs and Peace and Security departments.

    Mediation mechanisms are fragmented, with little oversight and direction from the chair or the Peace and Security Council (PSC). Creation of the mediation support unit (MSU) has been a good first step, but Mr Faki must ensure it is well-staffed by skilled, experienced specialists. For it to be truly effective, all mediation activities, including those of the Panel of the Wise, special envoys and representatives, liaison offices and special political missions, should be under its purview. There is little transparency in how special envoys and representatives are selected. Mr Faki should work to change this as well as examine their performance and mandates, making changes where needed. He should also use the reform process either to reinvigorate or dispense with the Panel of the Wise. Likewise, he should engage more personally in preventative diplomacy, especially to unblock stalemated processes in Burundi, Central Africa Republic (CAR) and Mali, and work to build consensus at the local, regional, continental and wider international level so as to bring coherence to the efforts of all those involved in peacemaking. Mr Faki should understand the limitations of his office and bring respected former heads of state into the mediation process.

    Many crises are predictable, especially those linked to poor governance and disputed political transitions. The effects of generational and demographic changes, the slow pace of economic growth in many countries and the persistence of repressive or authoritarian regimes mean we can expect increasing discontent and violent protest. Mr Faki must ensure that AUC fulfils its responsibility to alert the PSC to impending conflicts, engaging with affected member states and encouraging the PSC to put them on its agenda at the first signs of crisis. This will be uncomfortable and provoke backlash, but it cannot be avoided if the AU is serious about conflict prevention.

    3. Strengthen the institution

    The January summit adopted Kagame’s bold reform outline, which aims to streamline the AU, making it more efficient, focused and results oriented. The new chair is charged with realising these ambitions. This is not the first reform attempt; ten years ago an independent panel drew up a comprehensive program on which Kagame’s team drew heavily. Mr Faki must learn from previous failures by not rushing the process and building broad support by consulting widely within the AUC and with member states. He should push forward on the reforms linked to the most urgent needs (eg, implementing the PSC protocols and strengthening sanctions mechanisms) and which have the greatest consensus.

    The AU’s relationship with the RECs, vital for effective conflict prevention and resolution, is often strained and competitive. The principles, rights and obligations governing this relationship are clearly set out in PSC Protocol (Article 16) and the 2007 memorandum of understanding. The chair should ensure these instruments are implemented. Some tension could be eased by more effective communication. Mr Faki should seek opportunities to work collaboratively with RECs and encourage direct, frequent exchanges at all levels during the lifecycle of a crisis. RECs should be consulted before major decisions, such as the selection of a special envoy or deployment of observers. Uncertainty regarding the principle of subsidiarity limits the AU’s its ability to intervene when regional peace processes stall, as in Burundi and South Sudan. He should use the reform process to establish comparative advantage, not subsidiarity, as the basis for the AU-RECs relationship.

    4. Revitalise security partnerships

    During the past decade, the AU has taken on a greater role in preventing and resolving conflicts. At the same time, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has increasingly delegated to it a central role in political management of Africa’s conflicts, in part due to a growing recognition that it cannot manage these crises alone. The AU’s confidence and capacity have increased, but it still relies on partners and donors to fund its peace and security activities and fill capacity gaps. As a result, relationships are often strained, sometimes blighted by mistrust and misunderstanding.

    Collaboration with the UN, arguably the AU’s most important security partner, has increased, but room for improvement remains. Together with the UN Secretary-General, Mr Faki should ensure that UNSC and AU PSC agendas are more closely aligned and reflect the continent’s priorities. By preparing PSC positions ahead of major UNSC decisions, there is a greater chance Africa will speak with one voice and so increase its influence on decisions. Closer AU-UN cooperation, including collective assessments and joint field visits, would foster more understanding and help build common positions and a shared analysis. Mr Faki should take the lead in this area, setting the tone and direction for the rest of the commission.

    The European Union (EU) is identifying its strategic interests in Africa, and Mr Faki should ensure the AU defines its interests so common security challenges can be determined. The EU is a vital partner, but the relationship was tested in 2016 by its decision to reallocate 20 per cent of its funding for the AU’s Somalia mission, AMISOM, and stop directly paying Burundian troops serving in it. The EU-Africa November summit in Côte d’Ivoire is an opportunity to renew the partnership, discuss priorities and confirm areas of cooperation. The migrant crisis and terrorism threat will likely reshape EU-AU relations and feature prominently there. The chair must try to counter EU desire to focus narrowly on unpromising short-term curbs of migration to Europe by emphasising the need to address the drivers of the exodus: war, poverty, repression and the youth bulge.

    5. Beyond a military response to “violent extremism”

    The past decade has shown the costs and limits of a military response to jihadist groups and other violent non-state actors, especially in the absence of a political strategy. Military action is sometimes a necessary part of a strategy – the efforts against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin and jihadists in Mali are cases in point – but recent history in Africa and elsewhere suggests governments cannot rely on coercion alone.

    The AU and its member states must not overlook the conditions that enable jihadist groups and other violent non-state actors to thrive: distrust of the state, especially in the peripheries; declining state authority; underdevelopment and social deprivation; readily available weapons; and heavy-handed, ineffective security forces. Mr Faki should articulate a stronger focus on developing coherent plans for returning effective government to affected areas. The possibility of a U.S. return to heavier-handed counter-terrorism policies could encourage others to adopt similar approaches. This is especially dangerous in Africa, where rule of law is often weak or absent. The chair should remind leaders that in dealing with these groups they must not forget human rights obligations, and he should dissuade them from labelling all opponents as “terrorists” or “violent extremists”.

    Major Crises

    6. Burundi

    Contrary to government claims, the crisis is far from over. Intimidation, disappearances and killings continue and could quickly escalate, infecting a volatile region. Exact causes and motivations are hard to judge, as authorities have made no serious attempt to investigate and have frustrated the efforts of others, including the AU. The government and ruling party are intent on unilaterally dismantling the gains of the Arusha process that ended the last civil war, of which the AU is guarantor, including all vestiges of genuine power sharing and the critical presidential term limit. Internal debate on the direction is not permitted. The stability and relative peace Burundi recently enjoyed was premised on political pluralism and respect for Arusha’s main tenants, notably power sharing. The current path is highly likely to increase violence if left unchecked; the government’s drive to change the constitution to allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to run again would undoubtedly be a major spark.

    In December, Benjamin Mkapa, the East African Community-appointed mediator, spoke out against the opposition’s maximalist demand that the 2015 election result be revisited but did not balance this with criticism of the regime’s crackdown. The ruling party made no concessions and continues to refuse dialogue with exiled opposition.

    The AU’s path is difficult, especially following its retreat from active engagement after the failed January 2016 attempt to send an AU peacekeeping mission. Mr Faki should personally re-engage the government, but he should hold to principled positions. The absence of PSC discussion makes it difficult for the AU to intervene, and the chairperson must encourage the PSC to put Burundi back on its agenda. The AU can support future mediation by clearly stating the current dangers, underlining that violence and intimidation is unacceptable, abuses must be investigated, and free, democratic debate is vital for stability. The AU should also emphasise that opposition violence is unacceptable and dangerous. Burundi’s future direction, including continued application of Arusha Agreement, should be freely debated by all parties.

    7. Central African Republic

    2016’s peaceful elections raised hopes of a longer-term resolution of the crisis that began in 2012. Yet, barely twelve months after President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s victory, little has changed. A fifth of the population is internally displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries, intercommunal tensions are high, and armed groups de facto control most of the country.

    Though security in Bangui is improved, violence against civilians and fighting between armed groups have intensified in the provinces. In the east, ex-Seleka factions compete for territory and resources, triggering massive new displacement and strong anti-Fulani sentiment. In the west, the exclusionary “centrafricanité” concept that emerged in circles close to François Bozizé in 2013 and stigmatises Muslim as “foreigners”, prevents return of hundreds of thousands of refugees.

    The government, though legitimate, is not in full control and cannot respond to all the challenges. Little has been done at national level to advance reconciliation, and talks between the government and armed groups over disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration are blocked. Regional powers have organised several parallel initiatives to kick-start talks between armed groups, including meetings in 2016 in Chad and Angola. A proliferation of processes with unclear agendas could undermine attempts to persuade groups to disarm. All initiatives should support Touadera, who must develop a clear strategy for the negotiations, so that his government leads the process. The AU could be important in this, coordinating the initiatives and pushing armed groups to join the talks. A major challenge will be dealing with armed-group leaders – much of the population views their exclusion from government as a prerequisite for a sustainable solution.

    8. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

    The 31 December agreement brokered by the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO) calmed tensions resulting from the failure to hold elections the previous month. The deal was more inclusive than what the AU mediated in October and shortened the new date for the delayed polls from April 2018 to December 2017. But implementation is stalled over three issues: its timelines; appointment of the prime minister and composition of the interim government; and functioning of the oversight mechanism.

    The death in February of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has suspended the talks, aiding the ruling majority, which consistently seeks to postpone elections. His loss deprives the Rassemblement, the main opposition coalition, of a genuinely popular leader able to cut deals, at a time when its inability to mobilise large protests undercut its legitimacy. The competition to replace Tshisekedi threatens the Rassemblement’s cohesion and could push the opposition to more hard-line positions.

    Armed conflict has displaced more than 2.2 million persons and is increasing in many provinces. In addition to the recurrent fighting in North Kivu, instability is spreading. In Kasai-Central, the August 2016 killing of a traditional chief by security forces has pitted militias against government forces and displaced some 200,000. In Tanganyika, fighting between the Twa (Pygmy) and Luba (Bantu) communities is taking an increasing toll and also affecting Haut-Katanga and Haut-Lomami provinces. Increased tension in Kongo-Central province directly affects the capital, Kinshasa. Rising insecurity is linked to a crisis of state legitimacy, combined with deepening economic crisis. All this makes the organisation of elections increasingly unlikely and creates real risk of an implosion.

    The challenge is to ensure credible elections are held on schedule, and the constitution is respected. The AU, in close cooperation with the region and the UN, should call on all parties to implement the 31 December agreement and prioritise organising polls as soon as realistic. It should give full support as CENCO tries to keep the signatories on track. Mass violence remains a distinct possibility, the outcome of which could be state collapse and the entire region’s destabilisation. The PSC has taken a backseat on the DRC but needs to fully engage in attempts to broker a political transition.

    9. Libya

    The immediate priority remains preventing an escalation of violence. The country’s de-facto partition into eastern and western areas dominated by loose, fractious military coalitions has been reinforced by failure of the Libyan Political (Skhirat) Agreement. Escalation would most likely come from an advance on Tripoli by General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army, buoyed by their takeover of oil facilities in the Gulf of Sirte and the dwindling international consensus behind the Skhirat deal. This would provoke fierce fighting, particularly with Islamist militias in the capital and from Misrata. Preventing this probably requires Egypt and Russia to dissuade Haftar; even with foreign backing, he cannot conquer the entire country. Resetting Skhirat is essential. Direct talks are needed between the Tripoli-based Presidency Council and politicians from the east, leading toward a new, broader-based unity government. A parallel security track should include Haftar and major western armed groups.

    But the diplomatic process is in limbo: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, barely functions, and there is a lack of direction from major outside powers. Only Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia appear to be proposing new solutions, but Algeria and Tunisia support the GNA, while Egypt is close to Haftar. The three share security concerns but differ on how inclusive a negotiated solution should be, especially toward Islamists.

    Time is not with the GNA. Electricity and water shortages, looming collapse of the health sector, shortages of local and foreign currency all have made life much tougher for ordinary Libyans. This gives GNA foes, especially Haftar, an opportunity. Signs of wider confrontation in the absence of a viable peace process abound, and local conflicts (for instance between Arabs, Tebus and Touaregs in the south and among Tripoli-based militias) are gaining importance.

    The AU should support Algeria’s and Tunisia’s more inclusive approach and urge more pressure on Haftar from Egypt, whose legitimate interests must be accommodated. AU support might help impose a solution proposed by neighbours (ultimately bringing in Chad, Niger and Sudan) and help it gain wider support. At a time when the peace process lacks clear direction, encouraging consensus among neighbours could show the way for the UN and non-African powers.

    10. Mali

    With implementation stalling there is a real possibility the June 2015 Bamako peace agreement could dissolve. The Malian parties have little faith in the significantly flawed deal they were pressured to sign. Insecurity could increase with the fracturing of the main rebel coalition, the Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad, into new community-based armed groups. Jihadist organisations, like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar Eddine, are still operating – striking provincial and district centres from rural bases. Insecurity is also rising in long neglected areas like central Mali, which is not covered by the northern peace process. The emergence of new groups, such as the Islamic State in the Great Sahara, and the possible incursion of defeated IS fighters from Libya further complicate the fraught security landscape.

    The crisis is now spilling over borders. The G5 countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) thus announced the creation in February of a regional force to combat terrorism and transnational crime. The AU is well placed to give political and logistical support, as it does for the Multi-National Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin. But Mr Faki should push the G5 to take a realistic approach and work primarily on border security and improved intelligence sharing and to develop economic cooperation, not focus solely on military action.

    A recent high-level Follow-up Committee meeting convened by the international mediation, was a last-ditch try to revive the peace process. It must not be squandered. Through Pierre Buyoya, the AU Special Representative, the chair should work with other partners to maintain momentum, focussing on relaunching the Mécanisme Opérationnel de Coordination (MOC) in northern Mali, including Kidal, and continuing to push for the newly-appointed interim authorities to start working effectively.

    11. Somalia

    Despite a fractious, fraudulent and corrupt electoral process beset by divisions and delays, Somalia elected a new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, with unprecedented cross-clan support. This is a chance for progress toward peace, economic prosperity and political stability. Expectations are inordinately high, however, and to avoid a backlash he must move swiftly on pledges to rebuild the security forces and state institutions, tackle corruption, improve justice and unify the country. His nationalist rhetoric, supported by Islamist factions in his government, threatens to antagonise powerful neighbours capable of undermining his administration. It is critical for Mr Faki to encourage discreet diplomacy and foster dialogue between Somalia and its neighbours, especially Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen.

    Farmajo’s credibility and popular support improves the odds of progress in the government’s stalled national reconciliation process. A bottom-up approach has the greatest chance to produce lasting political settlements with and between federal member states. Mr Faki must seize this opportunity and encourage the new government to revive the process and help it mobilise technical and financial resources. Failure to reduce clan tensions and build sub-national administrations would create openings for Al-Shabaab and an emerging, albeit small, IS branch.

    Despite significant successes against Al-Shabaab, AMISOM is struggling to win a guerrilla war it is ill-suited and inadequately resourced to fight. Internal challenges, national rivalries and frictions among troop contributing countries compound this problem, hampering military effectiveness. The AU should help to repair cohesion and encourage more realistic, strategic thinking in preparation for a well-managed drawdown framed around Somalia’s security sector needs. Hasty withdrawal would be disastrous for Somalia and the region.

    12. South Sudan

    Famine, driven by a deadly combination of conflict, economic crisis and drought, has left 100,000 on the verge of starvation with a million more at serious risk. Almost eighteen months since a peace agreement was signed, fighting, accompanied by atrocities, shows little sign of stopping in Equatorias, Upper Nile and Unity states. Fierce combat in Juba last July between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) forced ex-First Vice President Riek Machar to flee. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development and other major international actors have acquiesced in his exile and replacement by First Vice President Taban Deng Gai. Without Machar, the SPLM/A-IO is less cohesive, and new armed groups are emerging, while President Salva Kiir strengthens his position in the capital and the region.

    Kiir’s December 2016 call for a renewed ceasefire and national dialogue presents an opportunity to promote negotiations between the government and parts of the armed opposition (including groups outside the transitional government) and to address the grievances of disaffected communities at the grassroots level. This will only succeed if the government is willing to negotiate fairly. Mr Faki should ensure that the AU High Representative Alpha Oumar Konaré receives the support needed to fulfil the mandate given him at the IGAD-UN-AU meeting in January 2017 to encourage all stakeholders to begin genuinely inclusive discussion on the scope and format of a national dialogue. He should also look for ways in which the AU and its partners can support local communities in this process, in particular by helping them formulate and articulate their complaints.

    Under the August 2015 peace agreement, the AU is responsible for establishing the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, mandated to investigate and prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the recent civil war. Insecurity and severe restrictions on freedom of speech make it currently unfeasible to set up the court, but Mr Faki should ensure that preliminary work defining operation, funding and composition goes ahead and that the collection of evidence begins.


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