Emergency Ministerial-Level Meeting on the Horn of Africa Discusses Response to Crisis

25 July 2011: An emergency Ministerial-Level meeting on the drought crisis in the Horn of Africa, convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), concluded that efforts to build long-term resilience and safeguard the foundations of food security will require a focus on the humanitarian issues affecting the region, including conflict, preservation of humanitarian space, nutrition, disaster risk reduction (DRR), health and education services, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The meeting took place in Rome, Italy, on 25 July 2011, to investigate possible measures to address the crisis. Participants stressed that without swift action, the crisis would continue to spread rapidly to other parts of the region. Governments agreed that the response would be led by those countries affected, supported by global and national Food Security Clusters with guidance from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Horn of Africa Action Plan. They also agreed to support and strengthen the initiatives led by the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on Food Security to ensure policy coordination between countries and organizations. The meeting Co-Chairs' Summary underscores that empowerment of farmers, fishers and herders builds resilience to better withstand the inevitable droughts of the future, the risks of which are exacerbated by climate change and natural resource degradation.

In a message to the meeting delivered on his behalf by Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for ensuring that any short-term relief provided be linked to long-term sustainability. He called for an agricultural transformation that improves the resilience of rural livelihoods, including through climate-smart crop production. The meeting also discussed: providing specific support to pastoralists and agropastoralists; making sustainable agriculture an investment and policy priority in addition to building necessary infrastructure;  and the need for the availability of efficient food systems. [FAO Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Co-Chairs' Summary]