Hunger in the Sahel: a permanent emergency? Ensuring the next drought will not cause another humanitarian crisis.

The 2010 food crisis in the Sahel has affected millions of men, women and children. The humanitarian response, although too slow and insufficient, did at least allow the worst to be avoided. However, the root causes of food insecurity in the Sahel are structural. Breaking this vicious cycle requires a new approach. Collectively, we need to be better prepared in order to react more effectively to these recurring crises by tackling the root causes of this vulnerability and strengthening the resilience and increasing the revenues of affected communities. Development policies and programmes, starting with agricultural and food policies, must take the risks of failed harvests into account, while responding to the specific needs of the most vulnerable communities, in particular women and children. The fight against hunger and malnutrition in the Sahel needs to be fought before, during and after crises.