21 June 2018

West Africa: As Millions Face Hunger in Sahel, More Accountability Is Needed to Attract Support, Warns Red Cross President

press release

About 5.8 million people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal are struggling to get enough food and require immediate assistance. To respond to their needs adequately, humanitarian actors need to manage well the funding they receive from their partners and well-wishers, warned Francesco Rocca, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), during a visit to Guinea, from 18 to 20 June 2018.

"Accountability, integrity, transparency and effectiveness should be at the heart of all National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies policies and programmes. It's imperative to adopt these principles of good governance to build up a relationship of trust and attract more partners and volunteers," said Rocca at the end of the tenth General Assembly of the Association of French, Spanish and Portuguese speaking African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ACROFA) in Conakry.

In addition to food insecurity in the Sahel region, conflict and violence are compounding the situation, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes, disrupting cross-border trade and hindering delivery of assistance.

"This bleak situation, which is compounded by the lack of opportunities, unemployment, and inequalities in the Sahel region, as well as in many other parts of Africa, is exposing our youth to risks of radicalization, while others are migrating in the search of better living conditions, and unfortunately through risky journeys," said Dr Abdourahmane Cissé, President of the Malian Red Cross and outgoing ACROFA President.

But without good governance, humanitarian actors will not be able to earn the trust of partners and will not be able to attract the required resources to respond to these needs in the Sahel.

In a competitive and crowded global humanitarian space and in the face of an increasing number of disasters and crises, "good governance is the only way to attract more resources and meet the growing needs of people we serve and the challenges of today and tomorrow," added Rocca.

Good governance, migration, violence, extremism and young people as agents of change, were some of the key issues that were discussed during the ACROFA meeting during which, M. Youssouf Traoré, President of the Red Cross Society of Guinea, was elected as the new President.

Rocca has called upon all partners to support efforts made by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to respond to crises and disasters, as well as to build a culture of peace. He also stated that he would ask the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies governing board to request all Red Cross Red Crescent Societies to have in place policies against fraud, corruption and sexual harassment.

On the margins of the ACROFA meeting, M. Rocca met several government officials, including the special adviser of the President of Guinea, the minister of foreign affairs, the and the minister of social affairs, in a bid to advocate for their continued support to the National Red Cross Society of Guinea, so that it can truly fulfil its role as an auxiliary to public authorities.

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