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Regional themes > Food security Last update: 2020-11-27  

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"Maintaining the Momentum" - Summary Note of the Regional Consultation on Humanitarian Assistance Needs in Southern Africa

July 2003 - June 2004
C-SAFE Steve Goudswaard, RPU Manager, C-SAFE gave a presentation outlining the work of C-SAFE in the region and its 5 year strategy focused on acute and chronic vulnerability in the region. (This information can be found in the power-point presentation on the accompanying CD-ROM or on

C-SAFE is using a livelihood approach to their programming in the region that incorporates a new paradigm for the relief to development continuum called "developmental relief". Through funding from USAID, C-SAFE has a three-year plan to improve overall nutritional status, increase productivity and improve community resilience using food and non-food interventions. It has discovered that a flexible approach based on needs is the most effective way forward to deal with the complex and ever evolving nature of the crisis in this region.

It is imperative that social and economic safety nets are established through increased and more effective monitoring and evaluation of needs. C-SAFE's programming is moving away from food-assisted interventions to priority investments in hotspot areas.

C-SAFE stressed the need for community surveillance and early warning/ emergency preparedness tools for the region as an effective way to avert another shock. C-SAFE endorses the "next steps" paper and challenged the entire international community to continue involving NGOs.

Funding Issues:

James Sackey of the World Bank (WB) gave a presentation on the role of the WB in the region. (This information can be found in the word document on the accompanying CD-ROM or on

The World Bank sees HIV/AIDS as a long-term shock with an impact on development. 25% of WB funds can be granted for HICs and other low-income countries under stress. Most countries lack the capacity to adequately address the pandemic due to weak institutions, lack of knowledge and low human capacity. It was pointed out that often it is the lack of capacity that hinders the advancement of projects and not the lack of funds. Leadership in the country is critical to implement successful projects.

UNAIDS has received support from the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in the region.

Donor perspective:
DFID expressed appreciation for RIACSO and its ability to get people together to discuss complex issues. It agrees with the process of joining the development and humanitarian approaches, and sees this as a model of the new partnership approach for the continent.

DFID looks forward to the continuing partnerships, especially with SADC.

DFID has given UKР€100m for the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa in the past year. It has taken stock of the fact that the emergency is not over. DFID will continue to provide support for emergency activities albeit more closely associated with their support to development objectives. DFID expects to make available Р€ 45m for humanitarian / emergency needs this year. Much of this will go to Zimbabwe.

It was stressed by USAID that due to the competitive climate for aid money, RIACSO will have to work very hard to 'convince' the donors that the southern Africa region is still in need of substantial assistance.


  • The Department of Foreign Affairs in South Africa has 10m rand for this year, which could support neighboring countries in answering some of their humanitarian needs.
  • European Commission endorsed the comments made by DFID and stated that they have given some 15 million euro to WFP for the region, 4 million of which will be for Zimbabwe. A further 20 million euro has been set aside and is subject to the findings of assessments. ECHO will also provide 26 million euro for Zimbabwe and it is actively reviewing projects from NGOs.
  • It was explained by the World Bank that the Global Fund and the World Bank are working together in some countries. The World Bank is the custodian of funds while the Global Fund approves programmes but does not supervise. Governments manage the fund.
  • The question of whether the World Bank funds could be channeled through Community Based Organizations, NGOs and others was raised. The World Bank responded that this is possible, but raised the issue of whether lack of money was the real problem, or whether it was rather the lack of capacity.
  • The question of whether HIV transcends the poverty reduction approach was raised. The World Bank pointed out that the definition of poverty needs to be clarified.. There is also a need to move forward with a deeper understanding of vulnerability.
Coordination Arrangements

It was agreed by all that the creation of RIACSO has facilitated the coordination of all the efforts made in tackling this crisis. Coordination among UN agencies has improved significantly. The presence of 8 UN agencies working together in one place as RIACSO, has enhanced coordination and speedy response to the humanitarian crisis. RIACSO has also provided support to the UN Country Representatives, Resident Coordinators and the Special Envoy for humanitarian needs in Southern Africa and provided guidance for cohesion at the regional and national level. Using the UN system, extensive advocacy and resource mobilization was conducted. In one year, US$ 470 million was raised through the CAP. The regional assistance programme and the role of the Special Envoy will continue at least until March 2004.

A consultation meeting on the linkages between food insecurity and HIV/AIDS was hosted in Johannesburg in November 2002. Communication with stakeholders, especially NGOs, was strengthened through regular monthly meetings in RIACSO. Establishment of the SAHIMS website has also improved dissemination and sharing of information among partners and stakeholders.

The recently established Health Task Force has started raising the profile of non-food items (health, education, and water and sanitation) for increased funding by donors through the inclusion of relevant questions in the vulnerability assessment tools, identifying priority areas for intervention, promoting partnerships, joint planning and action, as well as advocacy.

Deborah Crowe of Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response gave a short presentation on the UN response to the recommendations made in 2002. (This information can be found in the power-point presentation on the accompanying CD-ROM or on

In summary, despite a slow start and political and logistical constraints, large quantities of food aid was successfully delivered throughout the region and populations were stabilized as a result of this. This has shown that early warning/emergency response plans were able to successfully trigger appropriate and pre-emptive action in the region.

Two issues highlighted during the crisis were GM foods and the issue of humanitarian access, especially in Zimbabwe.

Ms. Crowe mentioned that the appointment of James Morris as SE for the region, together with the establishment of RIACSO and the strong leadership of WFP had greatly increased awareness of the crisis and provided cohesion across the region. As a result, significant awareness has been raised on the links between HIV/AIDS and food security and gender inequalities and the need for multi-sectoral approaches to analysis and interventions. It was also stressed that the reality to date is that the non-food support has been very limited.

The key challenge for the coming year is to obtain meaningful commitment on the part of the donors and the governments to address HIV/AIDS. The second challenge will be to stem and address the crisis in basic services and support services in the region. Thirdly, the challenge of increasing access to food for the most vulnerable will remain.

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