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Donor conference for the Sahel region: Germany pledges 100 million euro in humanitarian support

women in Burkina Faso preparing cornmeal

Over 16 million people in the Sahel region are at risk of starvation. Here: women in Burkina Faso preparing cornmeal, © UNOCHA / Giles Clarke

20.10.2020 - Article

The humanitarian situation in the Sahel is worsening: up to 16 million people in Burkina Faso, Mali and the Niger could be at risk of starvation in the coming months. At a donor conference today (20 October), Foreign Minister Maas pledged 100 million euro in support.

The Sahel is one of the regions hardest hit by climate change. Droughts and floods are destroying people’s livelihoods. Another problem is the impact of rampant violence and terrorist activities. Among other things, these have led to the closure of 4000 schools – with the result that more than 50% of children can no longer go to school.

A total of over 13 million people in the region are dependent on humanitarian support. There is a danger that the number of people suffering from starvation will double, to 16 million. Only 40% of humanitarian requirements are currently being met. Additional funding is required for urgently needed aid measures in the region.

Germany is making available 100 million euro

For this reason, Danish Development Minister Rasmus Prehn, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčic, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today hosted a virtual conference on the humanitarian situation in the Sahel region. The aim is to mobilise further humanitarian support and to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis, which threatens to vanish from the international public eye.

At the conference, Germany pledged 100 million euro in humanitarian support, to be paid out between 2020 and 2023. This year Germany has already doubled its assistance for the region, making available almost 50 million euro.

At the conference, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: 

All the warning signs are flashing red. Over 16 million men, women and children in the Central Sahel are at risk of starvation. Once again we must all commit ourselves to principled humanitarian action. And we must ensure that all parties to conflict adhere to their obligations under international law and protect humanitarian aid workers. Today Germany is pledging 100 million euro in humanitarian support for 2020 and the ensuing years.

Comprehensive engagement in the Sahel region

Besides providing humanitarian support, Germany pursues a comprehensive approach in the Sahel crisis that includes development cooperation (over 400 million euro in 2019), stabilisation measures (over 130 million euro for 2020) and Bundeswehr participation (with a total of up to 1500 German soldiers) in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). 

Only if the various actors of the international community – and the Sahel countries themselves – work together can the situation be calmed and the suffering lessened. This is a humanitarian imperative. Moreover, it is in the interests of Germany and Europe that the Sahel crisis does not spill over into other parts of West Africa, with tangible consequences far beyond the region. 

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