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Redirecting ODA towards the drivers of fragility in the Sahel

Despite increasing levels of official development assistance to the Sahel, food insecurity rates, conflict levels, and forced displacements are increasing in the region. Faced with a population expected to double by 2050 and temperature increases rising 1.5 faster than the global average, a dramatic increase in climate finance is needed to prevent further escalation of the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel

It is becoming more evident that despite increasing levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA) directed towards the Sahel, the humanitarian situation in the Sahel is getting worse. Although ODA increased 45 per cent between 2016 and 2019 (US$ 4 billion), governance indicators are decreasing. In addition, the amount of people experiencing acute food insecurity increased by 129 per cent (4.2 million people) while the amount of conflict events increased by 320 per cent (4.823 events). Furthermore, the amount of forced displacement increased by 103 per cent (3.6 million people) between 2016 and 2020. These negative trends are further projected to deteriorate caused by rapid population growth (expected to double by 2050) and the effects of climate change. The Sahel is already experiencing temperature increases 1.5 times faster than the global average.

In response to these trends, the number of people in need across the Sahel are increasing while humanitarian response plans remain underfunded. In fact, in 2020 alone there was a 56 per cent humanitarian funding gap.

The underlying drivers of poverty, food insecurity, conflict and forced displacement in the Sahel such as a lack of local governance (including natural resource management and access to land), low education rates, poor access to health, as well as a lack of jobs and livelihood opportunities are often overlooked by actors across the Humanitarian, Development, and Peace- Nexus (HDP-N). Instead, more attention is given to the symptoms such as food insecurity, forced displacement, and conflict. The effects of climate change on these parameters are often reductionist, establishing direct causal links between a changing environment and food insecurity, conflict, and forced displacement, rather than a risk enhancer of their underlying drivers. Acknowledging the latter will help donors direct more climate finance towards the drivers of fragility rather than its effects.

Date - 12 May - 2023

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