Nairobi meeting on food crisis – Communique

1 August 2011

We faith leaders and representatives of Pan Africa Christian Organisations and Partners (see full list of participants below) that are involved in humanitarian and pastoral response, met in Nairobi on the 9th of August, 2011 under the auspices of Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). This is the first regional ecumenical and interdenominational gathering in response to the food insecurity and humanitarian crisis. The essence of our meeting was to reflect on the current and persistent food insecurity and humanitarian crisis that has affected a number of African countries, especially those in the Eastern and Horn of Africa. We also collectively explored short and long term strategies that are sustainable, which both communities and churches can implement without necessarily depending on foreign aid. We also sought to complement the ongoing collective international, regional and national advocacy around food security, climate change. As faith leaders we recognize that:

  • We are accountable for the manner in which we have handled planet earth and for our differences resulting in the incredible suffering of over 12.4 million of our brothers, sisters and children through drought and continuing conflict in the region (UNOCHA 2011);
  • We are also accountable for the fact that in this age of advanced scientific knowledge we are still unable to bring this knowledge to bear on the challenges of food security;

We are calling on the International community to:

  • Meet the US$ 1.4 billion humanitarian funding gap and provide the necessary technical support to meet the needs of the affected population, especially women and children (UN Media Advisory 2011). Particular attention much be paid to funding for emergency health and nutrition interventions, as well as child protection programmes;
  • Ensure that global food security is given high priority at the G20 meeting in Cannes on 3-4 November, 2011. Food aid is no substitute for food security.
  • Engage the UN High Level Task Force on Global Food Security (HLTF) to review progress of the Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security (GPAFS) agreed in 2009 in light of the current food and drought crisis in the Horn of Africa. Special attention must be given to address volatility of global agricultural prices, spending on agriculture with a view to increasing agricultural productivity in line with the calls made by civil society, including faith-based communities;
  • The United Nations and the Arab League should champion the search for fresh mechanisms that ensure compassionate and accountable leadership that will address the root causes of the emerging culture of conflict and protest which inevitably interrupts the food production cycle and capacities of communities.

Noting the above context, we are urgently calling upon the African Union (AU), regional blocks and its regional members:

  • To address the immediate needs and root causes of the crisis affecting the Somali population and the refugee populations in Kenya and Ethiopia and also work towards establishing a credible and inclusive Somali-led mechanism for civil engagement, peace building and reconciliation processes. Protection for the affected population, especially children, must be a priority.
  • Develop an integrated cross border development programme for addressing the needs of pastoralist communities of Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia to strengthen security and provide sustainable long term livelihoods options;
  • The proposed African Union donor conference was a welcome step forward. However its postponement from 9 August to 25 August is disappointing and needs to be urgently reviewed given the immediacy of the humanitarian needs;
  • To increase budgetary support to agriculture to 10% of the total national budget as per the Maputo Declaration with a special focus on small holder farmers, food storage, agricultural research and extension services, as well as ensuring that small-scale farmers have access to affordable credit facilities;
  • In addition, bring together the African Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS, SADC, COMESA, EAC and IGAD) to reinforce information sharing and learning between the RECs based on experiences of the most recent responses to similar crises in West and Southern Africa with a view to develop a comprehensive pan African plan of action to address immediate humanitarian needs and future humanitarian crises.

As faith institution and leaders, we are committed to:

  • Create a sustainable framework to provide spiritual support to survivors of this crisis and the staff of humanitarian organisations and network with other individuals and organisations of good will to relieve the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the affected communities;
  • As Faith leaders, we will continue to accompany and support the affected communities, advocating and promoting the oneness of our humanity globally and recognising that money alone, without a renewed approach to lifestyles, is not enough. We must act together and harness our resourcefulness to secure a stable future for the generations to come.
  • Use our grassroots structures to enhance community efforts towards food security through provision of appropriate technology and knowledge;
  • Create liturgies that can bring an authentic response to issues of concern prevalent in our respective communities;
  • Seek to engage in interfaith dialogue so as not to allow our denominational and faith interests to come in the way of responding to the acute needs that are threatening the life and the dignity of the human family;

Having reflected on these issues and the current predicaments that our brothers and sisters in Eastern and Horn of Africa go through as a result of food insecurity, we hereby recognize:

  • The efforts of all local and international humanitarian entities including the local communities for responding to their neighbour plight.
  • The role of national and international media agencies for highlighting the plight of our brothers and sisters in the eastern and horn of Africa in relation to the food insecurity, conflict and drought.
  • The involvement of private and public business enterprises in their collective responses and imitative such as the “the Kenyans for Kenya” initiatives.

In showing solidarity and support to our brothers and sister affected by the current crisis, we the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) hereby launch an appeal for financial aid from all good people and well wisher. This appeal will be used to support local partners that are working in the affected areas. Because our intention is not only to deal with immediate needs, but to find long term solutions. This appeal will extend up to the end of 2012.

The Most Rev Ian Ernest
Chairman of CAPA and Archbishop of the Province of Indian Ocean
August 10, 2011


Full list of participants:

AACC – All Africa Conference of Churches, ACK – Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Alliance, CAPA – Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, EHAIA – Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa, FECCLAHA – Fellowship of Christian Councils in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa, LWF –Lutheran World Federation , OAIC – Organisation of African Instituted Churches, WSCF – World Students Christian Federation, EAA – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, ACT Alliance – Action by Churches Together and World Vision.

Sources:

UNOCHA Horn of Africa Drought Crisis Update & Developments, 2 August 2011

UN Media Advisory: UN calls for more funds to save lives across Horn of Africa, 29 July 2011 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39189&Cr=horn+of+africa&Cr1=