The Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management (PREGEC)

The Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management (PREGEC)

The principles of the Charter constitute the backbone of the Network. The new Charter, approved in November 2011 after an inclusive consultation process, covers the fifteen ECOWAS member countries as well as Chad and Mauritania. Placing regional solidarity and mutual responsibility at the centre of action, this code of good conduct addresses the root causes of food crises. It calls on signatories to strengthen information systems and dialogue platforms, and to ensure the coherence of interventions, thereby improving the effectiveness of collective action. The Charter is subject to internal and external assessments conducted within the framework of the RPCA.

2nd Charter evaluation


1st Charter evaluation

The first external evaluation of the PREGEC Charter is currently being conducted in the 17 member countries of CILSS, ECOWAS and UEMOA, with a view to establishing benchmarks for the relevant indicators. At the restricted RPCA meeting in Lomé, Togo, from 2 to 4 March 2015, RPCA Members welcomed the provisional results of this external evaluation and validated a revised timeline for the completion of the work. Under this new roadmap, the interim evaluation report will be validated by the Steering Committee on the sidelines of the June 2015 meeting of the food crisis prevention and management system (PREGEC).

The process:

  • A grid of indicators for monitoring and evaluation was validated by RPCA stakeholders during the 29th RPCA annual meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 25 to 27 November 2013. Both regular external evaluations and continuous in situ assessments conducted by the national information systems rely on the common list of indicators.
  • Terms of Reference for the first external evaluation were presented at the restricted RPCA meeting at the OECD headquarters in Paris, on 15-16 April 2014.
  • Members of the Steering Committee, including representatives of CILSS, the ECOWAS and UEMOA commissions, USAID, ROPPA and the SWAC Secretariat, met on 29 October 2014 at the Sahel Institute (Insah/CILSS) headquarters in Bamako with the consultants of ISSALA/LARES who were selected to carry out this evaluation. The purpose of the workshop was to ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of the terms of reference and expectations for the assessment. Participants discussed logistical challenges, including the number of countries covered and the likely impact on the timetable. Consultations build on inputs from national consultants.
  • Information on the process and preliminary findings were shared with ECOWAS and UEMOA decision-making bodies on 13-15 December 2014 and during the 30th RPCA annual meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, on 17-18 December 2014.
  • A roadmap with a revised timeline was approved during the restricted RPCA meeting in Lomé, Togo, 2-4 March 2015.

Set of instruments

The “Set of Instruments for Food Crisis Management” is a tool aimed at facilitating the application of the Charter, for which concerned parties committed to « define response options and instruments through the strategic framework for food crisis management depending on food crisis origin and causes ». It aims to encourage a better use of response instruments based on the nature, importance and scope of each food and nutritional crisis. The Set of Instruments will also facilitate and promote the implementation of the initiative ‘Zero Hunger’ launched by the UN Secretary-General as well as regional initiatives in the Sahel and West Africa, in particular the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR), the regional agricultural policies of ECOWAS (ECOWAP) and UEMOA (PAU), Regional Agricultural Investment Plans (PRIA) and their national components (PNIA), by bringing concrete options to operationalise them. The context that motivated this first revision is marked by multifactorial food and nutrition crises linked to the combination of various types of shocks: climatic, socio-economic, security and health-related. It is the result of analysis and compilation work carried out by a panel of experts under the guidance of the RPCA and coordinated by the SWAC Secretariat.

The Food Aid Charter

The Food Aid Charter adopted in 1990 by Heads of State of CILSS member countries and contributing members of the Club du Sahel/OECD is a code of conduct which has provided significant impacts with regard to food crises prevention and management in the Sahel. The Charter defines the basic principles that food aid donors and national authorities of Sahelian States agree to respect in order to circumvent negative effects of this aid.

New context of food insecurity

The Food Aid Charter was elaborated in the context of drought crises and famines in the 1980s. The Code of Good Conduct in Food Crisis Prevention and Management needed to be adapted to new food security challenges and enlarge its geographic coverage to the whole West African region. In particular, the revised version responds to the following evolutions:

  • Entrance of new donors on to the scene who did not sign the Charter in 1990 as well as civil society groups determinedly involved in food security;
  • Evolution of the nature of food crises and instruments with which to manage them;
  • The need to take into account the responsibility of inter-governmental organisations in addition to that of the States.

Revision process

The revision was based on the retrospective evaluation of the application of the Food Aid Charter and a prospective thinking about the evolution of the context in which food crisis develop and the new issues at stake that food security actors will have to face in the future. Three principles guided the revision of the Charter which should aim at:

  • Combining the concern of keeping a Charter focused on food aid while considering the concern of innovation and openness in line with the evolution of current and future issues and stakes;
  • Putting emphasis on principles which are easily applicable and measurable;
  • Taking into account the new situations of non-Sahelian West African countries and including the issue of food crisis prevention and management into the context of sub-regional integration across the entire region.

Conducted within the RPCA by an international committee composed of civil society representatives, the revision process had two main phases:

Phase 1: Assessment and analysis of the new context

The SWAC/CILSS conducted a general reflection on the new food security context. The new issues at stake cover thematic dimensions (diversification and increased complexity of crisis, diversification of tools for responding to these crises, etc.), geographic dimensions (Sahel/West Africa) and institutional aspects (ascendancy of new actors, strengthening of regional integration institutions).

> New Contexts and Food Security Issues in the Sahel and West Africa (French)

In order to get a better understanding of the use and application of the Food Aid Charter by donors and the beneficiary countries, three CILSS member states were reviewed: Chad, Mali and Mauritania. The case of the Niger crisis in 2004/05 was also analysed. These assessments provided new inputs for the Charter’s revision process.

> Review of the Food Aid Charter’s Application in the Sahel: 2001-2006 (French)

Phase 2: Consultation, negotiation and adoption

Consultations workshops were conducted in the 15 ECOWAS member countries, as well as in Chad and Mauritania, complemented by experts’ meetings at the international level in order to ensure ownership by all stakeholders: government representatives, farmers’ organisations, civil society, private sector representatives, technical and financial partners. The draft version of the new Charter, submitted for examination by experts and for approval by ministers, is the fruition of this extensive consultation process.

Phase 1 : Évaluation et analyse du nouveau contexte

Une réflexion sur le nouveau contexte a été organisée par le Secrétariat exécutif du CILSS et le Secrétariat CSAO/OCDE. Les nouveaux enjeux et défis concernent des dimensions: i)  thématiques (complexification et hybridation des crises alimentaires, diversité des instruments de gestion des crises alimentaires, etc.) ; ii) géographiques (interdépendance des espaces Sahel et Afrique de l’Ouest) ; iii) institutionnelles (montée en puissance de nouveaux acteurs, besoin de renforcement de l’intégration régionale).

> Nouveaux contextes et enjeux de sécurité alimentaire en Afrique de l’Ouest

De même, dans le souci d’avoir une meilleure compréhension de la l’application de la Charte, une revue rétrospective 2001-2006 a été conduite par le CILSS et le Club et a couvert trois pays (Mali, Mauritanie et Tchad), ainsi que le cas spécifique de la crise alimentaire au Niger en 2004/2005. Les conclusions de cette revue ont alimenté le processus de révision de la Charte.

> Bilan de l’application de la Charte de l’aide alimentaire au Sahel: 2001 à 2006

Phase 2 : Consultations, négociations et adoption
Sur la base d’un document provisoire produit par un panel d’experts incluant des ouest-africains, des consultations nationales ont été organisées dans les 17 Etats membres de la CEDEAO, de l’UEMOA et du CILSS. Ces dialogues nationaux ont été suivis par une consultation régionale impliquant toutes les parties prenantes, représentants des gouvernements, des organisations inter-gouvernementales, des organisations professionnelles agricoles, de la société civile et du secteur privé, des partenaires techniques et financiers. La version révisée du document a par la suite été soumise pour examen par les experts des pays et adoption par les Ministres.

Former evaluations

first external evaluation of the new Charter for Food Crisis Prevention is currently conducted.

  • Food for Thought: A civil society evaluation of the implementation of the Charter for Food Crisis Prevention and Management, December 2012

Evaluations of the Food Aid Charter (French)

  • Synthesis Note on the Application of the Food Aid Charter in Sahelian countries, November 1991
  • Summary Record, Assessment of the application of the Food Aid Charter in Sahelian countries, November 1993
  • Evaluation of the application of the Food Aid Charter in Mauritania, January 1998
  • Evaluation of the application of the Food Aid Charter in Niger, January 1998
  • Evaluation of the application of the Food Aid Charter in Senegal, January 1998
  • Evaluation of the application of the Food Aid Charter in Chad, January 1998
  • Evaluation of the application of the Food Aid Charter in Mauritania, January 1999
  • Review of the Food Aid Charter’s Application in the Sahel: 2001-2006
  • Evaluation of the application of the Food Aid Charter in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger, November 2001