At a national conference on nutrition and food security in Possotome, Benin, in August GIZ Country Director Andreas König pointed out that the forum aimed to sensitise the Benin government to put more emphasis on nutrition security. Combating malnutrition worldwide was an important concern of the German government, König stressed.
The event, the first of its kind, was held in close cooperation with the Benin National Council For food and Nutrition, attended by roughly 60 leaders, who are stakeholders in nutrition security and high-ranking political decision-makers. The country package for Benin in the global SEWOH BMZ special initiative “One World-Zero Hunger”, which aims to promote nutrition security worldwide, organised the event.
Seizing the opportunity
The Benin National Council For food and Nutrition stressed the extraordinary opportunity the conference offered to check up on interventions of the different actors. Despite all previous international forums about the impact of international development cooperation, such as Monterrey 2003, Paris 2005 and Busan 2011, tangible implementation had not yet been achieved. Having seen the major institutional architecture that Benin had developed to reverse malnutrition trends in the country, the council hoped that palpable results and progress would be achieved in the realisation of aid efficiency in nutrition programmes, in line with international agreements on development aid.
The representatives from the Benin Ministry of Agriculture and the State Ministry of Planning and Development agreed to advocate for concerted and synergic support to promote nutrition and food security.
Mayors and heads of social centres of the five Municipalities (Natitingou, Tanguiéta, Toucountouna, Kérou and Péhunco in the Atacora Department in the northwest of Benin) reported staffing and financial shortages in their local communities. Nadia Fanou, a nutritionist at Abomey-Calavi University, stressed the importance of scientific support for food security measures. The University’s Institute for Food Security has created a centralised database that allows improvements in the coordination of tools and of the monitoring systems amongst the different actors.
The participants agreed that the council as the national co-ordination authority should be strengthened in view of creating synergies. They were in favour of a number of measures to achieve this, including:
- Setting up an inventory of food security actors
- Identifying elements to be harmonised concerning indicators, target groups, approaches and a monitoring system
- Elaborating a national nutrition policy and the updating of the national strategy for food and nutrition development
The participants appealed to the policy-makers to improve equipment and staffing of decentralised (social) government services working in the field of food and nutrition security. In addition, it was decided that the permanent secretary of the council, which is attached to the office of the President of the Republic, would directly inform the Head of State, as well as the State Minister of Planning, on the results of the conference. Periodical follow up meetings will be organised by the council and its partners.
First results shall be reached three months after the meeting.
High level political participation
Deputy Chief of Staff Orou Dèkè Gonroudobou, Secretary General Françoise Assoba Komlan from Benin’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP) and Benin Ministry of Planning and Development Director Rufino d’Almeida participated in the discussion. Three members of the parliamentarians’ network for nutrition, the director for mother and child health from Benin’s Ministry of Health as well as the programme directors from MAEP and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development contributed to the event, which was chaired by the World Bank representative at the meeting, Ambroise Agbota.
Other important actors included the Belgian Development Agency (CTB) via their nutrition project AMSANA (Appui Multisectoriel à la Sécurité Alimentaire et Nutritionnelle dans l’Atacora), the Adapting agriculture to climate Change (PACC) of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), CARE Benin, the President of the National Agricultural University Porto-Novo/Benin and the Dean of Abomey Calavi University’s Agronomic Faculty. A delegation from Togo, consisting of members of the sister project ProSecAl, the co-ordinator of the rural development project ProDRA (Programme pour le Développement Rural et l’Agriculture au Togo), delegates from the Togolese Ministry of Health and the government focal point for nutrition of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Initiative shared their experiences.
Download the global report of the conference (in French)Rapport général atelier de Possotomè_ProSAR_CAN_08_2017
- Beckmann Nadescha, Junior expert, SEWOH Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience Project Benin Benin, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Behrens Rüdiger, Team leader, SEWOH Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience Project Benin, email@example.com
- Mongbo Roch, secretary general of the Benin National Council For food and Nutrition, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Toleba Mamam, Political Technical Advisor for Food and Nutrition Security, SEWOH Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience Project Benin, email@example.com