Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced the appointment of Stephen O’Brien MP as UK Special Representative for the Sahel. It’s good to see this crucial issue receiving renewed attention from the UK government.
As a former minister at the Department for International Development, Mr O’Brien will know well the seriousness of the humanitarian situation in this part of West and Central Africa. More than 18 million people are facing a desperate food crisis and cannot find, harvest or afford the food that once nourished them.
It is vital that we lay the right foundation for lasting change in the Sahel – a region that has plunged into crisis for the third time in under a decade. The challenges of development and security are complex. But six countries in the region already have long-term, vetted plans to give people the tools they need to lift themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty. Some of the world’s most powerful countries have pledged to help fund these plans. But unless they act right now, these plans will just gather dust.
Almost 152,000 people have already signed our petition calling on world leaders to act urgently, including by funding the UN’s humanitarian appeal in the Sahel, and in particular supporting plans for long-term investment in farming to help end the cycle of crisis. If you haven’t already done so, add your name now. We hope that Mr O’Brien will too.
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