Created in 1984, the RPCA is an international network for co-operation and co-ordination under the political leadership of ECOWAS and UEMOA and co-animated by CILSS and the SWAC/OECD Secretariat. It brings together Sahelian and West African countries, bilateral and multilateral co-operation agencies, humanitarian agencies and international NGOs, agricultural professional organisations, civil society and the private sector and regional and international information systems, with ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS at the centre.

A unique platform in Africa, the Network’s meetings are part of a regional system for the prevention of food crises (PREGEC) with six phases of consultation, the most important being the annual meeting in December and the restricted meeting in April. During these gatherings, members agree on the assessment and prospects of the agro-forestry-pastoral campaign and the food and nutritional situation as well as on measures to cope with crises. The continual search for consensus and co-ordination are powerful levers for improving the effectiveness of actions on the ground.

The recurrent crises that disproportionately affect the millions of chronically vulnerable people also led Network Members to form a Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) - Sahel and West Africa. By bringing together the expertise of the humanitarian and development spheres, by mobilising in unified approach the available resources for social protection and livelihoods, nutrition, maternal and child health, agricultural development, natural resources management to benefit the most vulnerable populations, the Alliance aims to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

Origins | Challenges | Brochure | PREGEC Cycle | Policy Notes | Links | Images

Did you know?

  • West Africa might be the best prepared region to respond to and mitigate the impact of food crises. Pioneering regional co-operation in Africa, it is endowed with a consultation and co-ordination framework adopted in 1984 (RPCA), and a regional system for the prevention and management of crises (PREGEC).
  • The CILSS/AGRHYMET Regional Centre and ACMAD are the region’s agro-meteorological centres internationally reputed for their excellence. 
  • Thanks to the RPCA platform, West Africa is now an official Observer of the G20 Working Group on Development. The region participates in all preparatory meetings, representing African interests alongside South Africa.



‌Ibrahima Dieme 
UEMOA Commissioner 
for Food Security, Agriculture, Mines and Environment

‌François-Xavier de Donnea 
SWAC President

Guy Evers
Representative of the UN organisations 


“Placed under the leadership of Sahelian and West African regional organisations, the RPCA is an essential decision-making tool and its recommendations now feed directly into our decision-making bodies, in particular the UEMOA High-Level Committee on Food Security (CHN-SA) and the ECOWAS Specialised Technical Ministerial Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources (CTS-AERE). That is why we are all committed to reshaping and strengthening the RPCA, so that it responds effectively to our needs in the field of food security.”


“For nearly three decades, this Network has been at work in West Africa, progressively building consensual policies to ensure food and nutritional security for millions of people. [...] The RPCA is evolving, pushing forward innovative ideas and improving food crisis prevention and management tools. If the Network still exists today and continues to grow in number and strength, it is because above all it is built on the political legitimacy of Sahelian and West African regional institutions with a mandate from the governments of the region. It nourishes and is nourished by this political legitimacy around which it solidifies and strengthens regional governance.”

"Recognising the importance that the UN attaches to PREGEC and the RPCA, we recently revised our humanitarian programme cycle to await the full results and analysis of the Harmonised Framework. The next humanitarian appeal will therefore be launched in early February 2014. (...) In addition, we will also align the "UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel" (in particular Goal 3 on resilience) with the AGIR Alliance."


Origins & Evolution

For further information on the origins of the Network


Food Security Challenges

The Sahel famines of 1973 and 1984 are etched in the memory of all, as the entire world discovered the disastrous consequences of these terrible droughts. Despite strong international mobilisation, a full assessment revealed many deficiencies in the management of crises and particularly of aid. The region’s food security actors and their development partners therefore decided to join forces to create information tools and mechanisms to strengthen the co-ordination of interventions through the RPCA. Since then, thanks in particular to the work of the Network, Sahelian and West African countries have progressed in protecting themselves from the consequences of such catastrophes.

Food security remains, however, a key challenge for the entire region. Current food crises are more complex and multi-faceted than in the past. The regional population has doubled since the beginning of the 1980s; urban population saw a twentyfold increase between 1950 and 2010. Global markets have an increasingly strong impact and new actors are shaping the institutional landscape. Despite significant progress, the absolute number of people suffering from hunger is currently higher than during the 1980s. In March 2012, approximately six million people were in a state of severe food insecurity. The majority of the Sahelian countries have an acute malnutrition rate of around 15%, higher than the emergency threshold. Ensuring the smooth running of markets, increasing investment in food production, and improving the living conditions of vulnerable households and their access to basic services (health, education, water-sanitation-hygiene, etc.) are some of today’s key challenges for sustainable food and nutritional security.

By leveraging the potential of its agriculture and youth, West Africa can count on its regional organisations to take a leadership role in the fight against food and nutritional insecurity. Regional policies/strategies and common governance mechanisms, of which the RPCA is one of the pillars, are evidence of the strength of regional solidarity.


The PREGEC Cycle

To facilitate consensus-building, the network relies on the expertise of its Members, notably those specialised in the production and analysis of information on food and nutritional security (CILSS, FAO, FEWS NET, UNOCHA, WFP). Regular consultations are an integral part of the Regional System for the Prevention and Management of Food Crises (PREGEC) comprising six major steps:

June: Technical meeting:

  • Launch of the agricultural campaign and preparation for monitoring of the rainy season;
  • Review of the agro-meteorological and climatic forecast.

September: Technical meeting:

  • Quantified forecast of cereals production and the evolution of the rainy season;
  • Action plan for at risk areas;
  • Monitoring of actions conducted since March.

November: Technical meeting:

  • Analysis of the food situation in at-risk areas
  • Preparation for the annual meeting;

December: Annual meeting of the Network:

  • Provisional assessment of the agricultural campaign;
  • Monitoring of the Network’s priority work areas;
  • Recommendations to policy makers.

March: Technical meeting:

  • Final assessment of the agricultural and food situation at the national and regional levels
  • Preparation for the RPCA meeting in April;

April: Restricted meeting of the Network at the OECD headquarters:

  • Recommendations to policy makers;
  • Forum for exchange and advocacy with representatives of OECD member countries.

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