The agreement – the result of Government-led consultations, supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) – includes a list of 170 successful projects that can be scaled up and expanded throughout the region, including growing trees, rehabilitating land, and digging water wells and irrigation systems. It caps off months of planning and two days of talks in Nairobi that ended today between officials from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, along with the UN, regional bodies, donors, international financial institutions, research organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). “The hard work starts now,” said Kjell Magne Bondevik, UN Special Humanitarian Envoy to the Horn of Africa. “We have identified what works best and where. The biggest challenge is to scale up successes to extinguish hunger in the Horn rather than just fighting fires each time one breaks out.” More than 70 million people – 45 per cent of the total population – in the Horn live in abject poverty and face food shortages. In the past six years, four major droughts hit the region. “The Horn is hit by some of the world’s most severe food crises and they are coming faster and more furious because of climate change, environmental degradation, political and armed conflicts and a host of other factors,” he said. “We all now need to show the commitment to end this cycle of despair and disaster, which if not stopped could next see over 20 million people in need of assistance.” “In the Horn of Africa to end this scourge, we need to protect and rebuild the livelihoods of the food insecure and enhance their long-term resilience to shocks such as droughts. This is what we hope to do in this comprehensive partnership,” said FAO Assistant Director-General Tesfai Tecle. 26 June 2007The United Nations agencies at the forefront of the battle against hunger announced today that six African Governments and the UN have agreed on a road map to tackle the root causes of rising hunger across the drought-plagued Horn of Africa, warning that the next major crisis could force more than 20 million people into needing emergency assistance.