A map of Mauritania showing its cities and borders with Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali and Senegal.Mauritania is confronted by a wide range of chronic vulnerabilities. Due to its food deficit, the country must import 70% percent of its food. Environmental degradation and the adverse effects of climate change affect rural productivity; the country is regularly exposed to high levels of food insecurity (often over 25%), as well as malnutrition exceeding the emergency thresholds of 2% SAM and/or 10% MAM. The protracted presence of over 53,000 refugees from Mali compounds the range of humanitarian needs.

Common Outcomes

The Partnership Framework for Sustainable Development (CPDD) 2018-2022 is articulated on 3 Strategic Priorities and 10 outcomes. Within these, four were selected as “common outcomes” sitting at the humanitarian / development nexus. The common outcomes focus on two broad areas: 1) improving food security and nutrition conditions, reinforcing livelihoods, broadening inclusive access to economic opportunities, and 2) improving equitable access to quality basic services and social protection.

  • Outcome 1.2: access to livelihood, to decent jobs and to economic opportunities is strengthened, and food security is improved.
  • Outcome 1.3: Institutions and communities contribute to sustainable management of natural resources, and to anticipate/respond to crises and to the effects of climate change.
  • Outcome 2.2: vulnerable populations have access to adequate/durable services for health, nutrition, WASH.
  • Outcome 2.3: Institutions, civil society and communities ensure improved protection against different forms of discrimination.

This “commonality” will be further articulated at the level of Outputs and Indicators, and specific 5-year targets will be set in agreement among all partners, as part of the Annual Work Plan formulation process. 

Where do we stand?

Joint Analysis and Planning

In February, the Government of Mauritania and the UN signed the Partnership Framework for Sustainable Development (CPDD) 2018-2022, replacing the UNDAF. The CPDD contributes to respond to both humanitarian and development challenges, fully integrating the two planning streams. While signed between the Government and the UN, it also includes as essential partners most International NGOs in Mauritania.

The CPDD purports to strengthen coherence and humanitarian/development integration on the basis of a common analysis of the context, of risks and vulnerabilities. To deepen this common understanding, the process benefitted from a Resilience Systems Analysis led by OECD, as well as regular joint support by OCHA and UNDP/CRU. 

Lessons learned

Context and flexibility

The fully integrated CPDD planning in Mauritania is premised on the chronicity of most vulnerabilities. Other contexts may need different approaches. Flexibility is paramount across different contexts, and in the same Country as well. The CPDD explicitly foresees a degree of flexibility at the level of annual work-planning, to allow for adaptation to unforeseen peaks in humanitarian needs. However, specific situations may go beyond the margins allowed by this flexibility; a case in point, in 2018 food security and nutrition needs are exceptionally high and require a specific, additional humanitarian plan. 

Systemic issues

Ensuring coherent policy and operational guidance from HQ is key to avoiding different offices (UN and non-UN) having different understandings of the NWOW. A new set of tools needs to be prepared (formats for new “UNDAFs”, linkages of integrated plans to existing M&E systems such as those managed by OCHA at the global level, among others).

Mindset shift

So crucial, and so difficult. The mindset shift needs to cut across all stakeholders, UN, NGOs, Government and donors, among others. Sustained and consistent advocacy is of the essence.


Making it work on the ground - Challenges and opportunities

Adapted financing - the missing link?

At first glance, the “field” perspective from Mauritania would seem to show a rather immutable donors’ landscape, with little adaptation in mandates and procedures to adapt to integrated planning and the need to cater for a New Way of Working. Funding streams seem still to be premised on the traditional humanitarian – development dichotomy, remaining rather separate.

However, integrated planning in Mauritania is at an early stage and promising spaces for discussion and coordination among all partners do exist; they will need to be put to good use collectively by all actors. It may be worth considering funding modalities designed specifically to support NWOW efforts and the mentality shift.

Zones de convergence

The CPDD partners acknowledge that implementing the plan in an integrated manner remains a crucial challenge. In order to sharpen integration at the delivery end, closer to beneficiaries on the ground, one of the measures considered is the establishment of “convergence zones”, areas of concentration of collective and highly coordinated actions, in order to maximize synergies, impact and efficiency. One such zone hinges on the refugee-hosting areas of south-eastern Mauritania, for which a specific strategy is being finalised; this includes immediate assistance as well as longer-term resilience and self-reliance actions, targeting on an equitable base both the refugees and the host community.