Eliminating hunger in West Africa is the main objective of a new project launched by West African countries, Germany and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, it was reported Thursday. Co-funded by the German government and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the three-year project will support ECOWAS and its member countries in working towards a hunger-free West Africa by building on existing policies and programs, increasing stakeholder engagement and amplifying the current political commitment in the region. Germany is providing 2.4 million U.S. Dollars, while ECOWAS has confirmed its commitment to co-fund the initiative and to ensure adequate participation of all member countries, FAO said in a press release. Several ECOWAS countries saw a steady reduction in hunger until 2006-2008 but progress has slowed since. The food price crisis in 2008 and a drought-triggered emergency in the Sahel earlier this year, when up to 19 million people were at risk of food insecurity, showed that countries struggle to maintain lower figures of undernourishment and malnutrition in times of stress and external shocks.