SE076 The RBA partnership to strengthen resilience for food security, nutrition and gender equality: Joint Rome-based Agencies' and partners' impact in operationalizing resilience in DRC, Niger and Somalia along the humanitarian-development nexus


  • Canada
  • FAO
  • IFAD
  • WFP

In October 2015, the CFS endorsed the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crisis (CFS-FFA), which confirmed the importance of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in protracted crises, and brought to a multistakeholder level some of the key messages of the three Rome-based Agencies (RBA) joint conceptual framework on resilience for food security and nutrition, adopted in April 2015.

In 2015 and 2016, the RBAs co-facilitated CFS events on resilience, such as two side-events and a plenary event, which triggered interest from multiple stakeholders in the RBA endeavour to move from concept to field operationalization of resilience.

In March 2017, Canada and the RBAs launched a flagship 5-year Joint Resilience Initiative to strengthen resilience in protracted crisis contexts in the DRC, the Niger and Somalia. The initiative is directly relevant to the operationalization by the RBAs and their partners of the CFS-FFA and its 11 principles. While hunger and acute food insecurity are on the rise globally (SOFI and Global report on food crises 2017, 2018 and 2019), protracted crisis, fragile and humanitarian contexts, in which hunger levels are three times higher than in average developing countries, and gender inequalities deeper and more acute, pose the greatest challenge to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The joint resilience programme, using a participatory and inclusive approach, is combining and sequencing the short-, medium- and long-term analytical, planning, programmatic and operational tools and approaches for resilience of the three agencies. It represents an unprecedented effort to involve, support and invest in the same vulnerable communities over a five-year period through integrated, context-specific, gender- and nutrition-sensitive assistance packages. These are identified by communities through participatory planning and aligned to national priorities. It builds on and complements other recent and on-going initiatives funded by other resource partners (including, but not limited to, France, Belgium, USA, Sweden, European Commission, CERF, etc.), in the same countries and same areas. It focuses particularly on sustainably improving child nutrition, gender equality, peaceful governance of renewable natural resources, agricultural productivity and livelihoods resilience in three fragile contexts affected by violence, conflict, recurrent climate and other shocks. Finally, the programme is also a platform for other partners (national Governments, Farmer and Rural Women groups and organizations, other UN agencies such as UNICEF and UN Women, research partners, etc.) to join and collaborate.

After 2 years of implementation and looking at the remaining 3 years, the side event will provide the opportunity to share with CFS stakeholders the recent progress, achievements and upcoming priorities under the RBA partnership on resilience in the three countries and beyond.

Key speakers/presenters

Opening remarks

  • Alexandra Bugailiskis, Ambassador of Canada to the Italian Republic and Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations.

Panel discussion, facilitated by:

  • Darana Souza, Nutrition and Food Systems officer, FAO

With the participation of:

  • Idrissa Issa Abarchi, Rome-based Agencies Project Coordinator, Niger
  • Yusuf Artan, Programme Policy Officer - Livelihoods, WFP, Somalia
  • Andrew Lanyon, Resilience and Rural Development Coordinator, FAO, Somalia
  • Andrea Sánchez Enciso, Dimitra Clubs Support Unit, ESP, FAO

Main themes/issues discussed 

During the side-event, an update in terms of the recent progress, achievements and upcoming priorities in the implementation of the RBA Resilience Initiative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Niger and Somalia was presented and discussed. The programme, funded by Canada and launched in 2017, is a flagship RBA partnership to strengthen resilience for food security, nutrition and gender equality in three contexts of protracted crisis.
After a short video about the DRC component of the programme, the Ambassador of Canada shared her thoughts on the initiative. The first two presentations were dedicated to an update on the Niger and Somalia components of programme, while the last presentation focused on the Dimitra Clubs, a gender-responsive and socially transformative approach, promoted by the programme in the DRC and Niger.
The main themes discussed revolve around the recent increase in the number of hungry people, primarily due to conflict and protracted crises and the adverse impact of climate shocks, the progress in the implementation of the Initiative at country level, the ongoing thematic exchanges and cross-fertilization between the three country components, the importance of gender-responsive approaches for resilience, the need to increase collaboration between the RBAs at country level as well as the partnerships with a broader range of actors to strengthen resilience at scale.

Summary of key points

The presentations and discussions focused on the following main topics:

  • The importance of bridging the gap between humanitarian and development assistance particularly in conflict and protracted crisis settings, which is one of the reason for which the programme was developed. Narrowing this gap requires to have a long term vision of how to tackle the drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition at country level, and to aim for stronger and more sustained development impact
  • The gender-responsive nature of the Initiative and the importance to monitor the impact that activities are having on the lives of women and girls, particularly in relation to Gender-based Violence
  • The importance of multi-year funding as an incentive for the RBAs to work together at country level, to collaborate better and to align their activities in a complementary way
  • Several models of RBA collaboration at country level, including the establishment of a joint RBA team to manage a portfolio of joint programmes at country level (such as in DRC) or the recruitment of RBA programme coordinator to improve the coordination between the three agencies (such as in Niger)
  • The open nature of RBA collaboration at country level as a framework that other partners can join (example of the collaboration with the Government in Niger and the alignment of initiatives by DFID, USAID and UNICEF in Somalia)

Key take away messages

Strengthening the resilience of livelihoods of vulnerable communities for food security and nutrition is an integral part of RBA mandate and programming at country level. The RBA Resilience Initiative in the DRC, Niger and Somalia illustrates how RBA collaboration can generate powerful impact even in protracted crisis and conflict settings with adequate coordination, layering, and sequencing. Integrating individual agencies’ activities and leveraging their comparative advantage on themes such as nutrition, women leadership, gender equality, sustainable and fair access to renewable natural resources, the RBA Resilience Initiative is contributing to bridging the gap between humanitarian and development assistance and generating gender and peace outcomes for food-insecure and vulnerable households and communities.



CFS 46 Side Event: SE076 The RBA partnership to strengthen resilience for food security, nutrition and gender equality


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