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Food and Agriculture Based Approaches to safeguarding nutrition before, during and after emergencies: The experience of FAO
Agriculture has an important role to play as part of a more integrated package to tackle nutrition in emergencies. In order to maximise the impact of agricultural based responses, two “lenses” are important. First, a “nutrition lens” to ensure that projects and programmes are designed, implemented and monitored with nutritional outcomes in mind. Second, a “Disaster Risk Management” lens, which highlights the importance of reducing the impact of disasters through risk reduction and recovery actions in addition to standard response actions.
FAO is involved in a range of emergency projects with assumed or measured nutritional impacts. The Organization is striving to apply both “lenses” to nutrition related interventions and to highlight the importance of agriculture related nutrition interventions in emergencies; however, there are a number of challenges. Meeting these challenges requires a blend of activities which include: awareness raising amongst the food security “community”; incorporating nutrition-related approaches, defining objectives as well as required indicators for targeting and monitoring (e.g. dietary diversity for adults, diversity of complementary foods for children); building-up the evidence base on agriculture-nutrition linkages through improved effective and joint implementation, M&E and lessons sharing; advocating joint planning by agencies at country level using a shared conceptual and analytical framework for food and agricultural interventions; enhanced articulation between the new Food Security and already existing Nutrition clusters, and; strengthened enforcement of nutrition goals and mainstreaming in appeal programme and project documents and monitoring. Using the “right to food” principle to promote sustainable food based interventions in emergencies - promoting the dignity of people by supporting self-reliant livelihoods - is another area requiring a stronger focus.