The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2010 highlighted that food insecurity is significantly worse in protracted crisis contexts than in other developing countries in four key food security indicators: proportion of undernourished, proportion of children stunted, mortality rate of children under five years old and the Global Hunger Index. About 20 percent of the world's undernourished people – over 150 million - live in protracted crisis situations, in at least 20 countries.
Protracted crises are neither a series of one-off short-lived phenomena, and nor are they temporary interruptions from which countries easily return to a path towards longer-term development. Rather they represent ongoing and fundamental threats to both lives and livelihoods, from which recovery may become progressively more difficult over time.
These situations result in a number of specific challenges and policy implications, which were discussed last Autumn during the High Level Expert Forum (HLEF) on food insecurity in protracted crises.
What emerged from these discussions was an urgent need to rethink the current mainstream approach to humanitarian, development and related aid delivery mechanisms, and the necessity to build local and national government capacity, accountability and ownership in contexts characterized by poor governance.
Other important issues included the need to mainstream the food-security and protracted-crises discourse into other key for a (e.g. the Busan New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States) as well strengthening coordination between humanitarian and development actors and involvement of civil society.
The CFS endorsed the recommendations of the HLEF report, and launched a two-year consultative process to develop an Agenda for Action to address food insecurity in protracted crises. This online discussion is the first in a series to explore critical topics linked to how we can effectively address food insecurity in protracted crises.
We hope that this discussion will really help to identify, distill and prioritize strategies, approaches, proposals, lessons learnt and concrete experiences that could inform the development of more flexible, responsive and stable funding mechanisms suited to the specific needs of protracted crises situations.
A number of limitations and constraints to engaging effectively in protracted crises can be identified, including conceptual, institutional and programmatic barriers. Does this include limitations due to funding streams?
Flexible, multi-year, sophisticated responses are required, yet funding for such programmes is rarely available. Constraints no doubt include donors’ lack of long-term commitment, but also a rigid development/humanitarian approach that doesn’t fit the reality, or an unwillingness to take risks.
Despite international commitments to improve aid effectiveness, consensus on the need to link humanitarian, recovery and development strategies, and significant investment, the current bifurcation of aid needs to be addressed to better address both the immediate needs and structural causes of protracted crises.
So, how can we move towards a situation where activities are supported, for long enough, and with enough flexibility to be able to adapt to the challenges presented by protracted crises? Are there some practical recommendations that can more effectively promote and support protracted crisis interventions? Are there good examples of existing strategies where donors have developed appropriate funding mechanisms and procedures, which could serve as a model for others?
Based on your own knowledge and experience of funding for programmes in protracted crises, we would like you to consider the following guiding questions:
As you consider these questions, please share practical insights, evidence, and anecdotes from your personal experience.
I look forward to your contributions, a stimulating discussion and a creative search for solutions.
Thank you in advance for the time and thought you contribute to responding.
 Revised in February 2013 applying the three criteria of: (i) on FAO’s list of low-income, food-deficit countries (LIFDC), (ii) 10% or more of external assistance received as humanitarian aid since 2000, and (iii) declared a food crisis (i.e. reported in FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System list) requiring assistance in 8 of the previous 10 years. In 2010, twenty-two countries were in protracted crisis situations. In 2012 Angola was no longer a LIFDC; Tajikistan ceased to have eight of the past ten years on the GIEWS list; Uganda received 9.8% of assistance as humanitarian aid between 2000-10; South Sudan was added in 2012.