S’attaquer à l’insécurité alimentaire dans les crises prolongées: Comment renforcer la résilience

17.06.2013 - 12.07.2013

Commentaire final de Malcolm Ridout - 17.07.2013

Cette synthèse fait le point des mesures concrètes à adopter pour accroître la résilience proposées durant la consultation. Ces propositions serviront à dégager des suggestions pour l'action future.

Les commentaires formulés durant la consultation soulignent que le renforcement de la résilience dans les crises prolongées n'est pas un processus linéaire. La dynamique qui précipite les populations dans les crises est multidimensionnelle: la pénurie de ressources naturelles, le changement climatique, les conflits, l’augmentation de la population et les facteurs économiques sont autant d'éléments qui interagissent d'une façon qui est souvent propre à chaque situation, voire même à chaque personne.

La prestation de l’aide humanitaire aux populations touchées par les crises fait déjà l’objet d’une gestion efficace mais ce soutien est onéreux et ne contribue guère, voire pas du tout, à préparer les gens à affronter la prochaine crise. Il existe également une somme d'expertise et de connaissances sur les différentes manières de renforcer les moyens d'existence des populations face à certaines menaces spécifiques (améliorations agricoles, protection sociale, diminution des conflits, réduction de l'exclusion sociale, création d'opportunités économiques, etc.).

Mais l'intégration entre les interventions humanitaires et les investissements à plus long terme laisse encore beaucoup à désirer; ces deux processus sont généralement encadrés dans des projets qui ne s'adaptent pas facilement à l'évolution des circonstances ou aux besoins de certains groupes de la population.

Les participants à la consultation ont formulé des suggestions concrètes sur des mesures qui pourraient et devraient être adoptées de façon immédiate pour accroître la résilience.

  1. Réaction rapide aux signaux d'alarme. Le rapport coût-efficacité est très bon en cas d’intervention précoce.
  2. Mise en œuvre de programmes qui peuvent être rapidement améliorés et qui permettent une réaffectation des fonds pour apporter une aide immédiate en cas de besoin.
  3. Envisager la réalisation d'investissements à long terme, dans le cadre de programmes soutenant les moyens d'existence et permettant de fournir une aide directe à ceux qui sont précipités dans une crise.
  4. Abattre les cloisonnements entre projets et sujets en termes de conception et d'action. Renforcer la résilience dans tous les capitaux liés aux moyens d'existence, ce qui n'est pas une tâche facile.

Les objectifs présentés ci-après sont inférés des observations des cas de succès et d’échecs dans le traitement des crises prolongées. Leur mise en oeuvre risque d'être encore plus difficile. Les participants à la consultation ont également fait ressortir certaines difficultés pratiques pour parvenir, de façon sûre, à développer la resilience.

  1. L'expérience passée n'est pas le meilleur des guides pour l'avenir. Nous savons que les niveaux et les styles actuels d'actions ont été insuffisants pour atténuer l'impact des crises prolongées.
  2. Nous ne nous sommes pas dotés des moyens nécessaires pour prédire la résilience générale des communautés. Il est assez facile de définir la résilience face à certaines menaces spécifiques, mais il est beaucoup plus complexe de savoir comment les communautés vont pouvoir réagir à des menaces multiples dans l'avenir. La résilience peut être perçue comme une « qualité » générale, mais il est très difficile de mesurer cette qualité et donc de prédire le succès de programmes pertinents.
  3. La mesure sera donc un élément essentiel pour s'assurer de trouver l'échelle appropriée. Si nous investissons trop peu en renforcement de la résilience, cet effort risque d'être inefficace  et ne va pas nous dispenser de la nécessité d'effectuer des interventions humanitaires réitérées.

Compte tenu de tous ces éléments, il est possible de formuler certaines suggestions pour l'action politique future:

  1. Mettre en place des programmes à long terme pouvant s'adapter aux circonstances et passer au soutien humanitaire si besoin est. Ceci impliquerait l’élimination de toute barrière administrative artificielle entre les budgets humanitaires et du développement.
  2. Investir pour mieux comprendre et mesurer la résilience. Ceci impliquerait d'estimer l'échelle des réponses requises pour en assurer l'efficacité. Pour convaincre les décideurs politiques d'investir, ceux-ci doivent être raisonnablement convaincus qu’un certain degré de résilience sera obtenu.
  3. Les programmes destinés à renforcer la résilience ne doivent pas seulement accroître leur couverture pour réagir à certains chocs mais aussi s'adapter aux circonstances. Cette approche est en totale contradiction avec les projets à planification centrale. Un investissement accru au niveau de la prise de décision communautaire et des gouvernements locaux pourrait contribuer à une programmation informée et adaptée aux circonstances.

 

Introduction de Malcolm Ridout - 17.06.2013

Le Comité de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale (CSA)  a lancé un processus consultatif de deux ans pour mettre au point un programme d'action visant à s'attaquer à l’insécurité alimentaire dans les crises prolongées. Cette discussion virtuelle est l'une d'une série de débats que nous aurons pour aborder certaines questions fondamentales et déterminer comment améliorer la sécurité alimentaire dans les situations de crises prolongées.

Nous souhaitons avoir votre avis sur la façon de renforcer la résilience dans les crises prolongées; cette discussion vous donne l'occasion de nous parler de vos actions, principes, recommandations et bonnes pratiques.

Finalement, le matériel de cette discussion contribuera à informer et à façonner le Programme d'action pour lutter contre l'insécurité alimentaire qui sera soumis à la considération du CSA en 2014.

Les débats menés sur la résilience ont déjà conduit à plusieurs types de définitions. Bien que variables, les caractéristiques de la résilience de pays, communautés et personnes confrontées à des crises prolongées présentent généralement deux éléments communs. 1) la capacité de faire face aux chocs, et 2) la capacité de s'adapter aux changements de circonstances.

Toutefois, le problème ne réside pas vraiment dans la définition de la résilience. La plupart des praticiens savent reconnaître les cas de résilience quand ils les voient. Le plus difficile est de pouvoir prédéterminer quels types de politiques et des programmes sont susceptibles de produire cette résilience, même si les aléas et leurs effets précis sont, quant à eux, difficiles à prévoir.   

Il existe déjà un grand nombre de données relatives au type d'activités susceptibles d'accroître la résilience à certains chocs spécifiques: la conservation du sol et de l'eau, la protection sociale, le bon fonctionnement des marchés, l'éducation et les services de santé ne sont que quelques-uns des éléments constitutifs de la résilience. Même si les décideurs ont souvent une idée assez précise des types d'aléas qui vont probablement se produire, les crises prolongées continuent d'abonder dans le monde. Lorsque les personnes perdent peu à peu leur capacité de maintenir leurs moyens d'existence sous le coup de chocs réitérés, elles ont très peu de chances, voire aucune, de sortir de l'extrême pauvreté dans laquelle elles sont plongées. Devant une telle souffrance, la communauté mondiale réagit en apportant une aide humanitaire très nécessaire. Cette réaction est coûteuse et condamnée en définitive à l'échec en tant que réponse de longue durée car elle ne contribue en rien à la reconstruction des moyens d'existence qui permettront d'assurer une résilience à l’avenir.   

Cette discussion virtuelle a pour but d'aborder ce “problème épineux” que représente la construction résolue de la résilience dans le contexte de crises prolongées. Nous aimerions réunir des informations sur les mécanismes performants, ainsi que sur la façon dont les stratégies et les mesures peuvent être appliquées sciemment pour favoriser le renforcement de la résilience. Nous aimerions aussi recevoir quelques recommandations pratiques sur la façon d'agir différemment dans l'avenir.

Pour résoudre ce problème, nous devons clairement nous baser sur une série de preuves résultant de l'application de programmes individuels qui peuvent s'avérer efficaces dans un secteur particulier (par exemple, la protection sociale). Tout en tenant compte de ces résultats, cette discussion va devoir également chercher à déterminer comment l'action, ou un ensemble d'actions peut favoriser une résilience de qualité aux chocs futurs connus et inconnus. Nous attendons des suggestions pratiques s'appliquant à des domaines qui sont actuellement vulnérables aux crises récurrentes ou qui connaissent une situation de crise prolongée.

Nous espérons donc votre contribution à cette discussion. Qu'avons-nous appris jusqu'à présent ? Quels sont les « défis majeurs » pour construire la résilience dans les régions frappées par les crises prolongées ? Comment choisir les stratégies les plus pertinentes pour chaque situation ?

À la lumière de vos connaissances et de vos expériences, veuillez répondre aux questions suivantes:

  • Quelles sont les stratégies qui ont donné les meilleurs résultats dans la construction de la résilience ? Comment construire la résilience de manière générale ou faut-il construire cette résilience face à un type de chocs (connus) ?
  • Quels sont les types de programmes qui ont servi à améliorer la sécurité alimentaire dans les crises prolongées ?
  • Comment savoir si nous sommes sur la bonne voie pour construire la résilience ? 
  • Comment prédire et quantifier à l'avance les effets des mesures appliquées dans différents secteurs ? Est-ce nécessaire ?
  • Comment expliquer les résultats mitigés obtenus jusqu'à présent ?
  • Est-ce uniquement une question d'échelle ? Faut-il tout simplement appliquer des programmes plus vastes ? Pouvons-nous en assurer le coût ?
  • Les facteurs démographiques et écologiques sont probablement les facteurs les plus prévisibles et ceux qui auront le plus grand impact sur la résilience dans l'avenir - comment nous y préparer ? Pouvons-nous prédire les conséquences de mesures inadéquates ? Devrions-nous tenter de prédire ces conséquences ?

J’espère recevoir bientôt vos commentaires et vos contributions, et je souhaite que notre discussion soit fructueuse et contribue à la recherche de solutions créatives. Merci d'avance de vos réflexions et du temps que vous allez consacrer à cette discussion.

Malcolm Ridout

Morwenna Sullivan ACF, United Kingdom
05.07.2013

ACF’s focuses on the prevention and treatment of undernutrition. We recognize that combatting the underlying causes of undernutrition will involve preventive interventions which range from food security and livelihoods protection and enhancement, to care practices, access to health and WASH facilities and social protection.  Thus a comprehensive coordinated approach forms the basis of any action.  Resilience building must focus on reducing people’s vulnerability to shocks and stresses and seasonal fluctuations while also addressing long term structural vulnerability affecting the nutrition security of the population, especially children under five.

For ACF, strategies which have been successful for resilience building encompass a number of programming conditions:

  • A thorough understanding of the dynamics of natural and man-made hazards affecting nutrition security in the Sahel. This must inform a context specific needs analysis which includes analysis of seasonal vulnerabilities for underlying causes of undernutrition – coupled with analysis of risk of future disaster and undernutrition.
  • A holistic, multi-sectoral, integrated approach in which all nutrition sensitive actions reinforce each other.  Well-timed activities which targets different layers of society as appropriate from the individual level through to the household, and community. Ideally this should be complemented by interventions targeting policy makers at national and regional levels.
  • A multi-phase approach. In the event of a crisis, humanitarian needs are prioritized, with resilience building outcomes relating to FSL (and other underlying causes of undernutrition) identified. Emphasis is on needs assessment and analysis and support to existing projects that act to measure and manage severe acute malnutrition.  This leads into medium-term rehabilitation combined with resilience building. Examples include support to the health system coupled with upgrading preparation and response systems and hazard-proofing existing and new infrastructure linked to early recovery and rehabilitation operations.  The emphasis should also be to build capacity of government and CSOs.  The final stage incorporates long-term reduction of structural vulnerability.  Action here aims to address the causes of disaster and undernutrition and assuring that communities are supported by responsible and capable local institutions and the international system. 
  • Multi-layered targeting able to identify and address specific needs and opportunities at individual level, household and community level and at government (local and central) level, which  takes into account factors that can increase people vulnerability.
  • A flexible and adaptive approach, allowing different programme elements (targeting, beneficiaries, activities, calendar, budget) to be adapted according to evolving needs and/or changes in the context.
  • Long term commitment form governments, donors and civil society
  • Strong coordination between international communities, governments, civil society, the private sector, research, and other stakeholders in order to better understand the challenges, the opportunities and the objectives of resilience building and achieve agreements on roles based on comparative advantages and added value.
  • Strong leadership effort from governments (where possible) and from other actors in more fragile states, with progressive empowerment of authorities ranging from local to central level.
  • The capacity to foster inclusive economic development benefiting the poor while protecting them with appropriate and safety nets tailored to needs.

For ACF, priority areas to build resilience include:

  • Nutrition interventions in under-fives and mothers (at scale and with high coverage)
  • Protection and development of dietary diversity and addressing  the imbalance of women in local food systems  (with focus on complementary foods for 6-24moths old)
  • Protection of assets (with in ACF’s seasonal thinking and resilience response in 3 phases as described in pt 4 above)
  • Prepositioning of CMAM resources to mitigate seasonal surge of Severe Acute Malnutrition and Moderate Acute Malnutrition. Sustain and synchronise responses and ensure nutrition objectives within cross sectorial interventions at all levels.

Resilience programming has a lot to do with maximizing the nutritional impact of our interventions in different sectors. ACF has adopted a holistic framework in the fight for nutritional security, but this integrated, multi-phased and long term programming has mostly happened despite funding structures not because of them. Efforts by donors to provide a new financial framework, (which does not necessarily mean additional funding) will be key. Practitioners must have the flexibility to implement overlapping emergency response or rehabilitation or longer term resilience building activities at the same time, if the need arises. They are currently unable to do so due to the rigid funding mechanisms in place.  Flexible, predictable and long-term funding strategies, combining a traditional development programming approach with pre-positioning humanitarian reserves to enable timely response are crucial.

Programmes improving food security in protracted crisis foster a longer term vision which brings together actions that are able to comprehensively address vulnerability to shocks and stresses and to seasonal fluctuations as well as the structural vulnerability, reducing impact at all levels of society (individual, households, communities and states’ system and services).  Pregnant and lactating women, babies and children have heightened nutritional requirements, particularly between conception complementary feeding phase and age two. Resilience building strategies must therefore be planned and monitored in relation to how far they address these nutrition needs for children under five during ‘the window of opportunity’ of 1000 days to prevent impaired child growth, create healthy conditions for  women during pregnancy and that put the growing child at a lower risk of suffering from chronic diseases in adulthood.

In the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions, where hunger and under-nutrition are highly seasonal, integrating seasonality into information systems and programme design is crucial. Income, food prices, health, care practices, all determinants of undernutrition follow seasonal patterns. By thinking seasonally, and planning accordingly, and by combining humanitarian and development efforts, governments, NGOs and donors can put in place predictable interventions to strengthen the resilience of populations in order to prevent seasonal peaks in undernutrition reaching crisis point.  If stakeholders are serious about reducing the number of people affected undernutrition, if they really want to improve and save lives, to transform rhetoric into reality, a seasonal approach is imperative.

Innovative, flexible and context specific programmes are also key. One size does not fit all. We can make two examples, certainly not exhaustive. In Niger ACF’s food security and livelihoods teams are providing assistance which helps counter the negative effects of seasonal changes in food availability and food price fluctuations. Using a “warrantage” system, ACF teams help small farmers to access credit through micro finance institutions (MFI), using part of their harvest as collateral. The credit can be invested in other activities, while the harvest is stored until prices rise. At this point the farmer can buy back their harvest for the original price they sold it for and sell it on the open market for a higher profit. This system buffers small farmers against the effects of market price fluctuations and counters the vicious cycle where farmers are obliged to sell their crops at harvest time, at low prices, in order to purchase additional food and other essentials or to pay back loans taken during the lean season.

Another excellent example of resilience initiatives is the REPI program in Burkina Faso, which, thanks to flexible funding, has introduced safety net mechanisms to an existing development program following the 2012 drought crisis. This innovation has forced organizations to structure safety nets in way to reinforce and not harm the ongoing development program implemented with the same beneficiaries, and further enhance the climate change adaptation through land protection and rehabilitation.

Predicting and quantifying the effects of action across a number of sectors is essential. However the settings of specific impact monitoring systems should not be disconnected from our ultimate goal: the reduction of nutritional vulnerability, with particular focus on the 1000 day ‘window of opportunity’. We need now to include the reduction in rates of malnutrition as an impact indicator of successful resilience programming. For ACF, resilience will only be achieved when all interventions, in all sectors, measure their impact vis-a-vis the reduction of under nutrition.

Helga Vierich Canada
05.07.2013

This is an excellent topic for discussion. I would like to start with the first question posed: 

What are the strategies that have been successful in building resilience? Can we build resilience in general or does it always have to be in relation to a (known) type of shock?

When I was working for ICRISAT in West Africa, I learned a number of things about traditional systems of food security and long term resilience in small village communities of farmers.  

One of the most important was that there were traditional practices in place that helped to buffer the people from the effects of drought and other kinds of crop failure.  These were the following: 

a) Senior members of lineages (kinship groups based on common patrilineal or matrilineal descent) had the right to extract a certain amount of communal labour from the households in their grouping, in order to maintain communal fields to generate surplus food production of major cereal crops.  These surpluses from good years were stored in special granaries and were reserved for the relief of the people who were hit by misfortune in normal years (such as a man breaking a leg or falling ill at a critical time) as well as more generalized droughts leading to overall crop failure.  So, with the extra "power" of their position, these leaders also had greater responsibility to ensure that here was a store of food that would see their members through bad years.  Some lineage heads had as many as six years cereal (sorghum and millet) in store.

b) Kinship ties through marriages between different village communities permitted access to land outside of a village if it was hit by a localized drought or flood or other form of crop failure. Regular ceremonial feasting at post-harvest festivals served to iron out grievances both within and between lineages and whole villages at critical junctures in the year when the need for cooperation and generosity might become critical for survival. 

c) There were people within each village who were always experimenting with new varieties of various crops, looking for better yield, drought tolerance, and insect resistance. These people, usually one or two in each community, were constantly on the lookout for such plants, and saved their seed and experimented on their own in ways that foreshadowed the more concentrated efforts of international institutes like ICRISAT and the FAO.  One man, while I was in the village, actually returned from a long trip (on his bicycle) that had taken him all the way to a village in Mali (from his home in Burkina Faso) to find and bring back a variety of extremely drought tolerant millet. 

I hope this contributes something of value to this discussion. I published these findings in the ICRISAT annual reports in the mid-1980s. I will check back and try to add more of our research findings on this forum whenever I can.  

Respectfully, Helga Vierich

Jean-Charles Le Vallee Food system specialist, Canada
04.07.2013

Food systems exhibit economic, social and ecological thresholds that, when exceeded, result in changes in food system properties and services, thus impacting its sustainability, prosperity and levels of food security. The focus needs to shift to the resilience of food system properties and services to ensure food security when experiencing abrupt changes and chronic shocks. The more resilient a food system, the larger the disturbance it can absorb.

However, strong resilience is not always positive, e.g. areas depleted of natural resources are extremely resilient to change but provide little food security benefits in terms of food system properties and services. Resilience is experienced in the short term when faced with environmental, economic, demographic, technical, political and other acute shocks to the system. Aid improves short term resilience wealth benefits but development supports resilience growth and continuation. The aim is to remain within resilience thresholds (e.g. water - floods (high threshold) and droughts (low threshold)) and foster food security within steady tenable food system conditions, while reducing the potential for future food insecure conditions and food system failures to occur.

Food system resilience has several dimensions:

• Ecological resilience (slow dimension) denotes land-use change in physical and natural wealth, effectiveness in terms of resource utilisation and waste minimisation, its ability to support social and economic resilience, as well as food utilisation, without undermining ecological conditions and the natural ecosystems in which it operates. Food availability is largely coupled to this base;

• Economic resilience (fast dimension) symbolises the financial wealth of the system, economic growth and diversity in which it operates, the food provision chain that it rests on, its labour and capital productivity, and increasing incomes over time and the markets that it serves. Food access is mainly tied to this resilience dimension;

• Consumption Resilience (outcome dimension) is distinct from the other three resilience processes. It is a cornerstone of food system resilience as nutritional status indicates performance in which the individual participates in food systems. For example, it is possible for some individuals and household members to be food insecure in households enjoying food security. Conversely, certain individuals are well nourished even in households that are food insecure overall. Measurement of individual food security, whose access to food is regulated by intra-household allocation rules and processes, requires measurement of individual food utilisation, the third pillar of food security. This measurement is of particular relevance in selecting food poverty thresholds for analysis to distinguish between the food secure, the vulnerable to food insecurity, and the food insecure; and

• Social resilience (mixed slow/fast dimension) is designated as the human, political, and cultural wealth of the system, including safety-nets, levels of education, institutional stability, social cohesion regarding food system objectives, and both the political and cultural cohesion and enhancements of the standard of living of its host societies. This fourth resilience dimension is linked to the food security pillar regarding stability.

Food systems thus exhibit economic, social, safety, and ecological thresholds that, when exceeded, result in changes in food system properties and services. Investments in domestic food emergency preparedness and resilience-building are indispensable. Threats are constant. Aside from stock-to-use ratios showing tightness of the food supply, a nation must look into its diversity and reliability of transportation, food, and energy supplies; the share of consumption met through local and imported foods; regulatory compliance; measures to protect crops and animals from drought, pests, diseases; maximize reductions in food waste/losses, etc. Are national food contingency, emergency, and continuity plans in place? Can they be implemented? Is the gini coefficient low? Are food system participants working strategically towards common food security and resilience goals?

In crises, laddering resilience investments is necessary. Focusing on immediate economic resilience is the quickest and appropriate solution. Often labour productivity is the only resilience asset the indigent have. Thereafter, once health needs are assured, and some degree of temporary food security attained, other forms of social and economic resilience-building may begin to assume significance: e.g. agricultural extension, loans, basic literacy and numeracy leading onto business skills. As the development path grows, demands for resilience assets and connections rises, with additional investments in ecological resilience, and in food system properties and services beyond the primary sector.

It is more beneficial for food systems to exploit and reciprocate resilience for mutual benefit. By addressing the wealth aspects of resilience, a food system can reach food security and resilience goals, e.g. by promoting adequate incomes for producers; local and global diverse food production based upon agro-ecological principles; by offering protection of local agricultural lands and fish habitat; by ensuring widespread access to healthy, safe and nutritious food; and through social cohesion, allowing for the reduction of disparities, inequalities, and social exclusion. If the food system cannot deliver food and services on which people depend, sustainability declines, food system degradation occurs and the probability of becoming food insecure rises.

Peter Steele Agricultural Engineer, Italy
04.07.2013

Developing resilience on global scale

Shifting direction – consider the larger picture

I was partway into my small contribution – exploring issues of water in society – before the contribution from Peter Carter of Canada cropped up. It set me thinking. Like most of the other contributors mine was to be a focused approach, wherein I thought I could put issues of water security into context representing as it does the basis of crop and livestock production that services the estimated 30% of the global land surface on which people normally live.

Mine was to be a contextual approach with establishing some parameters for addressing food insecurity in that on-going and protracted crisis in which the majority people in most low-income countries never have access to sufficient water for their needs. The same holds true for a handful of richer industrializing countries, but these same countries typically make a living from those extractive industries that comprise the basis for the imbalance that has been forced upon the atmosphere of Planet Earth; and continue to encourage the climate changes expected. These are people who can generally continue to purchase their current needs whether technologies, food supplies and/or manufactured goods.

Resilience building on global scale

Peter Carter steps back further and puts Planet Earth into context as likely to become unlivable by the standards enjoyed by those of us alive today; and certainly ungovernable within the draconian changes that a 4degC temperature rise will have on living space, food supplies, air quality and so on by 2100. And that’s without focusing upon the projected numbers of people who will need to be fed, the 80% urban world society that will have to be serviced, the higher living standards expected and more.

The magnitude of these issues overwhelms; the lack of consensus of what to do about it, the sometimes conflicting information available, the inertia that limits change, the human time-scales involved and more simply overwhelm most people. And, that said you, reading this, probably already belong to that minority rich (or at least the relatively affluent) proportion of humanity that has the luxury of time, education and freedom to give thought to the bigger picture.

The reality is, however, the limited vision of the majority people and, typically, the governments that they form (that continue to plan and invest on time-scales that span a handful of years). Peter Carter’s worst case scenario looms.

Taking out insurance

And what if Peter Carter and others promoting similar messages have got their magnitudes and timescales wrong; what if they are out by a century or two? This brings choices. In much the same way that I purchase house insurance – I prefer the security of knowing that I can replace my house should it be lost; and the premium required for doing so is simply budgeted into my annual outgoings. Can we build resilience into our current ‘way-of-life’? Your children’s children may have some of the answers to that particular challenge. You, of course, won’t be around to check them out, but you owe it to your descendents to promote those mixed programmes of sustainable social movement, investments, alternative energy use, land & water care, etc. that represent today’s first tentative steps.

And that thing about water and human development

Working in support of people in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) countries until recently, I was part of an agro-development team that was able to make a small contribution to the lives of >450 million people in the 20 countries that we consider make up the region. Climate change will impact adversely across this – the driest habitable region of the world, which brings me to my ‘water & society’ contribution.

Agriculture across the MENA region is likely to be severely disrupted by climate changes that are already underway. This will manifest with raised ambient temperatures of 2-3degC by 2100, decreases in rainfall of the order 20%, reduced run-off, rising sea levels of the order 400 mm and coastal inundation that may result in loss of productive land of the order 15%. Estimated 12-50 million people may be displaced. Flow in international rivers in the region will decline by up to 80%. Global movements of temperature bands northwards will bring risk of increased desertification.

Coping or mitigation effort is required for societies-at-large that people are able to accommodate the changes taking place. Agricultural production will be adversely affected; and the region with an additional 50% people by 2050 is likely to become even more dependent upon imported foods. How to build resilience into this kind of projection?

Scope for making better use of resources

Optimistically, changes can be introduced and managed. The MENA region has sufficient intellectual and financial resources to boost the efficiency of resource use for socio-economic development, including efforts to maintain stability within regional agro-production industries. Apart from water, agricultural production resources are relatively plentiful. The crisis of water supplies in the region are those of management not supply, and the result is that millions of people and the environment will continue to suffer because of the failures of national managers to make the changes required. Water productivity is expected to improve and less water will be lost; savings can be re-directed into new crops/lands. Intensification of production will help compensate for lands eventually abandoned to the sea and/or to desertification.

The result is one in which resources will be shifted into more efficient and productive use, and this will enable the region to continue to feed estimated 50% of regional people. Over time, however, regional/national managers should be establishing the trading networks that will provide the additional raw materials required with which to service domestic/regional agro-industries. Support will be needed to mobilize the institutional, educational, industrial and financial resources that will help produce the resilient socio-economies required of 2050 and later.

Summary

You probably need a forester on your team when planning for the long-term future - everyone else thinks short-term. If you come from the MENA region, your descendents will eventually thank you for your timeliness, resourcefulness and prompt action with the planning required of a water secure future.

Peter Steele

Agricultural Engineer

Rome

03July2103

Georgina Jordan World Vision , Middle East and Eastern Europe, Cyprus
04.07.2013

Dear FSN coordinator,

Very interesting points raised below.  Whilst I agree with most of them I think one of the key challenges with resilience is resilience of whom to what and at what level of intervention.  When we consider this as regards food security and protracted crises it could be argued that resilience building may even need to go beyond been  “context specific” and “flexible” and consider circumstantial issues that lead to the composition of livelihood and food security pathways as well as considering the underlying causes of the crisis.

Looking at this through a livelihood lenses taking into account production and consumption patterns, I agree that context largely dictates the broad parameters of what is possible in terms of building resilience at the household level (Safety net programs etc).  However, is it worth considering that within any given context personal circumstances play a key role in the construction of particular livelihood and food security pathways?

The evolution of these pathways is influenced to a large extent by contextual changes intermingled with personal circumstance which in turn influences the pathway.  In summary, context may form the initial thrust in livelihood or food security strategy decisions of small scale farmers but personal circumstance will influence the pathway and in some cases on-going protracted crisis can offer opportunities for households.

Therefore in order to improve people’s resilience we need to look beyond blanket  food security programmes and design projects particular to the household level. Households have different levels of inherent resilience.  In order to strengthen resilience in a protracted crisis programming needs to take into account individual household circumstances and everything that shapes them and how these factors interact and link together. The problem is this approach would be costly (!) and time consuming and poses many challenges in linking household needs to larger programmes.  Individual food security projects would need to be varied in line with the varying needs of households ( and in some cases individuals).

This is all quite complex and multi-layered.  Firstly the diverse livelihood and food security options utilised by people need to be identified.  Following this, the rationale of livelihood response and their linkages needs to be ascertained.  Finally the multiple influences on the rationale of response require identification, such as context versus circumstance.  This is clearly not straightforward and requires considerable resources. (Time and money!)  Such an approach may in the long run help us bridge that famous link between relief and development.

Juan Jose Aparicio Porres Vision Mundial, Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
04.07.2013

¿Cuáles son las estrategias que han tenido éxito en la creación de resiliencia? ¿Podemos crear resiliencia en general o tiene siempre que estar en relación con un tipo (conocido) de crisis.

En norte Potosi, una zona del altiplano boliviano se produjo una sequia que hizo perder la capacidad productiva de las comunidades. Fruto de ello se implemento un proyecto de emergencia (primer año): atender con alimentos y entregar semilla de papa. Pero eso no se podia hacer todos los años, asi que en una segunda etapa se implemento un proyecto de seguridad alimentaria que tuvo las siguientes caracteristicas:

1. Participación de la comunidad.

2. Innovación tecnologica (se introdujo microtuneles para producir semilla de papa mediante brotes, tanques inflables para almacenar agua y habilitar zonas, silos de almacenamientos para granos, etc.).

3. Desarrollo de capacidades locales (a nivel de productor) mediante metodologias más practicas (escuela de campo).

Pero tambien nos dimos cuenta debemos involucrarnos en:

1. Desarrollo de mercados locales (semilla certificada).

2. Gestión en politicas publicas a nivel local (en Bolivia, los municipios).

3. Uso de alimentos (relacionado con una intervención multisectorial donde participe el sector salud y educación).

Creemos que se puede crear resilencia en general con acciones que incidan en las politicas publicas municipales. En nuestra experiencia creamos un fondo para proyectos en seguridad alimentaria donde las comunidades participan con propuestas sencillas y de bajo costo, este fondo es cofinanciado por el municipio y nuestro reto es que sea politica municipal.

 

Lieselot Germonprez Office of the Belgian permanent representation to FAO, Italy
03.07.2013

To let strategies of “resilience building programming” working efficiently, it is necessary that different actors work together closely, especially at the field-level, and go further than the classic “joint programming” where funds often get lost in coordination- and administration costs. The good cooperation, coupled with an effective early warning system, during the Somalia crisis in 2012 between FAO, WFP and UNICEF, where the agencies adjusted their objectives to one another, based on each others comparative advantage, showed how this can bring success in building resilience. It is thereby important that agencies address the root-causes from disasters taking into account all aspects, while it is also important that financing is predictable, flexible and timely.  

As already stated by the Swiss delegate, it is essential to have a robust M&E system in place, to measure the resilience strategies and draw lessons for the future and evaluate if we or on the right track to produce resilience.  

Furthermore, it is essential to involve the local communities / governments / civil society already in the preparation-phase of the resilience strategies, taking account of the existing social capital and the identity - as far as opportune - of the local population, to make the resilience strategies work most efficient.

Finally, the spreading out of innovative schemes regarding social protection (micro-finance and weather related insurance systems included) and other (building of food-reserves …) are to be fully exploited.

 

Jan Eijkenaar ECHO , Senegal
03.07.2013

Some practical recommendations, from a personal point of view, on how governance and aid choices and approaches may improve the prospects of lives, living conditions and opportunities of all in a society into and for their future:

A person’s resilience starts from conception. A pregnant mother needs to have access to vital nutrients, foods and care in a healthy environment and for her baby to be shielded from malnutrition and debilitating illnesses during the first years of life. Malnutrition permanently undermines a person’s, its community and country’s resilience and any potential to develop and thrive in a highly dynamic, changing world.

Several Sahel countries have some of the world’s highest infant and maternal mortality rates and they lack the basic governance foundations available and accessible for notably the sizeable and growing non-resilient part of its population. For them there is no equity.

Malnutrition represents a particularly high burden for the West Africa Sahel region. Of the estimated 74 million people living in its 6 main countries from Senegal to Chad (not counting Northern Nigeria, which harbours a malnourished population of similar scale), an estimated 5.0 million children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished. This is well over a third of the 13.7 million <5’s estimated living in the Sahel this year. Another 830,000 children in this age group, most of them between 6 and 36 months old, are expected to become Severely Acutely Malnourished (SAM), malnutrition’s worst condition, in 2013. A child untreated for SAM has a 50% chance to survive.

These children and their mothers are at risk of adverse and often permanent consequences for their lives and prospects, because of their (early) stage in life and personal development. And they are at increased risk of becoming affected by socio-economic and food-security shocks, especially when already living strenuous livelihoods conditions. When looking at both aspects at the same time, one finds a very high correlation (studies show rates of 60% to even 80%) between the risk of becoming malnourished and of being raised in an ultra-poor family.

Vulnerability analyses are mostly taken from a food-security perspective (considering the latter risk-aspects, linked to food price-shocks, climatic shocks etc.). However, risk concepts that consider the persons in a specific category - in a stage of conception, birth and first vital growth - are far less widespread in vulnerability analyses. Considering the very strong link between malnutrition and socio-economic factors, for the effective prevention of under-nutrition, both approaches to risk are of vital importance and entirely complementary.

Prevention of malnutrition is therefore both an important and very concrete - in view of the 100,000’s of young children that require treatment every year, for a condition that is perfectly preventable - way forward to reduce the risks and levels of future food security crises in the Sahel as a whole, so intricately linked to the very high levels of malnutrition in the Sahel.

Preventative social protection measures such as safety nets will need to target the poorest households and persons as a priority. At the same time, all persons in the risk category (the <5’s and pregnant and breastfeeding women) will require actual - affordable, without financial, geographic and other such barriers - access to a minimum acceptable package of nutrition, health, immunisation and other associated curative and preventative care, the basic package of acceptable quality basic services. In sum: good governance.

The sense of urgency to make a basic package of essential basic services available so as to shield future generations from permanent personal disability and therefore from lack of their and their society’s resilience is striking, notably in the context of such high population growth.

Practical recommendations (non exhaustive) for immediate concurrent actions to improve the resilience of current and future populations therefore include:

* A common diagnosis with governance and development stakeholders, supported and informed by quality multi-sector evidence and expertise, to confirm, agree upon and own priority actions and policies, to be maintained for some considerable time to come, allowing for beneficial outcomes to take shape and supported by predictable realistic budgets;

* This includes a questioning of potential poor governance choices and practice too - which is complicated of course, and not entirely within the comfort zone of diplomacy and development cooperation perhaps, but necessary to reach actual progress towards more equity in real terms for those persons and populations most at risk of and affected by non-resilience;

* Measures to mobilise and scale-up the support of governance capacity at national and in particular decentralised levels (region, district, community) to help improve coverage of basic governance measures accessible by the least/non-resilient persons and to boost future good governance;

* Provision of the package of services and measures to allow for a comprehensive implementation of the 1,000-Day initiative and the treatment of Acute Malnutrition by national services and their development partners;

* Health user fee exemption for the population under the age of 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding women;

* Reliable supply of acceptable and controlled quality (reproductive) health, nutrition, wash, education, agriculture, livestock and other basic services inputs up to community level;

* Notably regarding reproductive health inputs, the principle of at least providing women and families until the most remote areas in a country with a choice to access these inputs appears to encounter serious and ill-justified opposition, based on untested hypotheses. Practice proves otherwise, no matter how religious and traditional an area may be perceived;

* Accessible minimum quality education, notably for girls until the age of 16;

* Targeted seasonal social transfers linked to nutrition and health outcomes using socio-economic criteria and approaches (such as on the basis of HEA) focusing on the Very Poor and Poor parts of the population. More sophisticated social protection schemes may be informed and developed on the basis of such practise when feasible;

* Accurate data collection and the transparent management of multi-sector early warning analysis and forecasting of food and nutrition security by a multi-actor governance-practitioner platform on local, national and regional levels;

* Maintain adequate quality emergency response capacities (that is: not to upscale attention to resilience at the detriment of emergency response) to help address the high (permanent) emergency needs until eventually hopefully the beneficial outcomes and impact of better “pro-resilience” governance and aid may become apparent.

Hope this is helpful for the discussion; of course these are personal views.

 

Kind regards from Dakar, Jan

Walter de Oliveira FAO, Sierra Leone
03.07.2013

Dear FSN moderator

While perhaps not specifically responding to any of your proposed questions, I would like to make a link with food insecurity and hunger.

Resilience building is, among others, very much linked with food insecurity and hunger. We all agree that food security involves issues related to quantity, quality, availability and regularity and dignity. In order to build resilience, we need to tackle efficiently and at the same time, all the above aspects. Resilience building should also be targeting poor small-scale farmers and the farming communities around them. Although emergency measures are needed to alleviate severe problems, resilience can be built only through structural policies for employment and income generation coupled with strengthening infrastructures and building transferable human skills.

In many developing countries, food security dimensions, on which resilience should be built on, are related to demand insufficiency (income concentration, low purchasing power, high unemployment and sub-employment), incongruity between food prices and low purchasing power and exclusion of poor farmers from the market.

To break this perverse cycle, government need to intervene with actions to include those excluded into the food consumption market. The aid policy needs to be adapted to support government actions.

Basically, government and aid agencies need to create emergencies and permanent mechanisms to:

  1. a) decrease the cost of access to food for the low-income part of the population and;
  2. b) to encourage production, processing and distribution of local staple food and promote consumption. This requires expansion of micro-credit, professional qualification, incentive to micro enterprises, agrarian reform and an agricultural policy of incentive or smallholder farmers.

Resilience can be built by channelling resources to promote local food production and trade, as well as to develop links with structuring actions (public food procurement policies, establishment of trade channels, etc.). Since poverty is not restricted to the poor family, but it is strongly tied to the low economic drive of the village, district and the regional surroundings, resilience building strategies and actions need to have a territorial nature.

Thank you

pankaj kumar Concern Worldwide, Ethiopia
01.07.2013

Dear FSN moderator,

I currently work in Ethiopia with Concern Worldwide and have been extensively involved in Resilience Building measure. Based on my experience, I would like to answer these questions.

  • What are the strategies that have been successful in building resilience? Can we build resilience in general or does it always have to be in relation to a (known) type of shock?

Any resilience building measure should have focus to be successful. For instance, resilience in general sense will not have an impact as these problems in many of the chronic vulnerable areas are immense relating to food insecurity, public health, education, etc. The focus helps us to define appropriate strategies and resources as interventions to public health are different from food security shocks. An example of good resilience programming in Ethiopia supported by ECHO is enclosed.

  • What programming has improved food security in protracted crises?

The programming that has focus on three areas are always beneficial

Short term to meet transitory food insecurity situations which are usually present and leads to many negative coping strategies, and the measures include social protection in different forms, seeds, livestock, food aid, nutrition education, management of acute malnutrition and other support that makes food available, access and utilization improved.

Medium to long term to meet chronic food insecurity situations and often leads to transitory food insecure situations, and the measures include natural resource management, access to improved seeds and livestock, extension services, linkages with market, private sector, irrigation management, access to improved health and nutrition services, gender empowerment, etc.

  • How will we know we are on the right track to produce resilience?

Indicators that are simple and easy to measure help to know that we are on right track. For example, though it will depend upon the situation for different scenarios indicators could be following:

Transitory food insecurity:  number of meals per day, change in dietary diversity, livestock reproduction, cash used for farm and non- farm purposes, performance of CMAM indicators, etc.

Chronic food insecurity: increase productivity per ha, increased income from non- farm sources, especially for women, increased coverage of vaccination, production sold in market vs consumption.

  • Can we predict and quantify the effects of action across a number of sectors in advance? Do we need to?

A good real time monitoring system will help in predicting and quantifying effects. A proper problem tree analysis helps in identifying appropriate causes and interventions. This is required to be done so that interventions are successful.

  • Why have we not done better to date?

Previously most of the programme focused on one sector rather than multi-sectoral and linkages between different sectors were often not understood as programming was led by sectoral specialist.

  • Is it just about scale? Do we just need bigger programmes? Is this affordable?

Scale is important but should be done only when pilot are successful. This is affordable as funding for many sectors are available and is only the question of ensuring linkages between them.

  • Demographic and ecological changes are probably the most predictable causal factors that will have a major impact on resilience in the future - how should we plan for this? Can we predict the consequences of inadequate action? Should we try to?

This definitely should be done as resilience is not to current risk but also future predicted and un-predicted risk such as demographic situations and climate change

 

Kind regards,

 

Pankaj Kumar

Addis Ababa Ethiopia

 

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See the attachment: Resilience Paper.pdf