Mainstreaming Food Security into Peacebuilding Processes

27.11.2013 - 24.01.2014

Dear Forum Members,

In 2010 the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) report estimated that there were over 160 million undernourished people in protracted crisis situations. The proportion of undernourished people in protracted crisis situations is about three times as high as in other developing contexts – and the longer the crisis, the worse the food security outcomes. The longer we delay concrete action, the larger the problem, as has been demonstrated in Africa. In 1990, forty-two percent of the 12 countries facing food crises in Africa had been in crisis for eight or more of the previous ten years; by 2010, the total number of countries experiencing one or more food crises had doubled, of which seventy-nine percent had been in crisis for a prolonged period.

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) launched a consultative process to elaborate an Agenda for Action for Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises, to be submitted to CFS 41 in October 2014 for endorsement. This e-discussion is intended to contribute to the drafting of the Agenda for Action by involving those who are closest to protracted crisis situations.

Our discussion will explore issues such as, (1) the linkages between food insecurity and fragility, including through fragility assessments; (2) the role that food security and nutrition can play in fragile and conflict-affected states, particularly in the specific context of the New Deal Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals; (3) the respective roles of governments, local constituencies, civil society and relief and development actors, and (4) ways to ensure accountability and relevance through broad inclusion, including of vulnerable and marginalized groups, in decision-making, planning and monitoring.  

This e-discussion seeks your experience and views to shape a practical, actionable Agenda for CFS adoption, which will help guide implementation on the ground.

In the ongoing elaboration of the Agenda for Action, the complex interrelationship between conflict and food insecurity is recognised – peacebuilding interventions at various levels are understood to be crucial to emergence from protracted crisis, and to ensure an enabling environment for viable food systems to underpin food security and nutrition. In addition, food security programming has potential spill-over effects and opportunities that are wider than addressing hunger and malnutrition in affected populations; improved food security and nutrition can contribute to sustainable peace-building through improved social cohesion, capacities, trust, legitimacy, amongst others. This is, however, complicated by the risk of agricultural and food security related assets also potentially being conflict drivers and/or threat multipliers.

Countries and contexts in protracted crises are often accompanied by poor governance, weak capacities and a lack of basic systems. Be it cause or effect, where governments are unable to meet public needs and provide essential services, the potential for dissent is high. Where participatory, inclusive approaches are applied, the potential for strengthening the technical and logistical capacities of government and even their legitimacy is considerable. Particular attention needs to be given to marginalized and vulnerable groups.

The effectiveness and desirability of women’s involvement in resolving and recovering from conflict, and in creating sustainable peace, has long been recognized[1]. The essential role of women in both national and household food security in post-conflict settings requires that certain barriers to their involvement be removed – such as the violence and fear of violence that restricts their access to fields and markets and the restrictions on property rights that mean they are unable to inherit land and obtain credit on the basis of it.

Mainstreaming food security into peacebuilding will require its integration from the initial point of conflict analysis onwards, and must address the power dimension, from household, to community to state level. This implies more than conflict sensitive development. Creating enabling environments for resilient communities and societies to emerge will require a long-term, adaptive engagement and necessitate new approaches to funding in such settings.

We invite strong participation in the e-discussion around the following questions to ensure a relevant, effective Agenda for Action. Examples of successful strategies, programmes and tools, would be particularly helpful to all concerned to illustrate what works and might be adapted for use elsewhere.   

  1. In your experience, what are the key programmes and processes through which to mainstream food security into peacebuilding processes and get appropriate buy-in from all those involved?
  1. What role can food security and nutrition play in fragile and conflict-affected states, particularly in the specific context of the New Deal Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals, and how best can food security and nutrition considerations be integrated into New Deal priorities?
  1. Who should be held accountable for progress on food security in protracted crisis contexts and how can we measure progress towards specific targets?

Alexandra Trzeciak-Duval
Diane Hendrick

[1] UN Security Council Resolution 1325 passed in 2000 recognised the undervalued contributions and underutilized potential  of women in conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peace-building.


Abbas Rahi Iraqi Organization for Rehabilitating society and Environment , Iraq

I  trust this e-discussion will make a significant contribution to understanding the problems and conflicts . Iraq consider one of the countries suffer address food insecurity in protracted . My thoughts includes two main factors its Interiors and Exterior ….

Despite the existence of several definitions of the concept of  "Resilience "   but everyone agreed to the principle of the ability of societies to adapt to overcome the crisis , But I see the Resilience  or stability comes from two main factors:

First: Internal factors:

We must Study the roots of the problem and is done through a deal with the internal factors that affect the affected community, which is suffering from crises and  food insecurity in protracted crisis as limited  planning, local government and the absence of strategies, long-term and the presence of some cultures the wrong community, war and its consequences which are still people suffer from non-ways  use modern scientific irrigation, agriculture and boost agricultural investment and economic contributed directly to the continuation of this crisis.
Proposals and Recommendations
1 - promote agriculture through the establishment of banks agricultural to provide financial grants interest-free and have repayment periods long-term development of agriculture and support during crises as is the case in Iraq, where the government has exempted farmers to pay their debts to Bank of Iraq's agricultural or compensate farmers financially because of the floods that occurred this year 2013
2 - Develop a long-term strategy through a joint collaboration between farm associations (agricultural) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Planning and Finance
3 - Use of modern scientific methods of agricultural machine and irrigation and the provision of agricultural pesticides and fertilizers at subsidized prices by the government
4 - Establishment of centers for agricultural research and supported by the government and the emphasis on the protection and preservation of the environment and work to support and activate the concept of environment and sustainable development
5 – Changing  some local laws to support the agricultural sector and to encourage agricultural investment.
6 - develop joint strategic plans to support the agricultural sector and education and health in country sides  and to focus on the role of women in rural development
7 – Must be changing  some  wrong  cultures in local communities  which  uses bad water and agricultural  harvest and sale of agricultural land to do instead of housing or markets, which led to reduced rates of agricultural land as it is now in Iraq
8 - opening new markets for the export of agricultural crops to encourage small farmers to modern agriculture
9 -  Establishment of peasant associations for the defense of the rights of farmers and their causes.

Second: External factors:

Here  , all the responsibility of the international community to support countries that suffer from food insecurity and the continued crisis, where the absence of global peace and security have a direct impact on the local development of the countries and the continuing crises and  then a new countries are affected by this crisis.

Proposals and Recommendations
1 -  The occupying powers have direct responsibility for these crises, so it must do its legal and moral responsibility in the direct contribution to alleviate the suffering and crises that cause food insecurity.
2 - Create internationalist Bank called "Bank food security", for example, contribute to the rich countries and the occupying powers to finance projects through:  
A - to alleviate the suffering of the local population through the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid and programmed "is not a reaction to a certain position and then stops"
B - Develop a long-term strategy to support local governments in those countries for the development of agriculture and the establishment of agricultural banks and urged countries to agricultural investment, with an emphasis on environmental protection
C - To help the local community to develop its ability through literacy programs and the establishment of agricultural institutes and their involvement in training courses and conferences.
D - Support regional cooperation for countries that have common interests in conflict  areas, Such as, solve the water problem between Iraq - Turkey and Syria through the signing of a cooperation agreement.

Abbas Rahi                                                              
Director of : Iraqi Organization for Rehabilitating society and Environment