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. 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.
 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.