Re: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises: adequate and appropriate funding mechanisms

Dan Maxwell Convener of the discussion, United States of America

Again, we’d like to thank the contributors who have shared their ideas on this complex topic. Many themes have emerged, but perhaps too much is being read into the purpose of this online discussion. The focus here is specifically on protracted crises—contexts in which either very long lasting or repeated crises make the attainment of food security a particularly challenging policy goal.

The contribution from Bangladesh indicates that it is possible to have coordinated efforts involving the government, donors and agencies; an appropriate mix of short-term interventions to protect both food access and longer-term action to improve livelihoods—and the flexibility to adapt to circumstances in implementation of those interventions. Although Bangladesh doesn’t appear on the list of countries in protracted crisis, many of the issues faced in Bangladesh are similar, in that the threat of weather related crises and the context of food security more generally are similar. We would welcome some further information or documentation from this effort—and from efforts of a similar nature in other places.

Unfortunately, we have not yet had direct comments on this forum from donor agency officials. We would like very much to hear from individuals working for donor agencies, commenting on both the innovations that have been tried out, and some of the constraints.

To reiterate, the context of protracted crisis is one in which outside support is necessary. Broadly speaking, the notion of engaging in these areas is based on the “ounce-of-prevention” hypothesis — that risk reduction, mitigation and building more resilient livelihoods is not only an ethical imperative, it also makes good economic sense from the point of view of donor and government investments, even though they are by definition not high-production, high-return areas. But, as we found when we did the 2010 State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI), the evidence about this hypothesis remains fairly thin. We would very much like to hear a wider range of experience from practitioners about your experiences.

We hope to hear from more of you on some of these themes in the coming days.