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

Leo Kortekaas Oxfam GB, Afghanistan

Dear Moderator,

Dear Dan Maxwell,

With interest I'm following / reading the proceedings of the on-line consultation about ways of food security funding in protracted crisis’s. I'm sorry that I received the information about this consultation a little bit too late to write a serious contribution on this topic. But going through the contributions I feel encouraged to write a few words and share some of my experiences around this topic.

For the moment I'm working in Afghanistan for Oxfam GB (with a programme very much oriented towards sustainable livelihoods and food security), a country that is already some 30 years in a cycle of violence and war. I arrived only recently and I do not feel ready to contribute in details into this discussion out from the Afghanistan context.

Before coming here I worked some 2.5 years in Haïti, mainly on the issues related to (emergency) food security. It is in Haïti where I struggled with this question about finding funding for food security activities and project proposals in protracted crisis (not strange, I was in Haïti when the FAO/WFP/IFAD report talking about food (in-)security in protracted crisis came out); and if I would have had the possibility to contribute it would have been around that struggle.

The contribution would have been around the fact that to improve food security in protracted crisis more and alternative ways of analysing the situation need to be done, to find the root causes behind the food insecurity. Out from the root causes investments need to made in practical research and extension services ... etc. to find answers to the questions and to boost the production, to link the production with value adding (processing) activities, to link the added value product with the consumer’s market with or without going through the (commercial) private sector, ...  etc.

Going to donors with these proposals the emergency ones will say (including the UN system, within the CAP these proposals have been written out from the document, as being “not live saving”) sorry your proposal is too much development oriented - we cannot take it into consideration or think about funding. Going to the more development oriented donors, they will say yes - very good and the proposed approach could indeed help tackle the food insecurity - but the country is in (protracted) crisis and therefore we cannot think about starting up development oriented projects, right now – let’s wait for the situation to be stabilised.

I learned to be creative and in many cases it is possible to use emergency funding to work on longer term (development) goals.


On the other hand I could as well have shared some of the very positive experiences with the European Union in Zaïre / DR Congo. During the years 1995 – 2000 (long before people started to speak and write about food (in-)security in “protracted crisis”) the European Union was able to fund out from mixed budgets (ECHO and in the time DGVIII or development budget) activities and projects that exactly were doing what can be done in long during instable contexts (talking about the end of the Mobutu and the start of the (Papa) Kabila period) to help to increase food security for both farmers as at the consumers markets. I do not think that the EU is still able to fund these initiatives by mixed funding sources (even within the EU the humanitarian and the development departments have grown further into silos), but it would be interesting to go back to those experiences and see what can be learned from them to do better in future.

I do hope the consultation will continue and if that is the case, perhaps there will be another opportunity for me to contribute out from my food security experiences in both emergency as in development context and the many experiences that are in the grey zone in between the two.

Best regards

Leo Kortekaas.