Re: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises: Resilience-building programming

Mariam Al jaajaa CSM WG on Protracted Crises / The Arab Group for the Protection of ...

Dear FSN Moderator

Here are recommendations on Resilience taken from the Outcomes paper prepared by the Civil Society Mechanism  Working Group on Protracted Crises , prior to the HLEF on Food Insecurity in  Protracted Crises that was  held in Rome last year. The CSM Working Group hosts more than 35 CSO organizations that are very active in protracted crises contexts. 


  1. Need to ensure that strategies have a central focus on building resilience while aiming to resolve the structural causes of crises and their consequence on food insecurity. 
  1. Investment in resilience building processes that develop capacity to monitor, anticipate, respond to and manage known risks as well as uncertainties. Diversification and preparedness are key for flexibility. Further enablers of effective resilience building include:
  • Good Governance based on rights and decentralised and participatory decision-making with sound links between levels of governance 
  • Build trust through partnerships and collective action
  • Bring together local traditional knowledge with science and technology to enable learning and innovation 
  • Working holistically across scales with a particular focus on socio-ecological systems 
  1. Resilience may be fostered by a variety of initiatives including:
  • seeking alternative foods and food sources
  • barter systems
  • strengthening diversified local production
  • relying on locally produced food and material , particularly when delivering assistance and implementing development programmes
  • urban agriculture
  • support smallholders farmers and producers
  • initiatives that bridge the rural-urban divide
  • home economics
  • domestic (home-based) enterprise
  • marketing alternatives for small-scale farmers
  • resource management alternatives (E.g. seed banks, water harvesting methods)
  1. Mainstream Risk analysis as a fundamental starting point of long-term planning and building resilience
  • Strengthening institutions that are involved in Disaster Risk Reduction,
  • Supporting local institutions to engage in DRR (e.g.  Early Warning Systems, Early Warning Early Action, Surge Capacity, Disaster Risk Management committees, Climate Change Adaptation ,food reserves, social protection mechanisms, agriculture, etc.)
  • Responses must focus on mapping and supporting local effective coping strategies, while reducing the need for negative coping strategies as it increases future vulnerability.  
  1. Funding streams need to be adapted to be flexible and predictable. For example, multi - year budgets should include a margin for responding to emergencies. Development interventions/and funding for these should be flexible enough to adapt activities/objectives at times of crises. Hence surges for emergency response should be designed into long-term programming. The objectives of any programme in protracted crises should be both to meet immediate short term needs as well as longer term risks and vulnerabilities and thereby build resilience and address the underlying causes of food insecurity.
  1. A key strategy to addressing both short term needs and reduce the chronic vulnerability to food insecurity of affected people is to ensure there is access to a comprehensive social protection system Household-level vulnerability to poverty and hunger in a context of protracted crisis is often associated with threats to livelihoods. Important livelihood adaptations take place in protracted crises situations. Vulnerability can increase over the time if households face repeated shocks that progressively erode their assets. One function of social protection is to implement safety nets to prevent this, by transferring income, food and/or assets to vulnerable people. This represents a buffer to protect against the risk of losing all their assets while enabling people to participate in work and training that build communities’ long-term resilience.
  1. Social protection programmes in protracted crises are generally relief-oriented, externally funded and of limited scale, and they often lack domestic financial and institutional commitments and capacities to turn them into a national system. It is important therefore to frame social protection programmes as part of a more comprehensive national and regional food and nutritional, and income security policies. This needs to be consistent with policies that strengthen sustainable food production, local food systems, local and national food markets, and support small-scale food producers
  1. Need to prioritize the measuring and modeling of resilience to develop a shared and accessible platform for consolidating information,  and exploring how complementary tools can be brought together, for example household economy approaches with land use mapping and climate data projections. This could enable governments and others to capture the likely risks people will face, the potential impact of shocks and the cost and relative impact of different responses.

Thank you and best regards,

Mariam Al jaajaa

Co-facilitator of the CSM WG on Protracted Crises.

The Arab Group for the Protection of Nature