Re: Mainstreaming Food Security into Peacebuilding Processes

Ruby Khan FAO Somalia, Kenya

Food security, nutrition and livelihoods can serve as a confidence building platform where communities negotiate on an issue that is of mutual importance. It can serve as areas to negotiate and agree particularly on nutrition for children and vulnerable, poor households, women, elderly, where most groups find common goals. In addition, negotiating the responsible management of communal resources (water, land, forests, etc.) can also serve as a way to reach agreement where other issues are too difficult to agree on.

Additonally, working on livelihoods through a rights based approach, ie providing access to marginalized groups, minorities, etc. can increase buy in not only in the peace process but also in support of political participation within the mainstream, and facilitate the discussions on other more difficult issues. Fringe groups can be brought to the table if basic issues such as food security and increasing self-sufficiency in the ability for communities to provide for themselves will be supported. This reduces the idea of dependency on external assistance which becomes a grievance in the narrative of certain political groups.

The improvement of state-society contract (as mentioned previously) cannot be underestimated as a precursor or underlying peacebuilding processes. Poverty, lack of access to basic services and general issues of basic dependence on the state or external actors should be addressed in a comprehensive way by development actors to increase the impact of the provision of basic services to meaningfully contribute to peacebuilding processes.