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Building resilience in protracted crises

Protracted crises are one of the most challenging contexts in which to fight hunger, malnutrition and poverty. They are driven by a combination of recurring causes – human-made factors, natural hazards (often occurring simultaneously), lengthy food crises, breakdown of livelihoods and food systems, and insufficient governance and institutional capacity to deal with the resulting crisis. Almost half a billion people in over 20 countries and territories are currently affected by protracted crises. In these countries, undernourishment is severe (39 percent compared with 15 percent in all other developing countries), and levels of stunting and under-five mortality rates are of particular concern.

Protracted crises are becoming the new norm, with 40 percent more ongoing food crises considered to be protracted than in 1990. As these crises persist, countries and communities need more effective and  sustainable strategies to build their capacity against shocks and stressors. The concept of resilience has emerged as a viable framework for this, integrating humanitarian and long-term development initiatives.

Building resilience in protracted crises requires innovative policy frameworks, better understanding of structural causes, and coordinated efforts to reduce communities’ exposure to shocks. FAO works with governments and other partners to build resilient livelihoods and food systems in protracted crises through:

Policy support

Providing policy guidance, promoting partnerships, building political commitment and ensuring stronger links between humanitarian and development actions to address the underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, build resilient livelihoods and meet immediate needs in protracted crises.

For example: FAO is involved in preparing the Committee on World Food Security’s Agenda for Action (CFS-A4A), a framework to guide more comprehensive and effective policies and actions to address food insecurity and malnutrition  in protracted crises. It is expected to be endorsed by CFS in 2015.

Information and analysis

Developing tools and promoting common approaches and standards for analysis to inform evidence-based resilience-building policies and programming.

For example: FAO leads efforts to better understand, measure and inform decision-making for  resilience capacity building and policy application through developing and applying the Resilience Index Measurement and Analysis (RIMA) model; works with regional authorities (e.g. IGAD, CILSS) to establish Resilience Analysis Units. FAO also promotes the use of a common approach for food security analysis through the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) in over 29 countries.

Livelihoods support

Identifying and implementing good practices to strengthen communities’ resilience.

For example: FAO supports efforts to enhance communities’ access to social protection and safety nets, land and resources. FAO also develops technical standards and guidelines for preparedness and emergency response and supports their application in protracted crises.

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