Policy Support and Governance Gateway
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Resilience in Protracted Crises

Protracted crises are contexts in which a significant proportion of the population is acutely vulnerable to hunger, disease and disruptions to livelihoods over prolonged periods. In these situations, undernourishment is severe, long-standing and almost three times more frequent than in other developing contexts. FAO currently identifies 22 countries with a protracted crisis situation. Of these, 16 were in this category in 2010, 13 of which are in Africa.

Strengthen livelihoods in in protracted crisis through policy guidance.

Almost all countries with a protracted crisis have experienced violent conflict over prolonged periods of time; in six such contexts, conflict has been ongoing for at least 18 of the last 20 years.

FAO provides policy guidance, builds partnerships, and supports in-country programmes to strengthen conflict-sensitive livelihoods and food systems in protracted crisis situations. These help support vulnerable communities and households, improving their food and nutrition status, whilst building resilience to future shocks and stressors.

Key policy messages

·        Acute food insecurity deteriorated alarmingly in 2021 in numerous food-crisis countries/territories. Nearly 193 million people were in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent in 53 countries/territories where comparable data were available in 2021 – as a result of intensified conflict, significant economic shocks and some of the most severe weather extremes in recent years, or a combination of these drivers. This increase  in numbers reflects a higher availability of acute food insecurity data, broader geographical coverage, revised population figures, and deteriorating food security contexts in a number of countries.

·        Conflict and insecurity, climate shocks and economic turbulence – the main drivers of food insecurity – continue to erode livelihoods and destroy lives. In 2021, around 139 million people were facing Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent across 24 countries/territories where conflict/insecurity was considered the primary driver. More specifically, economic shocks were the main drivers in 21 countries in 2021, where 30.2 million people were in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent. Weather extremes were the main drivers of acute food insecurity in eight African countries, with 23.5 million people in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent.

·        In this context, the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC) offers a platform for the international community to coordinate concerted and coherent efforts towards preventing food and nutrition crises, mitigating their impacts, and boosting resilient and sustainable post crisis recovery and rehabilitation for transforming agriculture and food-systems. It involves working at the global, regional and national levels to support partnerships within existing structures and to improve advocacy, decision-making, policy and programming through shared analysis and knowledge, strengthened coordination in evidence-based responses and collective efforts across the Humanitarian, Development and Peace (HDP) nexus.

·        Continue to address not only the immediate symptoms of food crises but also focusing on their root causes (considering global regional and national dimensions of risks), policies in protracted crises should look to the future through linkages across the HDP nexus to increase community, household, food systems and ecosystem resilience.

·        Policies and actions must be informed with contextual understanding of complex dynamics and drivers of vulnerability such as conflict and insecurity, climate change, environmental degradation, and demographic change.

·        Promote, support and strengthen local and national institutional and organizational capacities is critical in ensuring improved food security and nutrition outcomes in protracted crises. This must be done with great care and with respect for informal and traditional institutions and based on good understanding of natural resource management (such as land and water), which can often be at the basis of  local tensions and disputes. FAO supports transparent and inclusive governance practices that involve civil society and indigenous/local populations, which are adapted to their contextual realities.

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