From famine to food security: Lessons for building resilient food systems
This brief (PDF) by IFPRI documents lessons for building resilient food systems to prevent future famines. Food aid and development assistance provided by multilateral and bilateral donors can play an important role in reducing famines. This will be crucial for improving food security and economic growth in countries currently facing food security crises. However, long-term commitment of national governments to rural development and food security is important as well. The key to success has been the development of resilient food systems that reduce the vulnerability of populations to food crises and famines when a shock hits. Lessons learned can help develop relief measures that also build food-system resiliency. Resilient food systems can withstand stresses and provide critical access to food and prevent stressed areas from becoming vulnerable to food crises and famine. Food-system resilience is simply the capacity to bounce back to normal or higher levels of food supply after a shock from man-made or natural disaster. Approaches to building resilience can be divided into three categories: 1) Policy systems: A policy system designed for resilience will be responsive and capable of managing emergency, short- and long-term interventions. Actors in the policy process will be able to develop common goals to address food emergencies and balance these goals with long-term development strategies. 2) Institutional: Institutions promote resilience when they have adequate capacity to anticipate, plan, and act effectively to prevent an impending crisis, manage the present crisis, and rebuild to a higher level post crisis. 3) Food systems: Strong and resilient food systems can help to reduce the impacts of drought on food and nutrition security. Countries that have built resilient food systems are better able to prevent famines. Adequate commitment, internal and external, to sustainable solutions has not been forthcoming to address the looming hunger and loss of livelihoods and lives.