Food security policy and governance

Food security and stability

How can Food and Nutrition Security programming “do good” in fragile settings?
Image: Abel Kavanagh

After years of increasing global food security world hunger is rising again. This rise is concentrated mainly in countries affected by conflict and fragility where violent conflict can destroy crops, assets and displace people. As a result of prolonged instability borders can be closed, (safe) access to markets can be limited, and farm inputs can become scarcely available. To deal with such a precarious environment farmers and actors along the food chain employ various coping mechanisms that are at best detrimental to food availability, and at worst can contribute to further instability. Conversely through the importance of agriculture in the economies of these countries the development of the sector can contribute to an enabling environment for increased stability. Especially the promotion of resilience of (rural) food systems can serve to increase household and community food security in the face of instability. In this topic we look at the relation between food security and stability, especially ways in which interventions on this nexus can achieve more resilient food systems, contribute to stability and can bridge humanitarian and development programming.

Over the past year the F&BKP has also supported and organized various knowledge activities related to this topic within its knowledge trajectory on the food security and stability nexus. See our discussion paper on the relationship between food security and conflict, the report and practical tool from a project investigating conflict sensitivity in the practice of food security programming at embassy level, and the report of the session on conflict sensitivity and food security at the ‘Two Peas in a Pod’ conference.

Academic article Briefing Discussion paper Paper Publication Report Webinar
Africa Colombia Ethiopia Global Guatemala Kenya Latin America Mali Pakistan Palestine South Sudan Uganda West Africa
2018 2017
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Conflict and hunger: The lived experience of conflict and food insecurity in South Sudan
Published by Concern Worldwide,
This report seeks to understand how conflict affects individuals, groups and communities, the different mechanisms by which conflict affects food security and what opportunities remain for mitigating the impact of conflict on hunger. The study documents conflict's devastating impact on food security in areas both acutely and less directly affected by violence. »
Food security and conflict: Empirical challenges and future opportunitites for research and policy making on food security and conflict
Published by World Development Journal,
This article emphasizes the endogeneity that characterizes the coupling between food (in)security and violent conflict. While the policy community has pushed forward with new programs, the academic debate about the causal linkages between food security and conflict remains debated. Closing data gaps will be essential for producing effective food security and peacebuilding policies. »
Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries
Published by CTA,
This briefing focuses on agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries.The role of agriculture and food has a particular resonance in fragile and conflict states. Smallholder farming can form the basis of peace-building. »
Markets in crises: The implications for humanitarian action
Published by Overseas Development Institute,
This report collates findings across three case studies on what actually happens to institutions around markets during and after crises, and explores how humanitarian policies and interventions can be used to maximize the potential of markets to support the household resilience of people living in situations of crises. »
Armed conflict and food security in West Africa: Socioeconomic perspective
Published by International Journal of Social Economics,
This paper examines the effect on increasing armed conflict on food security in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries. The findings reveal that armed conflict is a significant predictor of food security in West Africa.  »
Conflict and hunger: Breaking a vicious cycle
Published by Swiss' and Netherlands missions to the UN,
This report presents the findings and recommendations from a series of seminars on the link between conflict and hunger. Preventing conflict, mitigating its negative impacts on food security and establishing sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems requires a multi-disciplinary response. »
Food security and conflict: Empirical challenges and future opportunities for research and policy making on food security and conflict
Published by World Development Journal,
This article emphasizes the endogeneity that characterizes the coupling between food (in)security and violent conflict. Results reveal that causal and substantive links exist between food security and violent conflict, spanning the individual up to global levels. »
Food security, resilience and well-being analysis of refugees and host communities in northern Uganda
Published by FAO,
This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the refugees' food security, well-being and resilience in Northern Uganda. Although refugees in Uganda are given land and mobility rights, their food security remains low, with a high dependency of food aid. »
The effect of violent conflict on household resilience and food security: Evidence from the 2014 Gaza conflict
Published by World Development Journal,
This paper studies how conflict affects household resilience capacity and food security, drawing on panel data collected from households in Palestine before and after the 2014 Gaza conflict. Household resilience capacity that is necesssary to resist food insecurity declined as a result of conflict. »
The nexus between food and nutrition security, and migration: Clarifying the debate and charting a way forward
Published by ECDPM,
This discussion paper clarifies the characteristics of the nexus between food security and migration, frames the debate and provides recommendations for further work around agriculture and rural development (ARD) and migration interventions.  »
School feeding or general food distribution? Quasi-experimental evidence on the educational impacts of emergency food assistance during conflict in Mali
Published by UNICEF,
This report investigates the effects of emergency school feeding and general food distribution (GFD) on children’s schooling during conflict in Mali. School feeding led to increases in enrolment by 11 percentage points and to about an additional half-year of completed schooling. »
Agricultural production amid conflict: Separating the effects of conflict into shocks and uncertainty
Published by World Development Journal,
This paper examines the effect of conflict on agricultural production of small farmers and whether households respond differently to conflict shocks and uncertainty brought about the presence of non-state armed actors. Shocks may arise when either government or non-state armed actor is hegemonic in the region... »
The impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security 2017
Published by FAO,
This report provides the latest data on the impact of disasters and crises on agriculture sectors. Standardizing disaster-related damage and loss assessments enables the monitoring of international targets and goals, and facilitates enhanced cooperation and coordination. »
The impact of food assistance on food insecure populations during conflict: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in Mali
Published by World Development Journal,
This article aims to evaluate the impact of humanitarian aid on the food security of rural populations in Mali. A quasi-experimental study based on two survey rounds, five years apart, was designed for the Mopti region in Northern Mali. Data was collected from 66 communities randomly selected from within food-insecure districts. Study outcomes include household expenditures and food consumption and a proxy for child nutritional status (height measurements).  Program impact was estimated by combining propensity score matching and difference-in-difference. »
Global report on food crises 2018
Published by Food Security Information Network,
The 2018 Global Report on Food Crises provides the latest estimates of severe hunger in the world. An estimated 124 million people in 51 countries are currently facing crisis food insecurity or worse. New or intensified and protracted conflict or insecurity, the main drivers of food insecurity. »
Increasing social-ecological resilience within small-scale agriculture in conflict-affected Guatemala
Published by Ecology and Society Journal,
This article focuses on the challenge of increasing social-ecological resilience in small-scale agriculture is particularly in the socioeconomically and agroecologically marginalized Western Highlands of Guatemala. Climate change is a threat to agriculture in this region and adaptation strategies are challenged by the context of a society torn apart by decades of violent conflict. »
SOFI: Building resilience for peace and food security
Published by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO,
This report monitors progress towards the SDG targets of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition. After a prolonged decline, a recent increase in undernourishment could signal a reversal of trends. The report singles out conflict - increasingly compounded by climate change - as one of the key drivers behind the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition. »
Sustaining Peace Webinar I – The role of conflict-sensitive natural resource management approaches
Published by FAO,
This webinar by FAO explores the nexus between conflict, food security and peace. It examined the linkages between natural resource management, investment in resilient agricultural livelihoods and contributions to peacebuilding and sustaining peace. »
Cash tranfers, food security and resilience in fragile contexts
Published by German Development Institute,
This paper provides an overview of the evidence on the impact of cash-based interventions (CBIs) in fragile contexts on the immediate, underlying and basic causes of food and nutrition security. The paper stresses the high potential of CBIs for humanitarian and transitional assistance. »
From famine to food security: Lessons for building resilient food systems
Published by IFPRI,
This brief 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. However, long-term commitment to rural development and food security is important as well. »
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