Solution Cluster 5.1.1

Conflict & Hunger / HDP nexus

World hunger is increasing, driven by violent conflict, climate change and economic shocks exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises, conflict was the primary driver of crisis-level acute food insecurity or worse for almost 100 million people, including an additional 22 million people in 2020 alone. Many of these crises are protracted, with populations and food systems facing recurring shocks and stresses for years, even decades. The four countries with the highest number of people in crisis-level acute food insecurity or worse – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Afghanistan and the Syrian Arab Republic – were also among the top five countries with the highest number of internally displaced people. Despite having to contend with their own major displacement crises, eight of the 10 worst food-crisis countries were also hosting refugees/asylum seekers fleeing conflict from neighbouring countries.

Grounded in the experiences of local actors and data from conflict-affected and displaced communities, the Coalition on Conflict and Hunger/HDP Nexus Solutions Cluster will put forward solutions designed to create the conditions and structures necessary for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to food systems resilience. These initiatives will support the realisation of commitments towards strengthened collaboration for anticipation, prevention, early action, response and recovery. The Coalition will champion solutions that not only make food systems more conflict-resilient, but also strengthen food systems such that they enhance the prospects for peace.

Linkages to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

Progress on many SDGs, particularly SDG 2, has stalled or reversed in many conflict-affected countries. Given this, the Coalition supports efforts to fulfil three key SDGs: SDG 2 on Zero Hunger, SDG 16 on Peace and Justice, and SDG 17 on Partnerships for the Goals. In addition to addressing issues of hunger, peace and security – through multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary partnerships – the Coalition is also closely aligned to the objectives of SDG5 on Gender Equality, SDG 10 on Reducing Inequalities, SDG 13 on Climate Action. The inclusion of displaced persons forms part of the Leave No One behind Principle underpinning the 2030 Agenda.

About this Solution Cluster

Despite ample evidence that food insecurity can exacerbate violent conflict and that violent conflict is a primary driver of food insecurity and displacement, policy and programming by donors and agencies routinely overlook these dynamics. As part of efforts to tackle root causes and drivers of conflict, peacebuilding efforts must address issues of food insecurity, while humanitarian and development interventions designed to strengthen local food systems and resilience capacities must be aware of conflict dynamics. Lack of attention to these interacting problems means interventions risk having a limited impact and may even exacerbate existing fragilities.

Solutions championed by the Coalition will provide a multidisciplinary, coherent, comprehensive and systemic approach to more robust and sustainable food systems that – in the midst of today’s climate crisis – foster peace and stability.  These solutions, which include accompanying comprehensive risk management interventions, will be implementable in diverse national contexts, including those experiencing forced displacement. These solutions will also provide a nuanced understanding of the relationship between food systems and violent conflict and the range of viable responses to that linkage.

The solutions will engage local communities, as well as humanitarian, development and peacebuilding actors and funders. They will ensure that refugees and other forcibly displaced are included in all efforts. Activities at the global, regional and country levels will be linked to create mutually reinforcing channels of information and learning between theory and practice, as well as across and between different contexts.

The work of the Coalition is underpinned by three core theories of change:

  1. If local communities, as well as national and international humanitarian, development, peacebuilding actors, researchers and funders, have a common understanding of the interactions between conflict and food insecurity in food systems affected by climate crises, then prevention, anticipatory and early action, response and recovery interventions can be designed to maximise their contribution to positive peace and desired food system outcomes. 
  1. If these interventions by peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development actors and funders are coherent, complementary, adaptive and evidence-based, then collective efforts will strengthen the robustness and resilience of food systems and enhance the prospects of positive peace. 
  1. If the global humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding policy communities have a common understanding of food system dynamics in conflict settings, and the role of climate as a “threat multiplier, then international organizations, local actors in conflict-affected countries and donor governments can prevent the deterioration of food systems and enhance the prospects of peace.

A successful Food Systems Summit must address the rising threat of famine, driven by conflict. This is integral to achieving Zero Hunger and ensuring the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2417. The Coalition on Conflict and Hunger/HDP Nexus Solutions Cluster is the only group within the FSS planning process dedicated to improving food systems in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

Only through a comprehensive approach – built on a common understanding of the relationship between hunger and conflict – can we reduce humanitarian needs and build sustainable, resilient food systems.

The approach adopted by the Coalition is in line with, and seeks to support, inter alia, the UN Secretary General’s Sustaining Peace Agenda, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, CFS Framework for Action, the OECD DAC Recommendation on the HDP Nexus, Global Compact on Refugees and others. The proposal will build on, scale up and complement existing frameworks, platforms and mechanisms.

The Coalition will explore ways to link and/or combine solutions proposed to the Coalition (or components therein) to maximize their impact. The Coalition will champion solutions that comprehensively serve the following functions at country/regional or global level:

  •   Provide research and/or analysis;
  •   Support inclusive multi-disciplinary programming and/or policy development;
  •   Assist with resourcing and advocacy efforts;
  •   Strengthen key partnerships across the humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding actors and funders.

The Coalition will link to and draw on solutions championed by other clusters/coalitions that are relevant for achieving robust and resilient food systems in conflict-settings and enhancing the prospects of positive peace.

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