Solution Cluster 5.1.3

Systemic Approaches to Crisis & Risk Management

This cluster brings together game changing solutions that address the management of systemic, intersecting and colliding risk and crises threatening and affecting agriculture and food systems (from production to consumption) and the resulting food insecurity and malnutrition outcomes at local, sub-national, national, regional and global levels. The game changing solutions cover the wide range of comprehensive risk management and crisis response (including preventive, anticipative, absorptive, adaptive and transformative actions) linked to various shocks and stresses (considering exposure, vulnerabilities and capacities) including also the management of impacts from disasters, crisis and conflicts on the agri-food sectors, for strengthening the resilience of agri-food systems and their contributions to the fulfilment of the SDGs. 

Governance mechanisms face the challenge of mobilizing the necessary resources and going beyond working in silos to improve efficiency in preventing and responding to increasing cascading emergencies. Risks managed in silos fall short in addressing compounding effects of combining shocks, stresses, and risk drivers. The proposition from Solutions Cluster 1.3. calls for a systemic approach which builds partnerships in Comprehensive Risk Management and Crisis Response. Comprehensive risk management and crisis response puts humans and ecological systems at the centre, integrating multiple risks across sectors and scales while accounting for the context of climate change. To build resilience for food systems, the interactions between disaster and climate related risks and protracted conflicts must also be addressed.

About this Solution Cluster

Interconnected global crises are unfolding: the climate emergency, biodiversity loss, the scale of pollution, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which together with disasters, conflicts and protracted crises, are all driving numerous food crises with food insecurity on the rise and posing existential threats to both humans and the ecosystems that support all life on earth. In recent years, the number of recorded disasters – and their impact on livelihoods and economies – has risen dramatically. Agriculture is particularly affected, absorbing a disproportionate share of the impact of disasters: 26% of all damage and loss caused by medium- to large-scale disasters in developing/low mid-income countries (rising to 30% for climate-related disasters, and up to more than 80% for drought alone). Most recent UNDRR data collected through the Sendai Framework Monitor tells us that for 2019 alone, 67% of all direct economic loss from disasters was in the agriculture sector. This is equivalent to USD 6.4 billion of loss across crops, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry.

This is prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has quickly established itself as the most devastating disease outbreak in recent history. In a world that is already dealing with a climate emergency, fragility, chronic disasters and environmental degradation, the compounding effect of such new emergencies amounts to fighting a crisis within a crisis. In addition, the current food systems are failing to meet human needs equitably and sustainably now and for the future. Adopting a comprehensive risk management approach, including for the COVID-19 green recovery process, must deliver healthier, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems, if we are to achieve the overarching goals of the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,   the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification among others.

Based on comprehensive risk management (CRM) approaches and ongoing crisis responses to multiple emergencies, this solution cluster builds on a suite of already existing risk and crisis management interventions, tools and measures across and within agriculture and food sectors and beyond and implemented altogether by humanitarian, development, climate, sustaining peace and local actors in different contexts from north to south. Comprehensive risk management aims to address the complex and systemic nature of risk by applying inclusive risk governance, using multi-disciplinary approaches to risk reduction and management, engaging various actors in the system and fully incorporating the context of climate change and protracted conflicts. It therefore serves to minimize the need for crisis response, while also supporting crisis management for building resilient systems. The proposition is to consolidate existing partnerships and coalitions, under the general umbrella of improved risk governance across sectors  and  giving priority to the agri-food systems, based on a systemic approach to the complementary suite of risk management interventions needed in policy, field and investment spheres.

The proposition is to consolidate existing partnerships and coalitions, under the general umbrella of improved risk governance across sectors  and  giving priority to the agri-food systems, based on a systemic approach to the complementary suite of risk management interventions needed in policy, field and investment spheres.

Based on comprehensive risk management and crisis response as a foundation, with convergent and coherent actions needed at scale in order to manage systemic and cascading risks and crisis, Solutions Cluster 1.3 has organised the assigned game-changing solutions from Waves 1 & 2 into five thematic coalition ideas. Systemic and multi-hazard risk management require the following main suite of actions or solutions which are complementary, interlinked and driving the proposed thematic coalitions based on existing initiatives and partnerships under the common umbrella of comprehensive risk management and crisis responses which includes the following:  

  1. Risk and crisis governance (including finance/investments/insurance) builds on the CRM approach currently being implemented by UNDRR, UNFCCC and partners, as well as Rome-based-Agencies (RBA)s work on resilience, with partners’ good practices, including responding to crisis. Existing partnerships to build upon include the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI). On climate risk, COVID-19 or other specific disaster risks, all risk and crisis governance are related to similar decision-making processes and capacities for risk-informed policies, strategies plans, regulation, legislation, programme, finance and investments in resilient agri-food systems (see potential synergies with cluster 3.2. on climate risk reduction and management). Institutional insurance and risk-informed and shock-responsive social protection schemes (see AT1) are also critical for multiple risk and crisis governance. For example, the InsuResilience Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance contribute to the adaptation to climate change by improving access to and the use of climate insurance in developing countries, aiming to reduce the vulnerability of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) as well as low-income households to extreme weather events. Similarly, key development agencies in the field of rural finance and financial technology for development are promoting the potential of mobile technology to facilitate the provision of agricultural disaster risk insurance for smallholders (see latest studies and reports produced by GSMA, FAO, ILO and USAID). In the same vein,  the proposal to establish a Food Systems Stability Board, put forth by civil society organizations and discussed in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, can contribute to mitigating risks in the agricultural sector to make investments more attractive (similar to how the Financial Stability Board does in other sectors). 
  2. Understanding and forecasting food crises proposes to strengthen the IPC methodology through digital technologies, building upon coordination with the Cadre Harmonisé and scaling-up to the global level and for all countries and linking to the Global Network Against Food Crises, launched by the European Union, FAO and WFP during the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (see solution cluster 1.1.). Building upon the existing IPC partnership, the IPC Global Platform could evolve into a truly Global Food Security Analysis and Monitoring Platform which is designed to have multi-stakeholder partnerships and governance. The IPC Global Platform could potentially collaborate with sector-specific systems to develop multi-risk Early Warning systems with actionable alerts across and within agriculture and food related sectors. Innovative multi-hazard risk monitoring and forecasting systems currently being implemented in different countries bring together elements of risk prioritization, risk/vulnerability analysis, Multi-hazard EW systems and early action, were recently showcased in the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II) hosted by the WMO in 2019. Advanced multi-risk early warning systems exist for climate risks, such as the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative. Bringing all data on risk and food security monitoring together is critical for preventing and anticipating food for and building resilient agri-food systems.
  3. Anticipatory action is an increasingly important global agenda with several key initiatives and partnerships already working in parallel towards the scale up of this approach at global, regional and country levels. This includes the G7 Compact on Famine Prevention, the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) working on government and partner commitments towards scaling up AA for climate extreme events, the Crisis Lookout Coalition, the Anticipatory Action Task Force of key implementing agencies (FAO, WFP, OCHA, IFRC, START), OCHA-led Inter Agency Anticipatory Action Pilots and the Anticipation Hub.
  4. Vulnerability & risk reduction measures at the field level (including livelihoods and nutrition diversification), linking to many solutions from cluster AT5 1.2, 2.1. and 3.2 as well as other AT1 and 3 solution clusters, are essential to contribute to the thematic coalition proposals on comprehensive risk management approaches along food value chains in all food systems nodes (producing, processing, retailing, consuming, etc.) including on livelihoods and food basket diversification, agroecology and water-food-energy nexus for resilience building. Nature based Solutions from AT3 also contribute to risk and vulnerability reduction measures at ecosystems levels. Same for risk transfer mechanisms such as risk-informed and shock responsive social protection schemes in AT1 and disaster and climate risk insurance and financial products discussed above under risk and crisis governance.

Risk proofing of infrastructures along the food value chain. Governments and partners have already started to form partnerships for action on resilient infrastructure. The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) was launched in 2020 under the leadership of Government of India. This coalition is a global partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions that aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development. A dedicated workstream could be recommended to the existing CDRI for prioritizing risk-proofing all infrastructures related to the food value chain (including post-harvest infrastructures), and together with other interested partners.

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