Browse by Theme: Resilience

The 2013 Annual State of Food Insecurity in the World report was launched last week, in time for the annual meeting of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This year’s report estimates that progress has been made towards the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the level of global hunger, albeit with wide disparities across regions.

It’s refreshing to have some positive news about the decrease in the number of people who are food insecure and I was pleased at the prominence given to social protection in the report. (See more on the positives below). However there were some glaring omissions. What about the focus on governance and women’s voice? Where is a reflection on the contribution of climate change to food security? And why, at a time when 4 million people inside Syria face food insecurity, does the report stay silent on emergencies and the impact of conflict and crisis on immediate and long term food insecurity? All at a time when the CFS, this week, is finalising policy recommendations for managing food insecurity during protracted crises.

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A pledge of compensation made in 2010 to keep the Yasuní National Park untouched after the discovery of oil appears to have failed. What went wrong? Why couldn’t the Western governments raise the money? How do we change the rules of the game to better balance long term and short term incentives?

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When I first worked in Kenya, 20 years ago, I saw how farming practices could provide a good life for men and women in rural villages even with little rainfall and where basic services, such as water and electricity were almost non-existent. Farmers and livestock keepers in the dry areas of Kenya have been, by necessity, resilient to difficult conditions. But this is at the cost of hard physical work over long hours on the farm alongside a constant search for additional income sources such as from small business activities just to feed the family and send children to school.

20 years on, rural communities are still dependent on the land but are now facing new challenges from the effects of climate change. Perhaps the biggest impact is the increased uncertainty of the weather patterns. Farmers are no longer sure when to plant, where to take animals for good grazing or when they will be affected by the increasing frequency of droughts and floods. This places a new demand on already vulnerable people. How can they adapt to climate change in the face of all this uncertainty?

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