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Building Resilience to Conflict through Food Security Policies and Programs

International Food Policy Research Institute
Year Published:
Resource Type:
Technical Guidance

Food insecurity at the national and household level not only is a consequence of conflict but can also cause and drive conflicts. This paper makes the case for an even higher priority for food security–related policies and programs in conflict‐prone countries. Such policies and programs have the potential to build resilience to conflict by not only helping countries and people cope with and recover from conflict, but also contributing to preventing conflicts and supporting economic development more broadly—that is, helping countries and people become even better off. Based on this definition and a new conceptual framework, the paper offers several insights from four case studies on Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. First, conflicts are often related to other shocks such as economic crises, price shocks, and natural disasters. Second, increasing subsidies is a favored policy measure in times of crisis; however, such measures do not qualify as resilience building. Third, climate change adaptation should be an integral part of conflict prevention in part because climate change is expected to significantly increase the likelihood of conflict in the future. Fourth, building price information systems, introducing and expanding credit and insurance markets, geographic targeting of social safety nets, and building functioning and effective institutions are key measures for building resilience to conflict. Finally, the paper points to several important knowledge gaps.