Conflict affects all aspects of livelihoods. War strategies often deliberately undermine livelihoods and war economies may develop, where a powerful elite benefits from war by using violent or exploitative practices. War directly impacts on livelihoods through the destruction, looting and theft of key assets, and indirectly through the loss of basic services and access to employment, markets, farms or pastures. As a result, most people’s livelihood strategies become extremely restricted and may involve considerable risks to personal safety. Contemporary conflict is frequently protracted, and risks to livelihoods thus persist for long periods of time. Protracted conflict is frequently punctuated by periods of acute food insecurity and displacement.
This Network Paper reviews food security and livelihoods programming in conflict. In recent years, emergency food security and livelihoods programming has made important advances as an alternative to food aid to address food insecurity and support livelihoods. Much of the literature on this subject relates to natural disasters, such as drought, floods and earthquakes; livelihood support in conflict has been less well documented. The report draws conclusions about the range of livelihoods interventions that have been, or could be, implemented in situations of conflict, and what more could be done to effectively analyse and support livelihoods in conflict.