The study reveals that hunger is as much the result of poor or weak governance precipitating economic downturn as that of episodic natural or manmade events causing individual and community crises. Effective governance provides an enabling environment which facilitates effective institutional capacity, and the policies and legislative measures needed to pave the way so that individuals, households and communities acquire the sustained ability to reduce hunger. Action by a government to genuinely engage in anti-hunger action fuels the shared views and determination of its citizens to enhance the quality of their lives. This can be accomplished by leveraging physical, social and intellectual resources towards nation building. Humanitarian organisations must now build on their experience and expertise to forge a coalition with their national and international partners in order to strengthen the capacity of national systems for greater accountability to guarantee hunger solutions for their citizens.
This paper challenges the traditional view about chronically food insecure populations, in contrast to relief-assisted population, who are often seen as a ‘structural’ or ‘long-term’ problem, meriting neither an emergency nor recovery assistance. The author puts forward three interlinked assumptions related to chronic food insecurity in developing countries: a) investments in agricultural and rural development over the past decades have declined significantly; b) relief interventions have become effective in saving lives but do not go a further step to encourage investment in recovery of disaster affected population and the food insecure; and c) recovery programmes suffer from lack of best practices, absence of institutional means and dedicated financial arrangements.
The problem of chronically food-insecure populations must be recognised nationally and internationally as a priority, and as a distinct economic group with specific political, security and humanitarian dimensions. Nationally led specific institutions and dedicated recovery funds that focus on the chronically food insecure population must be established. This will guarantee recovery for the chronically food insecure populations and for those requiring sustained assistance following a relief measure.
Food insecurity and chronic marginalisation of poor households have been both symptoms and causes of humanitarian crises in the Third World over the past decades. Despite massive international assistance, and extraordinary technological advances, food insecurity and hunger is expanding, engulfing, every year, millions of people. It is puzzling why hunger continues to affect 850 million people worldwide despite commitments from global citizens of high moral and financial standing, world leaders and national authorities to tackle the problem.
The long-term deterioration in livelihoods coupled with civil strife, sharp inequalities in resource endowment and adverse climate are responsible for humanitarian crisis; if current trends continue, food insecurity risks becoming permanent in some regions of Africa, and defying existing framework of humanitarian assistance for sustainable recovery.
The author underscores a missing link between the international desire to ending hunger and poverty and resource allocation for recovery. For communities, it is the inequalities in opportunities and access to resources that have led to marginalisation; neglect that often is the source of armed conflict. In fact, hunger with its attendant political, security and humanitarian implications is one of the global threats of our times and can become a disruptive force of the future. The key to successful food security strategies is an understanding of the community, its resource endowment in a specific local farming system, and link investment decisions to communities and households that will enhance and create conditions to foster growth and resilience. The duration and intensity of investment are crucial factors of success to protect recovery gains from erosion due to recurrent risk and disasters.