Friday, May 4, 2018
9:00am – 5:30pm
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
160 Packard Avenue
Medford, MA 02155
Between 2000 and 2011 there were no famines, and deaths in humanitarian emergencies had been much reduced. Yet today famine has returned to the world stage. In 2017, the United Nations identified four situations of acute food insecurity that threatened famine or breached that threshold—in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
Drawing on Tufts University’s distinguished record of scholarship and public engagement on the subject of famine, this conference will bring together faculty and researchers from across the University, in conversation with outside experts. Panels will address why famine has returned, today’s humanitarian challenges, legal and political issues related to criminalizing famine, and the most pressing famine of today, Yemen.
Panel One: Why has Famine Returned?
Chair: Diana Chigas
Panelists: Dan Maxwell, Bill Moomaw, and Luka Kuol
Panelists will address the multi-causal nature of famine, including looking at climatic, food production, economic and political causes of famine, and how these contributed both to the spectacular decline in famines and to new and emergent famine risks.
Dan Maxwell discusses areas of famine watch in 2018, and what factors–notably armed conflict–are driving recent increases in global threats of famine.
Bill Moomaw’s presentation takes the long view: drawing on his expertise as an analyst of global climate change, Moomaw points to longer-term trends impacting food and water security.
Luka Kuol concentrates on the Horn of Africa, and points to the role of complex political crises in fomenting conditions that produce famine.
Panel Two: Challenges of Humanitarian Action
Chair: Dan Maxwell
Panelists: Erin Boyd, Patrick Webb, and Jennifer Leaning
Panelists will address the way in which humanitarian action has become more extensive, ambitious, complex and professional than ever before, with a wider than ever number of actors. They will examine the nutritional, public health, logistical, informational, coordination and security challenges of mounting humanitarian responses.
Erin Boyd focuses on severe acute malnutrition.
Patrick Webb argues that there have been major successes in responding to crises, a factor that significantly reduced death and the number of famines over time.
Jennifer Leaning addresses questions of humanitarian access, legal principles that apply, remote access and the case of Syria.
Panel Three: The Politics and Law of Starvation
Chair: Bridget Conley
Panelists: Alex de Waal, Rhoda E. Howard–Hassmann and Tom Dannenbaum
Bridget Conley introduces the panelists.
Panelists will address the question of starvation as a war crime or crime against humanity, and as a political failure, and the measures that could be undertaken to enhance political will to prevent famine and legal and political actions to ensure accountability for starvation crimes.
Alex de Waal argues that famine needs to placed within a collective understanding of mass atrocity–as a crime.
Rhoda Howard-Hassmann analyses what she calls ‘food crimes’ in non-conflict cases focusing on Venezuela.
Tom Dannenbaum focuses on international criminal law to draw attention to what legal mechanisms currently exist that might apply to famine
Chair: Greg Gottlieb
Panelists: Monica Toft, Martha Mundy, and Dyan Mazurana
Greg Gottlieb introduces the panel.
The humanitarian crisis is the biggest disaster of food crisis, health crisis and the massive destruction of livelihoods of our time. It is largely a man-made disaster, perpetrated on a civilian population as a byproduct of the conduct of war—a war in close western allies have a leading role. Panelists will discuss the Yemen crisis and what should be the international response.
Monica Toft addresses geopolitical context in which the war in Yemen–and the resulting famine–is occurring.
Martha Mundy provides an overview of the assault by coalition forces against Yemen already limited food production capacity.
Dyan Mazurana draws from the record in other conflicts zones to point out the long-term impacts of sustained violence
Alex de Waal, Executive Director, World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Bill Moomaw, Professor Emeritus of International Environmental Policy, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Bridget Conley, Research Director, World Peace Foundation at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Dan Maxwell, Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
Diana Chigas, Professor of the Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Senior International Officer and Associate Provost, Tufts University
Dyan Mazurana, Research Director, Gender, Youth, and Community, Feinstein; Associate Research Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Director, Masters of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) program; Senior Fellow, World Peace Foundation
Erin Boyd, Adjunct Instructor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
Greg Gottlieb, Director, Feinstein International Center, Irwin H. Rosenberg Professor in Nutrition and Human Security, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University
Jennifer Leaning, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Director, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University
Luka Kuol, Professor of Practice for Security Studies, Africa Center for Strategic Studies
Martha Mundy, Professor Emeritus Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science
Monica Toft, Professor of International Politics, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Patrick Webb, Alexander McFarlane Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
Rhoda E. Howard – Hassmann, Professor, School of International Policy and Governance, and Department of Political Science; Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights, Wilfred Laurier University
Tom Dannenbaum, Assistant Professor of International Law, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University