Protracted crises are among the most challenging contexts in which to fight food insecurity and malnutrition. Driven by multiple underlying causes such as recurrent natural or human made disasters, weak governance and unsustainable livelihood systems, protracted crises affect an estimated 366 million people worldwide. Of this number, more than one in three people – 129 million – are undernourished, a rate more than twice the level of other developing countries. This represents 20 percent of all undernourished people in the world. The persistent nature of these crises combined with inadequate response threatens lives and livelihoods, eroding coping mechanisms and often making recovery more difficult over time.
In 2010, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) concluded that protracted crises require special attention. A consultative process was launched to develop and ensure broad ownership of an Agenda for Action for Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises (CFS-A4A).
Progress can be made toward improved food security and nutrition in protracted crises by addressing known limitations in policies and actions. A wealth of evidence exists on the interventions required to produce sustainable food security and nutrition outcomes. The CFS-A4A distils key principles from this knowledge base, to inform more comprehensive and effective policies and actions.
In addition to offering policy guidance, the CFS-A4A is a call for transformative action – by all actors, at all levels – to provide affected populations the support they need. This requires leveraging the strengths of humanitarian assistance and development actions and resources to implement comprehensive, rights-based policies and actions which address the underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, build resilient livelihoods and food systems and meet immediate needs in protracted crisis situations.
The CFS-A4A is intended to provide practical, evidence-based guidance to governments, affected communities, intergovernmental and regional organizations, civil society organizations, research and extension organizations, universities, the private sector, donors and foundations. The CFS-A4A will be voluntary and non-binding and should be interpreted and applied in line with existing obligations under national and international law.
Consultations with CFS stakeholders on the CFS-A4A have been held since July 2013, and a global meeting was held in April 2014 in Addis Ababa to discuss the CFS-A4A Zero Draft. This e-consultation aims to build on the feedback and input received to date by providing an opportunity for individuals and organizations that have not yet been able to participate in physical meetings.
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