For several years the number of people who cannot meet their daily food needs without humanitarian assistance has been rising, primarily driven by two factors: persistent instability in conflict-ridden regions and adverse climate events.
These growing needs have been reflected in the increasing level of international humanitarian assistance, which reached US$27.3 billion in 2017, up from US$18.4 billion in 2013. While critical to saving lives and alleviating human suffering, humanitarian assistance does not address the root causes of food crises.
In response, those coordinating emergency humanitarian assistance are working more seriously with those in development support and conflict prevention to find ways to reverse the current trend in escalating numbers of food-insecure people in need of urgent action.
This “new way of working,” aims to address the humanitarian-development (HD) nexus, which emerged from the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, as well as the Agenda for Humanity’s call to “move from delivering aid to ending need,” which provided a framework for thinking about innovative approaches to address food crises more sustainably in line with Sustainable Development Goal 2.1.
These collaborative efforts to prevent and address food crises are reflected in the UN Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2417 in May 2018. It allows the Council to consider its full range of tools — including sanctions — to ensure that parties to conflict do not violate international humanitarian law (IHL) by, for example, starving civilians as a weapon of war, unlawfully denying humanitarian access to civilian populations in need and depriving people of their means to produce food.
This HD nexus is also reflected in the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC), which seeks to combat food crises from humanitarian and development perspectives and tackle the root causes of these crises (see box). This Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) contributes to humanitarian development efforts by providing the global and national food security community and GNAFC members with timely, independent and consensus-based information on the severity, magnitude and drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition in food crisis contexts. This information supports humanitarian and development actors to plan and fund evidence-based responses, while using the data to seek high-level political action for durable solutions to food crises.