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Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS)
 
Food Security Post-Conflict: A Foundation for Peace and Sustainable Development

Food security was the focus of a panel entitled, "Food Security Post-Conflict: A Foundation for Peace and Development" within the Office of Strategic Health Initiatives conference on Rebuilding Health Post-Conflict: A Dialogue for the Future held on December 8-9 on the AUB campus. The panel featured speakers drawn from international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and academia: Dr. Maurice Saade, Representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Lebanon; Dr. Tony Colman, Research Fellow holding appointments at the University of East Anglia, the University of Cape Town, and the Earth Institute, Columbia University; Professor Rami Zurayk, Chairperson of the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management at the FAFS, AUB and member of the High Level Panel of Experts on food security; and Mr. Joaquin Cadario, Food Security and Livelihoods Coordinator at Action Against Hunger. The panel was chaired by Professor Nahla Hwalla, Dean of the FAFS at AUB.

Dr. Hwalla opened the session by defining the concept of food security and providing a rapid overview of food security within the Middle East and North Africa region generally and Lebanon in particular, where more than half of all Lebanese and 60-90% of refugees are moderately or severely food insecure.  She called for a new approach to food security that considers both food production (supply) and consumption (demand) simultaneously.

In his intervention, Dr. Saade summarized key evidence on the hunger-conflict-peace relationship:
• Conflict has a strong adverse impact on hunger and food security.
• High food prices and a lack of access to food contribute to political instability and civil conflict.
• Food security and improved rural livelihoods may help prevent conflicts and secure peace, BUT more evidence is needed on this relationship.

Dr. Saade recommended that more research be conducted on the relationship between conflict, food security and peace to provide a stronger basis for effective programming post-conflict.

Next, Dr. Colman emphasized that food and nutrition security can play an important role in post-conflict societies by providing better health and employment through environmentally sustainable agriculture and investment in both food production and healthy consumption. He recommended that governments and donors invest in infrastructure, water-saving practices, conservation agriculture, and promotion of the Mediterranean Diet to achieve a smooth post-conflict transition.

In his remarks, Dr. Zurayk stressed that food security, nutrition and health are closely interlinked and share common determinants including clean water and sanitation; and that ensuring food security-nutrition-health in post-conflict settings requires sustainable livelihoods and a clear focus on nutrition. Dr. Zurayk recommended adopting a systematic approach to strengthen these linkages, and to rebuild livelihoods to foster resilience and catalyze recovery in post-conflicts and emphasize women’s involvement for the benefit of the whole household.

The final speaker, Mr. Cadario, explained that Action Against Hunger approaches nutrition security across three program components: food security, maternal and child care and feeding practices, and access to health and a healthy environment. He noted that disrupted markets, damaged agricultural systems, loss of household incomes and post-trauma stress for caregivers all contribute to food and nutrition insecurity in post-conflict settings. Finally, Mr. Cadario recommended that food and nutrition security programming in post-conflict settings should include: rehabilitation of marketplaces and roads, restoration of agricultural systems, provision of cash and income support, and targeting caregivers through provision of maternal and child care and promotion of sound feeding practices.

For further information: (Food Security Post-Conflict: A Foundation for Peace and Development)
http://www.aub.edu.lb/fafs/FoodSecurity/Resources/newsevents/Pages/index.aspx.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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