Chatham House Report
Rob Bailey, April 2013
- Despite strong economic growth in many countries of the Horn and Sahel, environmental and demographic changes coupled to low levels of political inclusion and high instability mean that the risk of acute food crises is likely to increase. Conflict and geopolitics act as risk multipliers, meaning that full-blown famine remains a real threat, as was seen most recently in Somalia during 2011.
- These trends mean unmet humanitarian needs are increasing in the Horn and Sahel despite increasing donor spending. The use of famine Early Warning Systems (EWS) to anticipate and mitigate food crises provides a major opportunity to save more lives, protect more livelihoods, check rising costs and close the widening funding gap.
- Yet all too often the link between early warning and early action fails and the opportunity to mitigate a gathering crisis is lost. This report considers in detail the various political, institutional and organizational barriers to translating early warning of famine into early action to avert it, and makes recommendations for how these can be overcome.
Chatham House report: Famine risks are badly managed
BBC News, 5 April 2013
Phi Beta Iota: This is useful, but the raw fact remains that corruption does vastly more damage to our agriculture and food every single day because of political betrayal of the public trust with respect to unsafe practices, unsafe products, and unsafe wastes. Our first priority must be to clean up our own house and end mega-agriculture, the use of pesticides, and genetically modified organisms. We need to press for localized resilience in water, food, and energy. Finally, as Kristan Wheaton has documented so ably, “warning” is too easily ignored by politicians because they are coping with the larger challenges of dealing with the outcomes from the last time they ignored warning. A new public intelligence paradigm is needed, one that educates, informs, and explores in one integrated whole. The latest CIA “futures” report was abyssmal. Governments cannot do this, even with the best of intentions.