Ethiopia Conference Finds Resilience is Key to Ending Hunger, Malnutrition

Building resilience will be the key to ending hunger and malnutrition by 2025, according to experts who just met at a three-day conference in Ethiopia.

The conference, “Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security,” is organized mainly by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

IFPRI plans on making the post-2015 agenda focus on ending hunger and malnutrition by 2025 through growing resilience against the various environmental, political and economic shocks that threaten food security and livelihoods.

More than 800 experts from all over the world met in Addis Ababa from May 15-17.

IFPRI director general Shenggen Fan stressed the conference’s relevance in an IFPRI press release.

“Many of the potential shocks we face, such as disease, food price spikes and natural disasters, know no borders. Our success in coping, and even thriving in the presence of shocks, will depend on renewed efforts to cooperate and collaborate on a resilience agenda. Strengthened resilience in turn will be key to achieving an end to hunger,” said Fan.

Vulnerable communities and the poor are often the worst hit by these kinds of events. They also face constant threats of accidents, crop failure and disease. All of these things, combined with chronic poverty, fuel the cycle of hunger and undernutrition.

To combat this, IFPRI says research and knowledge sharing are required, along with policy and program prioritizing and a scaling up of successful approaches, especially for smallholder farmers.

“Successful small farms – which are responsible for up to 80% of the food produced in some countries – can create vibrant rural areas that ensure a dynamic flow of economic benefits between rural and urban areas,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

“Investing in the resilience of smallholder farms is also investing in the resilience of food systems and communities and the balanced and sustained development of nations,” said Nwanze.

At the conference, some people announced plans to commit to building resilience. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was one of them.

Cousin announced plans to launch the Food Security Climate Resilience Facility (FoodSECuRE), the goal of which is to provide multiyear financing for long-term activities and respond to forecast climate shocks before they happen, reinforcing community resilience in the process.

“Resilience will pay dividends for fragile communities who today face environmental, economic and nutritional bankruptcy. For people in communities affected by droughts, floods and other shocks, a resilience approach allows comprehensive action that both restores the productivity of people’s land and significantly improves their wellbeing. Empowering resilient families to withstand shocks can reduce – even by half – the likelihood that children will become malnourished,” said Cousin.


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For the press release, click here: