Cover Image
close this bookBriefs for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment - 2020 Vision : Brief 1 - 64 (IFPRI)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2020 BRIEF 1 - AUGUST 1994: ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
View the document2020 BRIEF 2 - AUGUST 1994: WORLD SUPPLY AND DEMAND PROJECTIONS FOR CEREALS, 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 3 - AUGUST 1994: WORLD PRODUCTION OF CEREALS, 1966-90
View the document2020 BRIEF 4 - AUGUST 1994: SUSTAINABLE FARMING: A POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
View the document2020 BRIEF 5 - OCTOBER 1994: WORLD POPULATION PROJECTIONS, 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 6 - OCTOBER 1994: MALNUTRITION AND FOOD INSECURITY PROJECTIONS, 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 7 - OCTOBER 1994: AGRICULTURAL GROWTH AS A KEY TO POVERTY ALLEVIATION
View the document2020 BRIEF 8 - OCTOBER 1994: CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
View the document2020 BRIEF 9 - FEBRUARY 1995: THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURE IN SAVING THE RAIN FOREST
View the document2020 BRIEF 10 - FEBRUARY 1995: A TIME OF PLENTY, A WORLD OF NEED: THE ROLE OF FOOD AID IN 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 11 - FEBRUARY 1995: MANAGING AGRICULTURAL INTENSIFICATION
View the document2020 BRIEF 12 - FEBRUARY 1995: TRADE LIBERALIZATION AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 13 - APRIL 1995: THE POTENTIAL OF TECHNOLOGY TO MEET WORLD FOOD NEEDS IN 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 14 - APRIL 1995: AN ECOREGIONAL PERSPECTIVE ON MALNUTRITION
View the document2020 BRIEF 15 - APRIL 1995: AGRICULTURAL GROWTH IS THE KEY TO POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN LOW-INCOME DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
View the document2020 BRIEF 16 - APRIL 1995: DECLINING ASSISTANCE TO DEVELOPING-COUNTRY AGRICULTURE: CHANGE OF PARADIGM?
View the document2020 BRIEF 17 - MAY 1995: GENERATING FOOD SECURITY IN THE YEAR 2020: WOMEN AS PRODUCERS, GATEKEEPERS, AND SHOCK ABSORBERS
View the document2020 BRIEF 18 - MAY 1995: BIOPHYSICAL LIMITS TO GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION
View the document2020 BRIEF 19 - MAY 1995: CAUSES OF HUNGER
View the document2020 BRIEF 20 - MAY 1995: CHINA AND THE FUTURE GLOBAL FOOD SITUATION
View the document2020 BRIEF 21 - JUNE 1995: DEALING WITH WATER SCARCITY IN THE NEXT CENTURY
View the document2020 BRIEF 22 - JUNE 1995: THE RIGHT TO FOOD: WIDELY ACKNOWLEDGED AND POORLY PROTECTED
View the document2020 BRIEF 23 - JUNE 1995: CEREALS PROSPECTS IN INDIA TO 2020: IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY
View the document2020 BRIEF 24 - JUNE 1995: REVAMPING AGRICULTURAL R&D
View the document2020 BRIEF 25 - AUGUST 1995: MORE THAN FOOD IS NEEDED TO ACHIEVE GOOD NUTRITION BY 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 26 - AUGUST 1995: PERSPECTIVES ON EUROPEAN AGRICULTURE IN 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 27 - AUGUST 1995: NONDEGRADING LAND USE STRATEGIES FOR TROPICAL HILLSIDES
View the document2020 BRIEF 28 - AUGUST 1995: EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS FOR FOOD SECURITY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
View the document2020 BRIEF 29 - AUGUST 1995: POVERTY, FOOD SECURITY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT
View the document2020 BRIEF 30 - JANUARY 1996: RISING FOOD PRICES AND FALLING GRAIN STOCKS: SHORT-RUN BLIPS OR NEW TRENDS?
View the document2020 BRIEF 31 - APRIL 1996: MIDDLE EAST WATER CONFLICTS AND DIRECTIONS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION
View the document2020 BRIEF 32 - APRIL 1996: THE TRANSITION IN THE CONTRIBUTION OF LIVING AQUATIC RESOURCES TO FOOD SECURITY
View the document2020 BRIEF 33 - JUNE 1996: MANAGING RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN SOUTH ASIA
View the document2020 BRIEF 34 - JUNE 1996: IMPLEMENTING THE URUGUAY ROUND: INCREASED FOOD PRICE STABILITY BY 2020?
View the document2020 BRIEF 35 - JULY 1996: SOCIOPOLITICAL EFFECTS OF NEW BIOTECHNOLOGIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
View the document2020 BRIEF 36 - OCTOBER 1996: RUSSIA'S FOOD ECONOMY IN TRANSITION: WHAT DO REFORMS MEAN FOR THE LONG-TERM OUTLOOK?
View the document2020 BRIEF 37 - OCTOBER 1996: UNCOMMON OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY - An Agenda for Science and Public Policy
View the document2020 BRIEF 38 - OCTOBER 1996: WORLD TRENDS IN FERTILIZER USE AND PROJECTIONS TO 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 39 - OCTOBER 1996: REDUCING POVERTY AND PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT: THE OVERLOOKED POTENTIAL OF LESS-FAVORED LANDS
View the document2020 BRIEF 40 - OCTOBER 1996: POLICIES TO PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE FERTILIZER USE AND SUPPLY TO 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 41 - DECEMBER 1996: STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN THE DEMAND FOR FOOD IN ASIA
View the document2020 BRIEF 42 - MARCH 1997: AFRICA'S CHANGING AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES
View the document2020 BRIEF 43 - JUNE 1997: THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF AIDS ON POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH RATES
View the document2020 BRIEF 44 - JUNE 1997: LAND DEGRADATION IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD: ISSUES AND POLICY OPTIONS FOR 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 45 - JUNE 1997: AGRICULTURE, TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN LATIN AMERICA: A 2020 PERSPECTIVE
View the document2020 BRIEF 46 - JUNE 1997: AGRICULTURE, TRADE, AND REGIONALISM IN SOUTH ASIA
View the document2020 BRIEF 47 - AUGUST 1997: THE NONFARM SECTOR AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: REVIEW OF ISSUES AND EVIDENCE
View the document2020 BRIEF 48 - FEBRUARY 1998: CHALLENGES TO THE 2020 VISION FOR LATIN AMERICA: FOOD AND AGRICULTURE SINCE 1970
View the document2020 BRIEF 49 - APRIL 1998: NUTRITION SECURITY IN URBAN AREAS OF LATIN AMERICA
View the document2020 BRIEF 50 - JUNE 1998: FOOD FROM PEACE: BREAKING THE LINKS BETWEEN CONFLICT AND HUNGER
View the document2020 BRIEF 51 - JULY 1998: TECHNOLOGICAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUSTAINING WHEAT PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH TOWARD 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 52 - SEPTEMBER 1998: PEST MANAGEMENT AND FOOD PRODUCTION: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
View the document2020 BRIEF 53 - OCTOBER 1998: POPULATION GROWTH AND POLICY OPTIONS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
View the document2020 BRIEF 54 - OCTOBER 1998: FOSTERING GLOBAL WELL-BEING: A NEW PARADIGM TO REVITALIZE AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
View the document2020 BRIEF 55 - OCTOBER 1998: THE POTENTIAL OF AGROECOLOGY TO COMBAT HUNGER IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
View the document2020 RESUMEN No. 56 - OCTUBRE DE 1998: AYUDA A LA AGRICULTURA EN LOS PAÍSES EN DESARROLLO: INVERSIONES EN LA REDUCCIÓN DE LA POBREZA Y NUEVAS OPORTUNIDADES DE EXPORTACIÓN
View the document2020 BRIEF 57 - OCTOBER 1998: ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ASIA: A FUTURE OF DIMINISHING GROWTH AND INCREASING POVERTY?
View the document2020 BRIEF 58 - FEBRUARY 1999: SOIL DEGRADATION: A THREAT TO DEVELOPING-COUNTRY FOOD SECURITY BY 20207
View the document2020 BRIEF 59 - MARCH 1999: AGRICULTURAL GROWTH, POVERTY ALLEVIATION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: HAVING IT ALL
View the document2020 BRIEF 60 - MAY 1999: CRITICAL CHOICES FOR CHINA'S AGRICULTURAL POLICY
View the document2020 BRIEF 61 - MAY 1999: LIVESTOCK TO 2020: THE NEXT FOOD REVOLUTION
View the document2020 BRIEF 62 - OCTOBER 1999: NUTRIENT DEPLETION IN THE AGRICULTURAL SOILS OF AFRICA
View the document2020 BRIEF 63 - NOVEMBER 1999: PROSPECTS FOR INDIA'S CEREAL SUPPLY AND DEMAND TO 2020
View the document2020 BRIEF 64 - FEBRUARY 2000: OVERCOMING CHILD MALNUTRITION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: PAST ACHIEVEMENTS AND FUTURE CHOICES
View the document2020 BRIEF 65 - MARCH 2000: COMBINING INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL INPUTS FOR SUSTAINABLE INTENSIFICATION

2020 BRIEF 50 - JUNE 1998: FOOD FROM PEACE: BREAKING THE LINKS BETWEEN CONFLICT AND HUNGER

Ellen Messer, Marc J. Cohen, and Jashinta D'Costa

Ellen Messer is an anthropologist at the Watson Institute of International Studies, Brown University, and former director of the World Hunger Program Marc J. Cohen is special assistant to the director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute Jashinta D'Costa is associate food security specialist at Save the Children Federation/U.S

This brief is based on 2020 Vision Discussion Paper 24 of the same title.

Creating a hunger-free world in the 21st century will require prevention and resolution of violent conflicts, as well as a concerted effort to rebuild war-torn societies. Between 1970 and 1990 violent conflicts led to hunger and reduced food production and economic growth in 43 developing countries. The reverse is also true, however: hunger and lack of access to basic necessities often lie at the root of violent conflicts.

In the 1990s, complex humanitarian emergencies, as the result of conflicts, proliferated. By 1996, armed hostilities and their aftermath put 80 million people at risk of hunger, including 23 million refugees, 27 million displaced within their own countries, and 30 million trapped within combat areas. Resolving hostilities and reversing associated agricultural and economic losses are critical if agriculture and human development outlooks are to improve in the 21st century. Conflict prevention must also be a goal of development and emergency assistance programs.

CONFLICT LINKS TO HUNGER

Conflict destroys land, water, biological, and social resources for food production, while military expenditures lower investments in health, education, agriculture, and environmental protection. Conflict leads to food insecurity through such deliberate acts as sieges of cities, stripping of victims' assets, destruction of markets, elimination of health care, and breakup of communities. Other consequences of war are less intentional: people, including farmers and pastoralists, lose their livelihoods when workplaces become inaccessible. Once conflict ends, land mines must be removed, water systems refurbished, trees replanted, housing rebuilt, and communities revitalized. Without essential food and infrastructure, fragile peace can easily revert to conflict.

"Food wars," defined here to include the use of hunger as a weapon or hunger that follows from destructive conflict, are implicated in the famines of the 1980s and 1990s in Africa, and in chronic underproduction, food insecurity, and resource-poor postconflict economies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

A methodology designed to measure differences between food production in peaceful and war years suggests that a close relationship exists between conflict and declining per capita food production in Sub-Saharan Africa during 1970-93. This shows that countries experiencing conflict on average produced 12.4 percent less food per capita in war years than in peacetime. Comparison of wartime and "peace-adjusted" trends shows that since 1980, peace would have added 2 to 5 percent to Africa's food production per capita per year. In the 1990s, war reduced growth rates of food production per capita by 3.9 to 5.3 percent (see Figure 1).

HUNGER LINKS TO CONFLICT

Food and economic insecurity and natural resource scarcities - real and perceived - also can be major sources of conflict. When politically dominant groups seize land and food resources, deny access to other culturally or economically marginalized groups, and cause hunger and scarcities, violence often flares. In Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Sudan, food crises resulting from drought and mismanagement of agriculture and relief and development aid led to rebellion and government collapse, followed by even greater food shortfalls in ensuing years of conflict. Denial of the right to food has been linked to uprisings and civil war in Central America and Mexico. Food insecurity is also integral to civil conflicts in Asia. Competition for resources has generated cycles of hunger and hopelessness that have bred violence in Sri Lanka as well as Rwanda.

Since the 1980s, aid agencies have moved food into conflict zones to prevent noncombatant famine deaths. Unfortunately, combatants often hijack food aid and use it to reward supporters, starve opponents, and keep conflict alive. The challenge is to deliver aid that saves lives and renews productive capacities without fueling further fighting.

In southern Sudan, for example, both government and opposition forces have used food and hunger as weapons to control territory and people. Armed groups have commandeered food aid. By 1998, 2.6 million people required emergency food aid, and a third of the country's children were malnourished. Northern Arab Islamic interests vie with those of southern Black animists and Christians in a protracted struggle over the south's fertile land, water, and petroleum, in addition to hearts and minds.


Figure 1 - Actual and peace-adjusted food production in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1970-93

Source: World Hunger Program, Brown University, calculated from FAO data.

LINKING RELIEF TO DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE

Breaking the links between hunger and conflict must become a goal of food, agricultural, environmental, and economic development policy. For the international community this will entail paying closer attention to relief of food insecurity that can lead to conflict; delivery of development aid in ways that prevent competition leading to conflict; distribution of essential food aid in ways that do not prolong conflict; and special attention to reconstruction assistance.

By 1996, 10 cents of every aid dollar went to emergencies; at the same time official development aid had decreased 15 percent from 1991. This means fewer resources for investments in human well-being - including primary health care, clean water, sanitation, education, agricultural research, environmental restoration, and food security - that could help forestall conflicts.

To address this dilemma, aid officials have emphasized aid that links relief to development, leading to long-run economic growth and averting the need for further aid in the future. But emergency relief also must include conflict mitigation whenever possible. Once the conflict ends, aid agencies need to engage the affected communities in transforming humanitarian programs into reconstruction and development activities. Aid should provide incentives for intergroup cooperation, rather than reinforcing the competition that led to violence to begin with, and should draw, where appropriate, on traditional social structures and conflict resolution mechanisms.

For example, postconflict Eritrea has established an ambitious reconstruction plan. Demobilized troops and returning refugees receive credit and training for reconstruction and income generation activities. Workers are often paid with food aid. But administrative costs are high, financial constraints are severe, and the government has not consistently forged partnerships with communities for project design and implementation.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS AND FURTHER RESEARCH

It is essential to include conflict prevention in food security and development efforts, and to link food security and economic development to relief. Savings from conflict avoidance should be calculated as "returns" to aid. Humanitarian assistance must include agricultural and rural development components that lead to secure livelihoods and build sus-tainable social and agricultural systems, such as efficient water management, biodiversity in seed selection, and community participation. Such new thinking would shape new policies:

· Official aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations, in partnership with developing-country governments and communities, should develop conflict early-warning systems incorporating social, cultural, political, and economic factors.

· Relief and development assistance in pre-, active, and postconflict zones must reach the most vulnerable civilians and nurture peaceful development.

· Aid agencies should work with both women and men in affected communities to identify appropriate seeds, tools, labor organization, land and water management, and links to government agencies and markets to achieve rehabilitation of agricultural production and build local capacity to respond to hunger and prevent conflict.

· Aid should be delivered in ways that demand accountability from those delivering it, so that it reaches those who need it most.

· Government planning and aid programs should consider whether policies will promote peace, assessing their likely impact on food security, equity, and poverty alleviation.


Supportive research should identify immediate and underlying causes of conflict, key early-warning indicators, and social, political, and economic dynamics that can foster peaceful change in resource-poor areas. Research is also needed on emerging local groups with whom development planners might devise strategies for monitoring conflict prevention, resolution, and reconstruction, and on ways to integrate sustainable management of natural resources and food and livelihood security for conflict-prone populations at local, national, and regional levels.

The relationships among conflict, agricultural underproduction, food insecurity, and natural resource scarcity are clear. Positive scenarios for food, agriculture, and the environment in 2020 depend on protecting peace where conflict is imminent, achieving peace where conflict is active, and sustaining peace where conflict has ceased.