Shenggen Fan is the Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute
Today the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) launch a new report on reducing the risks of food insecurity in vulnerable communities.
It outlines urgent actions needed to increase the capacity of vulnerable people — smallholder farmers, landless and displaced people, female-led households, and others — to deal with man-made and natural disasters, particularly regarding food and nutrition security. The paper – and crucially the research behind it – says we should augment short-term humanitarian responses with investments in longer-term solutions, such as technologies that reduce yield variability, access to financial services and insurance, mitigation and adaption to climate change, and social safety nets.
These operations have proven worth. Despite the evidence that investments in disaster-risk reduction have been shown to produce higher returns than either relief operations or humanitarian assistance, donor funding for disaster prevention and enhanced resilience remains low.
Urgent action is needed to improve data and information to predict and respond to disasters in a timely manner; build resilience among smallholders through improved crops, livestock, and use of inputs; scale up social safety nets; and enhance coordination between global donors and local actors, for example to allow a percentage of global aid financing to be used for resilience building.