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Coordination in food security crises: a stakeholder analysis of the challenges facing the global food security cluster

Abstract

In mid 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) formally launched the global Food Security Cluster (FSC) as the UN’s global mechanism for coordinating food security responses in emergencies worldwide. The need for greater coordination of food security response in emergencies is enormous: Not only is the number of actors growing ever larger, the operating environment is more complex, and the range of responses requires substantially greater levels of skill than ever in analysis, planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Will this new mechanism provide the leadership needed for complex, multi-dimensional responses needed to protect food security and livelihoods in disasters? What are the special challenges the cluster faces? This paper analyzes a series of country level case studies and key informant interviews with stakeholders in a range of roles to address these questions.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. The cluster is referred to as the “Food Security Cluster” or the global (with lower case) Food Security Cluster. The upper case “Global” was excluded because of a perceived potential confusion with the Committee on World Food Security. For the purposes of this paper, the cluster is referred to as the “global Food Security Cluster” or “global FSC.”

  2. The exact number of casualties from the 2010 earthquake remains disputed with death toll estimates ranging from 65,575 (Schwartz et al. 2011) to the Government of Haiti’s estimate of 316,000 (Schwartz et al. 2011)

  3. Ushahidi is an open-source crisis-mapping platform that gathers information through social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) and mobile phone text messages to identify and map clusters of incidents and urgent needs in order to assist response efforts (Heinzelman and Waters 2010). Ushahidi rose to prominence rapidly during the search and rescue phase of the Haiti crisis.

  4. Little documentation exists on the “Survival Strategy”—everything cited above is from interviews.

  5. Note that emergency response can include life saving or life protecting interventions as well as those that protect livelihoods. The question has more to do with transitional programing and longer-term disaster management including risk reduction activities, preparedness planning and social protection.

  6. It should be noted that this discussion is not about whether or not livelihood-protecting activities are part of humanitarian response—it is about the relationship to transitions, and disaster risk management activities that are critically important to preventing food insecurity in crisis, but inevitably labeled part of “longer-term” activities.

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Maxwell, D., Parker, J. Coordination in food security crises: a stakeholder analysis of the challenges facing the global food security cluster. Food Sec. 4, 25–40 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-012-0166-3

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Keywords

  • Food security coordination
  • Cluster system
  • Humanitarian emergencies