While conflict is by no means the sole perpetrator of global hunger, it is the main driver. The bottom three countries of this year’s GHI – CAR, Chad and Yemen – are all in the midst of conflict, and in fact 60% of the world’s hungry people live in conflict zones.
The devastating impact on food security is long-lasting, in part because hunger and conflict is a self-defeating circle – conflict increases food insecurity, and food and nutrition insecurity increase the likelihood of unrest, violence and conflict.
This self-defeating circle may seem interminable, but the conflict and hunger cycle can be broken. According to our experts (Caitriona Dowd, Humanitarian Policy Officer, and Anushree Rao, Senior Policy Officer in Nutrition) first and foremost, more investment in peacebuilding is absolutely necessary. Support is needed for policies designed to prevent conflict as our efforts on malnutrition and resilience cannot progress until we invest in peacebuilding – particularly given the number of countries that have been marred by prolonged conflict. Furthermore, since most conflict-engendered forced migration is protracted (the average duration of displacement for a refugee is currently 26 years), long-term solutions for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs)—including income-generation opportunities, education, and training—are vital. And this is just the start.
In the meantime, while we may not be able to fix the issue of conflict, Concern is working to improve the lives of those affected by it. We do this by building the resilience of communities and delivering programmes addressing issues around food security and livelihoods, health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, gender and disaster risk reduction. Concern deals with the human toll of conflict on a daily basis. We are now in our 50th year of tackling crisis in the world’s most conflict-affected contexts, and will continue to help alleviate suffering and work with communities to address the root causes of hunger – in this case, conflict.
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