Tackling hunger through a peacebuilding approach: Interpeace partners with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
As recent news from Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and other contexts has shown, eradicating hunger remains a preeminent challenge of our time – one to which the mandate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is dedicated. It is also illustrative that the majority of severe hunger crises occur in situations affected by violent conflict. It is now widely recognized that none of the Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of hunger, can be achieved without finding better ways to address and prevent violent conflict through joint efforts of national stakeholders and the international community.
In addition, the Sustaining Peace Agenda and the increasing volume of international assistance delivered in conflict or fragile settings has prompted humanitarian and development actors to pay greater attention to the effects of conflict on their work and the effects of their work on conflict.
In this vein, FAO has been developing a corporate framework outlining and defining how it intends to contribute to sustaining peace through its interventions. FAO has established a body of work and tools over the years for addressing conflicts related to their immediate areas of engagement, including natural resource management, land tenure and forestry, amongst others. It is now seeking to take these efforts and practices a step further by more systematically incorporating conflict analyses and conflict-sensitive approaches in its work.
FAO has sought the expertise of Interpeace, made available through the International Peacebuilding Advisory Team (IPAT), to help operationalise FAO’s corporate framework. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this end in September of last year. Together FAO and IPAT will now develop and test tools tailored to and rooted in FAO’s work that will enable more systematic and robust conflict-sensitive programming – while ensuring they are practical and can become embedded across the Organization.
With this collaboration, IPAT pursues the second part of Interpeace’s mandate, assisting the international community, and in particular the United Nations, in playing a more effective role in supporting peacebuilding efforts around the world. The partnership with FAO is also a testament to our understanding that peacebuilding is not only a set of dedicated efforts pursued by specialized organizations like Interpeace, but an approach to different kinds of international assistance, which can help make such assistance more effective in conflict-affected and fragile contexts.
FAO’s work touches on many aspects that are either impacted by or impact conflict. FAO’s effort to render its programming more conflict-sensitive has the potential to reinforce its core goal of eradicating hunger, while also making a significant contribution to fostering peace.
We are delighted to be supporting FAO in its endeavour of assuming a leading role in strengthening conflict sensitivity in this sector.