Africa: Building Resilience Tops Agenda At Global Conference in Ethiopia

press release

Photo: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS
Dwindling land access in Ethiopia is a critical issue for 80 percent of the population who make a living as small farmers.

Addis Ababa — Poor countries and vulnerable people are facing a barrage of shocks: economic shocks such as volatile food prices and financial crises; environmental shocks and natural disasters such as droughts, floods, and earthquakes; food safety, diseases, and health shocks; and social and political shocks such as conflicts and violence that disrupt the food supply and threaten food and nutrition security.

On May 15, more than 800 experts and practitioners from food, nutrition, health, agriculture, humanitarian, and related development sectors will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a three-day conference, "Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security," to discuss how to incorporate resilience into the post-2015 agenda and improve policies, investments, and institutions to strengthen resilience so that food and nutrition security can be achieved for all.

The conference is the centerpiece of a consultative process led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and its 2020 Vision Initiative and their partners.

Partners for the conference are the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health; the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets; The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation; Royal DSM; DuPont Pioneer; Farming First; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit; the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the International Livestock Research Institute; Irish Aid; The Rockefeller Foundation; the Resilience Learning Consortium; UPL Limited; and the United States Agency for International Development.

Building resilience means helping individuals, households, communities, and countries anticipate, prepare for, cope with, and recover from shocks and not only bounce back to where they were before the shocks occurred, but become even better off.

The concept of resilience is currently the subject of wide attention in the development community, but resilience in the context of food and nutrition security is less widely discussed.

"The post-2015 agenda must take resilience seriously to ensure an end to hunger and undernutrition sustainably and forever," says IFPRI director general Shenggen Fan.

"A resilience approach has the potential to improve livelihoods and support economic growth and transformation while mitigating future shocks. In fact, it can help us tackle issues that run across the entire agriculture, food, nutrition, and environmental system."

The conference will be opened by H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Also, heads of various international agencies (United Nations World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and The Global Environment Facility), government ministers, and key leaders from nongovernmental organizations, private sector, and research institutes will participate.

For more information, including the program and conference papers, please visit the conference website: http://www.2020resilience.ifpri.info/.

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Dwindling land access in Ethiopia is a critical issue for 80 percent of the population who make a living as small farmers.

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