Building food system resilience in Eastern Africa
On 17 June, the Food and Nutrition Security Resilience Programme: Building Food System Resilience in Protracted Crises (FNS-REPRO) convened its Global Programme Steering Committee’s first virtual meeting. Chaired by Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Resilience Division, the meeting was attended by representatives from The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FAO, the Wageningen University of Research and the national governments of South Sudan, Sudan, and Somaliland.
The Global Programme Steering Committee is a high-level oversight body, providing policy and strategic guidance to the programme, and is cognisant of the focus countries’ commitments to food security. The Committee has a crucial quality assurance role and is charged with ensuring that FNS-REPRO delivers on targets and maintains coherence with the work of the Global Network Against Food Crises.
This is of particular importance in the current context. In addition to COVID-19 related impacts; food security in Eastern Africa is facing multiple threats. The Desert Locust outbreak, widespread flooding, insecurity, frequent droughts, and other extreme weather events are on a long list of threats that continue to pose serious food security and nutrition challenges in the subregion.
With this evolving regional context in mind, conclusions and recommendations from a range of field studies, assessments and consultations implemented during FNS-REPRO’s inception phase were revised and strengthened to reflect the current situation and needs in the target areas. This includes the selection of implementation areas and final beneficiary targets.
At the country level, the value chains selected by the programme play a central role in agro-pastoral and farming livelihoods. These value chains are gum arabic in the Sudan, animal feed and fodder in Somaliland and seed systems in South Sudan. FAO Country Representatives presented the key results of the inception phase in their countries and introduced the implementation plans for the next 18 months.
At the regional level, FAO and its partner Wageningen University will strengthen evidence-based strategic programming and build awareness and capacity around food system resilience – through the implementation of a dedicated FNS-REPRO learning agenda. Opportunities through which FNS-REPRO can contribute to the implementation of the Global Network Against Food Crises were presented for the Global Programme Steering Committee’s feedback and strategic guidance.
FNS-REPRO is the first FAO programme in Eastern Africa specifically designed to foster peace and food security at scale, through a multi-year livelihood and resilience-based approach.
The USD 28 million programme is designed to work across the Humanitarian–Development–Peace Nexus and contribute to the Global Agenda on Sustaining Peace, and is purposely aligned with the Global Network Against Food Crises. Its adaptive and context-specific implementation approach will build food system resilience in some of the least stable parts of Eastern Africa where interventions are normally of a humanitarian programming nature exclusively.
In addition, FNS-REPRO contributes directly to the operationalization of the United Nations Security Council 2417 by addressing the “cause-effect” relationship between conflict and food insecurity, in Sudan, Somaliland and South Sudan.
The programme became operational in October 2019, with financial support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.