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Food security, sustaining peace and gender equality: Conceptual framework and future directions (FAO/ 2017)

Post date Friday, 22 September, 2017 - 17:41
Document Type Manual/Guideline
Content Themes Gender, Food Security
Sources FAO
Filed under Gender and Age

FAO has long acknowledged the importance of better conceptualizing the linkages between food security, sustaining peace and gender equality. To this end, a centre of excellence – the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex – was selected and commissioned to complete a literature review and develop a conceptual framework to better understand how addressing the specific priorities of men and women in food and nutrition interventions in conflict-affected contexts might shape processes for sustaining peace and improve gender equality in the aftermath of violent conflicts.

Improving understanding of FAO’s role in this regard is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which makes an explicit link between sustainable development and peace, and calls for a transformative approach with improved collaboration on conflict prevention, mitigation, resolution and recovery. The universality, breadth and indivisibility of the SDGs have important implications for work on food security and nutrition and gender equality in conflict-affected settings.

Whilst this study was being finalised, the sustaining peace agenda was evolving, the term being introduced by the Advisory Group of Experts conducting the 2015 review of UN peacebuilding architecture. This concept has since been adopted and elucidated by the UN’s member states through General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council (UNSC) resolutions in 2016.

In this study, peacebuilding is defined as “action[s] to identify and support structures which tend to strengthen and solidify peace to avoid a relapse into conflict” (UN, 1994). These actions can be at local, regional,national and international levels. The concept does not apply only to post-conflict situations but may also be extended to encompass measures and actions that can prevent conflicts from taking place, as well as measures during the conflict that could facilitate peace processes. Peacebuilding includes, therefore, a range of formal and informal actions – including food and nutrition security interventions – that may prevent and mitigate conflict, promote social cohesion and stability, and contribute to peacebuilding processes in post-conflict settings. Indeed, this study recommends that a broader understanding of peacebuilding may allow us to better identify what policy interventions – including food and nutrition security interventions – are more or less likely to contribute to gender equality and peace in the long term.

This conclusion is very much in line with the emerging terminology of sustaining peace. As such, when the term peacebuilding is used in this paper, it should be undertood as having this broader perspective, and in the context of contributions to sustaining peace. Sustaining peace encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, including addressing root causes and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development. Opportunities exist for interventions supporting food and nutrition security and agricultural livelihoods to contribute to conflict prevention and sustaining peace, and gender equality - so that not only the symptoms, but also the root causes, of conflicts are addressed. As part of a system-wide recommitment to promote peace and prevent conflict, building on and within the differing scopes and foci, its mandates and work, FAO has recently been developing a corporate Framework to Support Sustainable Peace in the Context of Agenda 2030. It is hoped the findings and recommendations in this paper, articulated around five key pathways, will help stimulate further debate on how FAO food and nutrition security interventions may contribute towards peace and gender equality, and the design of those interventions.

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