Food aid and human security

Books or book chapters
June 2000
Edward Clay and Olav Stokke (ed.)

"The future of food aid is in question," argue Edward Clay and Olav Stokke, editors of "Food Aid and Human Security," in their new collection on food aid and food security policy issues to be published in September by EADI (European Association of Development Research and Training Institute). In the past food aid was a major element of aid that supported longer term development. The North also used food aid as its primary response to help countries and people in crisis. But doubts about food aid are rising because there is a growing mismatch between the circumstances produced by rapid political and economic change and the international food aid arrangements and organizations predicated on an earlier reality. There is also now the challenge posed by the increasingly widespread advocacy of moving from a needs- to a rights-based approach to food security.

Doubts about food aid are arising because of a growing mismatch between the new circumstances produced by rapid political and economic change and the international arrangements and institutions for food aid that are predicated on an earlier reality. Once a major part of development co-operation tied to large structural surpluses, food aid has become a marginal and uncertain resource.

Human security is increasingly being recognised as fundamental to human development and the wider development process. It is this wider concept of human security, integrating food security concerns, that has moved the editors to take a new, hard look at the issues of food aid and finance for food. Food aid and other assistance have increasingly been organised as part of efforts to assure human security in terms of livelihoods, food, health, a sustainable environment, personal and political security. However, to what extent is this multiplicity of goals realised in practice? To what extent do the modalities and institutional arrangements for aid permit them to be realised? It is on institutional questions, therefore, that this fresh examination of food aid focuses in particular.