Food aid and food assistance in emergency and transitional contexts: A review of current thinking - synthesis report

Research reports and studies
July 2010
Paul Harvey, Karen Proudlock, Edward Clay, Barry Riley and Susanne Jaspars

Global food insecurity has worsened in recent years as a result of the food price spike followed by the financial and economic crisis. Patterns of food insecurity are changing too because of more extreme natural disasters, the persistence of conflict in some countries and annual large scale emergencies.  Many countries are suffering protracted food emergencies.  At the same time the nature of the international response has changed. Most donors have shifted from providing in-kind food aid to funding local and regional procurement, and cash transfers have increased too as part of a broad shift from food aid to “food assistance”. Beyond a grand commitment to doing more about food security, the Aquila Declaration, there is no agreement on specifics – such as a definition of what food assistance is, or the nature of a new food security architecture, and what should replace the Food Aid Convention due to expire in 2011.

This synthesis paper examines the changes in food aid and food assistance policies and highlights the key findings and issues of broader relevance arising from this reasearch such as issues around definitions, the future of the Food Aid Convention and a new food security architecture.    

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