Why are WFP and FAO co-hosting the event?Climate change, conflict and COVID-19 are driving an unprecedented number of people to the brink of famine. According to recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessments, 41 million people are at risk of falling into famine or famine-like conditions in 43 countries. Almost 600,000 are already experiencing famine-like conditions (IPC phase 5/Catastrophe) in Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing vulnerabilities, acute food insecurity was on the rise. In 2020, acute food insecurity increased by 15 percent, with 155 million people in 55 countries and territories in urgent need of food assistance – 20 million more than the previous year.
This grim picture – compounded by the increasing number and severity of extreme weather events and difficulties increasing humanitarian funding – calls for a substantial change in the way we deal with food crises in the short and longer term. Meeting these growing challenges requires addressing the root causes of food crises while at the same time promoting innovative approaches, such as Anticipatory Action (AA), which can lessen humanitarian impacts over time. Such an undertaking can only be done collectively.
Against this backdrop, FAO and WFP have united forces to co-organize this year’s Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Humanitarian Action. WFP and FAO believe the Global Dialogue Platform provides a critical space for all involved stakeholders to share experiences and opinions contributing towards the joint effort of reducing hunger and food insecurity with collective anticipatory action. WFP and FAO have extensive experience in using forecasts and AA to safeguard the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the front-line countries ahead of different extreme weather events, such as severe floods, droughts and typhoons.
FAO has been a long-time advocate of anticipatory interventions and is one of the agencies spearheading the global paradigm shift towards more proactive approaches to predictable shocks, be they typhoons, droughts, the consequence of conflicts or economic crises. Since 2016, FAO has worked with governments and partners in more than 40 high-risk countries, providing technical and operational support on anticipatory action for the protection of agricultural livelihoods and food security.
The World Food Programme (WFP) established its Anticipatory Action for Climate Shocks Programme in 2015. AA programmes have since expanded to 19 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, working with governments and a diverse group of partners – including humanitarian agencies, NGOs, academia and others – to build robust operational systems for AA in the face of both slow and fast-onset hazards.
The Anticipatory Action efforts of FAO and WFP are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Coordination is prioritized at the country, regional and global level, both from a technical and operational standpoint. Both organizations are members of the Anticipatory Action Task Force (AATF) together with OCHA, START Network and IFRC, as well as actively engaged in the inter-agency AA pilots coordinated by OCHA.