Managing famine risk: linking early warning to action
The project on Translating Early Warning of Food Crises into Early Action has issued a report on “Managing famine risk: linking early warning to early action” (2013; full report 114 pp; executive summary, 8 pp). It shows that, despite strong economic growth in many countries of the Horn and Sahel, environmental and demographic changes coupled to low levels of political inclusion and high instability mean that the risk of acute food crises is likely to increase. Conflict and geopolitics act as risk multipliers, meaning that full-blown famine remains a real threat. These trends mean unmet humanitarian needs are increasing despite increasing donor spending. The use of famine Early Warning Systems to anticipate and mitigate food crises provides a major opportunity to save more lives, protect more livelihoods, check rising costs and close the widening funding gap. Yet all too often, the link between early warning and early action fails and the opportunity to mitigate a gathering crisis is lost. This report considers the various political, institutional and organisational barriers to translating early warning of famine into early action to avert it, and recommends how these barriers can be overcome.