Exchange to Change Sept 2017 20170911 E2C zomer web | Page 9

INTERVIEW doubly tied, to American farm products, and to international transport by ships under an American flag. This leads to huge inefficiencies. US tied food aid is one-third to one-half more expensive than untied food aid that is bought in or near the country of destination. It also takes on average three months longer for tied food aid to arrive at destination, a key issue in dealing with humanitarian crises, where timeliness is sometimes a matter of life or death. Finally, the content of food packages is also a matter of concern, as American food products may be unsuited to the very different climatic and cultural context in which they are dispensed. their families, but also the economy at large. Conversely, when malnutrition is not addressed, there are lasting adverse consequences on the length and quality of life, with wider social and economic repercussions. There is also a perverse interaction between conflict and food insecurity. Conflict often causes food insecurity, just as food insecurity may trigger unrest over land and food that easily spreads into broader conflict and political instability. One can also expect an effect on international migration. A recent WFP cross-country study concluded that a 1% increase in food insecurity increases migration by 1.9%. KJK: The government of South Sudan formally declared famine, but a combination of factors such as bad governance eventually resulted in a disorganized nation and food insecurity. Civil society cannot speak up because they are not in a free state where information flows freely and laws are respected. They are not speaking out in a well-organized and coordinated way because they fear lives would be in danger. International donors are doing all they can to release the funding for humanitarian projects, but the country’s needs have overwhelmed the resources provided. KJK: The long term results of this will be a completely destroyed economy in which getting a daily meal, especially for the common man, will be a nightmare. This will lead to more groups coming up in resistance. Corruption and nepotism will increase in the public as well as private sector when it comes to employment and the division of the national cake. The only export that can make the country progress, oil, will not happen as the conditions would not permit it. The agricultural sector will be in a bad condition as well. Due to economic crises, raping and anti-social behaviours might increase and there will be a general deterioration of health. All these challenges will lead to displacements both internally and externally as we already see today. Due to fear of possible destruction even after peace has come, most might prefer to live in exile and little or no investments will be made in South Sudan. E2C: What could be the (most important/likely) long term consequences of this food crisis? (e.g. refugees, economic growth, conflict, health…) LDA: South Sudanese people face a threat to their lives as the conflict and food crisis continues. They have been pushed to the brink; women and children are the most affected. Humanitarian assistance alone can accomplish very little in the absence of meaningful peace and security, both for aid-workers and the crisis-affected communities. RR: Avoiding malnutrition has been shown to have very high economic and social returns for the individuals helped and E2C: Is there any other relevant (but overlooked) aspect or important lesson that you want to highlight? KJK: Politicians and people from the military with bad interests have exploited young people to protect themselves and prefer them to remain in darkness instead of encouraging them to return to schools and vocational centres. Women and girls are also among the most affected, 9 although they do not participate in any way in the creation of the conflict. They become widows, fall victim to gender based violence, have the burden of taking care of their families alone as the men are either displaced in war or killed. Despite the fact that women, girls and young people are heavily affected by the crisis, they are often overlooked and neglected during peace negotiations. LDA: The scale of the crisis has overwhelmed the humanitarian community. Donors must work in a harmonized and synchronized manner to warrant that national and international NGOs are receiving adequate and continued funding to respond to the very urgent needs. Moreover, donors should provide funding for long-term and development activities including resilience and recovery. In other words, there should be funding that creates a linkage between short term lifesaving and recovery as well as longer term development so that linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) is made possible. RR: The World Food Programme, for instance, aims to deliver one third of its support through cash-based transfers. This is positive, but I would argue that this share must go up. The problem will be the US. There have been efforts under the Bush and Obama administrations to soften the tying of food aid, but the lobbies of farmers, the shipping industry and American NGOs have so far effectively resisted major changes. Under the present Trump administration it is unlikely that much progress will be made. But the better use of food aid instruments by aid agencies – more cash, less food-in-kind – is maybe somewhat too narrow a lesson to draw. Any serious analysis of the underlying causes will conclude that food crises cannot be properly addressed from a technocratic food assistance perspective only. That is an equally important lesson to draw when devising a strategy to fight future large-scale food crises. E xchange to change S eptember 2017