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Food Systems in Conflict and Peacebuilding Settings: Pathways and Interconnections

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Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
June, 2021

Failing food systems and the resultant increasing world hunger are among the most pressing issues of our time. With 155 million people acutely food insecure and nearly 30 million people on the verge of starvation in 2020, the world is far off track to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) by 2030.

Violent conflict remained the main driver of global hunger in 2020. Conflict has a direct negative impact on food systems and resultant levels of food security. Moreover, heightened food insecurity may create grievances that can escalate into instability and violent conflict. The increases in both acute food insecurity and violent conflict demand urgent and decisive action.

The objectives of this three-part policy paper series are to emphasize the urgency of addressing the relationship between conflict and food insecurity and to point out existing opportunities to do so. This paper, the first in the series, aims, firstly, to inform policymakers of the intricate relationships between food security and violent conflict, secondly, to alert policymakers to the potential ability of food systems to contribute to peace, and then to highlight the action required to enhance this potential. The paper concludes with four recommendations intended to help guide more effective preventative and mitigating action to limit (and ultimately avoid) the long-term adverse consequences of violent conflict for food security and exploit food security’s potential to foster peace.


1. Introduction

2. The interconnectedness of food systems and food security

3. The impacts of violent conflict on food systems and food security

4. Food insecurity as a trigger of violent conflict

5. Food systems’ potential to reduce violent conflict and enhance peace

6. Conclusions and recommendations


Dr Caroline Delgado is a Senior Researcher and Director of the Food, Peace and Security Programme at SIPRI.
Dr Vongai Murugani is a Researcher in the Food, Peace and Security Programme at SIPRI.
Dr Kristina Tschunkert was a Researcher with the Food, Peace and Security Programme at SIPRI.