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Food, peace and security

Food, peace and security
Photo: WFP/Saikat Mojumder

After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger is on the rise again. According to the report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020, hunger affected two billion people in 2019, or nearly 26 per cent of the global population. Of these, close to 750 million people—nearly one in ten people in the world—were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity.

Conflict and insecurity are the primary drivers of hunger and food crises. And in turn, hunger also drives conflict by fuelling long-standing grievances and disputes over land, livestock and other assets. Thus, as the world pursues a peaceful future, access to food—with its vital and far-reaching impact on security—remains fundamental.

The key pillars of the collaboration between SIPRI and the World Food Programme (WFP) include improving the evidence base for the relationship between food and security; operationalizing findings in current and future programmes—particularly those in pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 16; and developing policy that clearly articulates WFP’s contribution to sustainable peace and conflict prevention. The research for Phase I of this partnership visited four case study countries—El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq and Mali—and produced initial findings in June 2019. The evidence from these case studies indicates that some WFP programming does make a positive contribution to improving the prospects for peace while there are also issues that need to be addressed. Further research is required, however, both to test the robustness and general applicability of the initial findings and recommendations, and to refine and add to them with more case studies. Accordingly, in Phase II, the inquiry will both broaden, by incorporating new countries, and deepen, through a focus on five thematic areas: stabilization, climate change, gender, cash-based programmes and measurement.

Research staff

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.
Marie Riquier is a Research Assistant in the Food, Peace and Security Programme at SIPRI.