Daily life for the world’s poorest people is full of risk, primarily because they live in places that are highly susceptible to weather shocks, political uprisings, and disease.
Among the record-breaking natural disasters that occurred in 2011, drought and famine in the Horn of Africa had the most devastating effects on the poor, with an estimated 13 million people facing food and nutrition insecurity. IFPRI seeks to decrease vulnerability to such shocks by equipping households with better coping mechanisms and smallholders with better agriculture risk-management techniques.
Key Research and Outcomes from 2011
In recognition of the risks inherent in the political transition process in the Arab world, IFPRI launched a new program in the region to identify ways to decrease vulnerabilities to conflict through rural development.
IFPRI supported the Democratic Republic of Congo’s signing of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) compact to increase public investment in agriculture by 10 percent and raise agricultural productivity by 6 percent. IFPRI’s research detailed agricultural capacity and incentive gaps, potential investment plans, and a conflict-prevention strategy.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Address on the Horn of Africa Food Crisis
In August 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited IFPRI to deliver a public address on the famine and food crisis in the Horn of Africa. As she explained, food shortages are a “complex problem of infrastructure, governance, markets, and education,” which do not arise solely because of drought or even conflict. IFPRI researchers are deeply embedded in two of the programs Secretary Clinton described as laying the groundwork to avoid similar crises in coming years: Feed the Future, which supports country-driven approaches to addressing the root causes of hunger and undernutrition, and the 1,000 Days Initiative, which focuses on ensuring proper nutrition during a child’s first thousand days of life. Clinton stressed the importance of governments and citizens contributing to humanitarian relief efforts, but, more importantly, she made a plea to IFPRI and others to collaboratively use their expertise to ensure that policies and programs are in place to avoid similar devastation in the future.