Building Resilience

Natural disasters. Conflicts. Food price volatility. These are just some of the environmental, political, and economic shocks that can affect food security, nutrition, health and well-being. These shocks put the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at particularly high risk of long-lasting negative development consequences. Helping communities, regions and countries cope, recover, and become even better off after such disturbances requires building resilience.

IFPRI research aims to inform policy and decision making by exploring the causes and impacts of shocks and evaluating interventions designed to enhance resilience at various levels. Researchers look at the complex relationship between conflict and natural disasters, how conflict affects food and nutrition security, and how their insecurity can heighten the threat of violent conflict. Research on resilient agriculture includes ways to make crops better able to withstand extreme weather, pests and diseases; strategies to adapt to variability and scarcity of resources such as water; and evaluations of the impact of climate change on agriculture. Evaluations of social protection interventions, trade policies, and climate-mitigation strategies help to develop the evidence base on how these approaches contribute to short- and long-term resilience.

In many areas, further research is necessary to explore issues such as the climate change-gender-nutrition nexus, identify innovative technologies for resilience, improve resilience measurement, and develop risk profiles or typologies of responses to shocks for specific countries or regions. As we learn more about the policies, programs, and investments that enhance resilience, we will be better able to reduce exposure to global and localized shocks, improve the functioning of food systems, enhance conflict prevention and develop more effective risk-coping mechanisms.