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Managing Famine Risk in Africa

In a new report titled Managing Famine Risk: Linking Early Warning to Early Action, researcher Rob Bailey explains that despite economic growth in in the Horn and Sahel regions of Africa, the risk of acute food crises is likely to increase. The key findings include:

  1. Famine risk is well understood and badly managed
  2. Famine early warning does not lead to early action
  3. In the absence of strong accountability to vulnerable populations, governments do not give priority to humanitarian needs
  4. Changing the status quo requires that governments anticipate political reward from acting to reduce famine risk and expect to be penalized for failing to do so

The report also makes recommendations to overcome future crises, noting:

“The concept of resilience provides an important opportunity to shift development thinking towards a new paradigm more appropriate to a future of increasing uncertainty and risk. Early warning and early action are fundamental to the central notions of anticipation and adaptation. In the context of managing famine risk – early warning and early action are fundamental to drought resilience, and improving the link between the two should be central to attempts to build resilience in the Horn and Sahel.”

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