11:00 am to 12:30 pm
SDPI Seminar Hall, 38, Embassy Road, G-6/3, Islamabad
To discuss food insecurity and hunger related
challenges to the country with a particular focus on relationship between
poverty-conflict and to deliberate on possible solutions, Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with United States
Institute of Peace (USIP) is organizing a consultative session with
parliamentarians on Tuesday, 12th July 2011 at
11:00am-12:30pm at SDPI premises, Old Embassy Road (Atta Turk Avenue),
G-6/3, Islamabad. You are therefore cordially
invited to join and take part in this important discussion.
Persistent food insecurity may cause conflicts,
civil wars and can threaten the overall peace of community, society, nation or
world. Food security has three pillars i.e., physical availability of food,
socio-economic access to food and food absorption. Based on a composite index
of the above-mentioned pillars of food security, it is observed that state of
food security in Pakistan
has deteriorated since 2003. The conditions for food security are inadequate in
61 percent districts (80 out of 131districts1) of Pakistan.
This is a sharp increase from 2003, when conditions for food security were
inadequate in 45 percent districts (54 out of 120 districts2) of Pakistan.
Almost half of the population of Pakistan
(48.6 percent) doesn’t have access to sufficient food for active and healthy
life at all times.
The recently published “Food Insecurity Report Pakistan”
by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), World Food Programme (WFP)
and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) comes up with
substantial evidence that inter and intra provincial disparities exist in terms
of food security. FATA has the highest percentage of food insecure population
(67.7 percent) followed by Balochistan (61.2 percent), and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
(KPK) (56.2 percent). The lowest percentage of food insecure population (23.6
percent) is in Islamabad.
Among the districts, Dera Bugti town in Balochistan has the highest percentage
of food insecure people (82.4 percent).
The research in above report reveals that
individual food security in Pakistan
has deteriorated from 2003 to 2009. One can try to understand the insurgency
and militancy in Balochistan, FATA, KPK and four remote districts of Southern Punjab from a
food security angle. Although it is difficult to develop conclusive empirical
proof, the strong overlap of food insecurity and militancy provides
considerable evidence of a potential nexus. On the other hand, in many
instances people have joined extremist groups due to economic factors instead
of religious beliefs because in many cases extremist groups promised financial
support to such people and their families after the job was done.
with growing food insecurity is a daunting challenge for the government of Pakistan
that has to prioritize its limited resources amongst various expenditures.
However, the potential militancy-food insecurity nexus cannot be ignored in Pakistan
and requires a change in paradigm where food insecurity should not be treated
merely as a humanitarian issue, but a national security issue. This report
endorses the recommendations of the Planning Commission’s Task Force on Food
Security that a National Food Security Strategy must be evolved. We suggest
that the primary focus of such a strategy should be ensuring food security in
extremely food insecure districts. Resources channelized to improve the food
security situation at the local level are critical to improve development and
security at province, national and regional level. It looks like that the
country is already paying its price for having neglected food security.