Welcome to discussion room on "meeting emergency food, nutrition and essential needs".

In a context dominated by bigger and more frequent shocks, coupled with multiple, complex and deeper stressors, saving lives in emergencies, in line with humanitarian principles and incorporating preparedness and response, is always WFP’s first priority.

Please answer the following questions:

  1. What do you think are the critical long term and future shifts that are transforming how WFP can meet emergency food, nutrition and essential needs?
  2. In that future, what WFP should do differently or better?

  

Comments (22)

Nynne Warring
Nynne Warring Moderator

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to our discussion room where we dive into the topic ‘meeting emergency food, nutrition and essential needs’ and what that means for WFP and our new Strategic Plan!

Saving lives in emergencies is always front and center of WFP’s work. In a world experiencing increasingly bigger and more frequent shocks, where stressors are multi-faceted and complex, and where needs interconnect, how can WFP continue to be prepared to react and deliver timely, adequate and live-saving responses?

You can use the below questions to start reflecting – let us hear your reactions on the board!

  1. What do you think are the critical long term and future shifts that are transforming how WFP can meet emergency food, nutrition and essential needs?
  2. In that future, what WFP should do differently or better? How can we build on our strengths?

Thank you for engaging and we look forward to a rich discussion!

Cheryl, Ilaria, Lena & Nynne

 

George Gegelia
George Gegelia

WFP should further strengthen it's core function of emergency response.

1. Better planning and intelligence will be key factor in being efficient and flexible. 

2. Use of the new methods and technologies will help further develop and strengthen operations;

3. Consolidation, flexible use of resources will be also a critical factor. 

4. Building efficient, committed and motivated workforce will make ultimate difference. 

Claudio Delicato
Claudio Delicato

Thanks George,

I very much agree with your points. Specifically on point 3, I believe on the medium-long term WFP should rethink the way its operations are funded: this means completing the move from a partially reactive approach (e.g. with the food procurement process starting upon confirmation of a contribution) to a fully proactive approach (to the maximum possible extent), were WFP makes a larger use of corporate funding envelopes (e.g. GCMF) to start implementation before funding is confirmed.

The benefits of this approach are evident if we take the GCMF as an example: shorter delivery lead-times, ability to capitalize on market opportunities/economies of scale, better adherence to initial plans, etc., and they would be even more critical for those commodities which: (i) are particularly expensive; and/or (ii) share the need for particular urgency in delivery. A suitable example in this sense is specialized nutritious food.

Divine Kalenda (WFP)
Divine Kalenda (WFP)

Posting on behalf of the Emergencies Operations Division:

Dear George,

Thank you very much for your inputs, which are very well received.

1. Better planning is indeed a key factor in strengthening our emergency response function. While we must continue to do more, some recent efforts on the planning side include investments in early warning, monitoring trends and triggers related to a variety of risks worldwide, from socio-political tensions to 
economic crises and increasingly violent weather phenomena. To further strengthen our outlook and planning, WFP began to chair the IASC Early Warning, Early Action and Readiness (EWEAR) group, which brings together analysis on emerging risks and the necessary early actions from 17 UN agencies, Red Cross movement and NGO networks.

2. The integration of new technology within our operating systems play an important role in strengthening operations, ensuring real time data collection to adjust programme implementation as required. Though more remains to be done, WFP receiving the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Advanced Analytics, Operations Research and Management Science earlier this year (the world’s biggest competition when it comes to advanced analytics and optimization) showcases significant corporate investments in this area.

3. Flexible use of resources indeed is a critical factor in our emergency response capacity and remains among the central points of our advocacy efforts; this includes a greater focus on anticipatory flexible funding through corporate mechanisms, such as the IRA or potentially other vehicles such as the famine fund. Most recently, the review of IRA mechanisms is designed to streamline access to internal emergency funds.

4. WFP's workforce is its greatest asset and the Leadership in Emergencies workstream (GMM 2019), identified investments in its workforce as a critical priority, seeking to continuously replenish the pool of emergency qualified staff and/or partnership arrangements available for immediate deployment and long-term employment in crises response settings with career plans, crises response workforce planning and duty of care better engrained in WFP. Among others, efforts include the development of new training programmes and mentoring opportunities to train colleagues in core WFP capacities.

Nynne Warring
Nynne Warring Moderator

Dear George,

Thank you for your comment! All your points are very well received. When you mention 'new methods and technologies' - do you have something specific in mind? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this key topic!

Elvis NJABE
Elvis NJABE

Will like to see aspects of food safety in emergency situations.

  • Including technical tools or food safety plan to respond to future WFP emergency operations.
  • Food hazard; Preventive methods during particular crisis
Divine Kalenda (WFP)
Divine Kalenda (WFP)

Posting on behalf of the Emergencies Operations Division : 

Dear Elvis,

Thank you for your comments, you are absolutely right, food safety is a critical component of successful emergency situations. While it can be difficult to ensure in sudden onset context when WFP rushes to deliver life saving assistance within 72 hours after a shock, preventive methods and adequate methods to guarantee food safety are essential and related processes are featured in WFP's Emergency Field Operations Pocketbook (https://emergencypocketbook.manuals.wfp.org/en/supply-chain/). We look forward to working with you on any updated as appropriate.

Tanimoune
Tanimoune

Dear Colleagues 

 

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to contribute.

I think there are few areas where WFP response could be transformative

1- Anticipation slightly similar to emergency preparedness, for me anticipation means that WFP develop statistical forecasting model that would alert progressively about imminent crisis with an observation cell computing the data and parameters variation ahead of time. This will help the organization to anticipate the impact and start fund raising accordingly to response on time.

2- Timely response : despite the existing emergency preparedness tools, WFP response deployment particularly if it is in Kind assistance takes time for bureaucratic reason or operational realities that could be prevented with appropriate anticipation. 

3- focus on quality rather than the quantity. The ration provided both in kind and/or CBT needs to be adjusted to adress both energy and nutrients needs of the population we serve. CBT amount to be determined accordingly. Nutrition sensitive should not be on our tongues only. 

4- Targeting and beneficiaries identification. There a need to establish a multi dimensional score for geographical prioritization which will ease the beneficiaries selection. 

5-Invest in Data, Technology, Mapping and statistical modeling and forecasting softwares. It is unacceptable that an organization like WFP uses cracked version of software to perform crucial analytics. This has to change..

 

 

Divine Kalenda (WFP)
Divine Kalenda (WFP)

Posting on behalf of the Emergencies Operations Division :

Dear Tanimoune,

Thank you for your very insightful comments, they are very well taken.

1. Anticipation is certainly key, including the use of statistical forecasting models. While more needs to be done and such tools should be refined and enriched to better predict needs in a variety of regions and settings, data based scenario planning is an integral part of the support EME seeks to provide COs ahead of imminent crises in order anticipate their impact.

2. It is essential for WFP to enhance its ability for rapid response, much of which requires anticipation due to long lead times required for IK responses or to overcome additional operational challenges. We should seek to lighten bureaucratic processes and maintain operational flexibility within our CSPs.

3. WFP certainly must seek to adjust rations to both energy and nutrient needs of targeted populations, maximizing the impact for beneficiaries. While inevitably, funding shortages or other limitations can force difficult operational decisions to sustain wider communities, WFP clearly advocates with donors to highlight the impact of such measures.

4. Targeting practices may vary according to the data available and the needs of the operational context, but your point is well taken on the multi-dimensional score for geographical prioritization as a way to facilitate beneficiary selection, while continuing to monitor the differentiated needs between and within households.

5. While we are not aware of cracked versions of software being used, we do agree on the need to invest in data, technology, mapping and statistical modelling, with GIS maintaining license to such specialized software and facilitating use for the field.

Ayad
Ayad

With the lingering phenomenon of corona virus for the coming period (probably years) interruption to SC will continue to a certain level, compromising on the deliverables of WFP.

  • As such I would suggest WFP to capitalize on local purchases of food rather than regional or international where it deems fit and resources are available.
  • Strengthening local markets through dealing business with private sector that would pour in better functionality.
  • Engage with small hold farmers.
  • Enhance school feeding programs.
  • Enlarge CBT solutions to far extent instead of IK.
Divine Kalenda (WFP)
Divine Kalenda (WFP)

Posting on behalf of the Emergencies Operations Division :

Dear Ayad,

Thank you very much for these well taken comments.

Potential SC disruptions from COVID-19 is one among a number of reasons to diversify WFP response modalities. While food imports will continue to be necessary in certain contexts and at different times, where alternatives are viable, from local purchases from smallholders or private businesses, to home-grown school feeding and CBT, their use in emergency contexts, when our footprint is the largest, is the best opportunity for WFP to make a lasting contribution beyond the duration of assistance it provides to beneficiaries. We therefore believe strong integration among the different pathways of the TOC is important to deliver on our ambition.

Barbara VANLOGCHEM
Barbara VANLOGCHEM

Adding to the very good points made already: Investment in preparedness to move as much as possible to prevention rather than reaction, and bringing this to key/new partners (not all have the preparedness mindset and mechanisms we have); New and stronger partnerships, e.g. for health emergencies so that we have the capacity, credibility and collaboration to expand when we have to; Investing in our teams and modernizing our core competencies; Expansion and professionalizing our service provision - including for cash based assistance with out of the box solutions for Social Protection as that is where we will achieve scale; Advocacy and influencing much more to address what is causing the emergencies because without collectively addressing the cause of emergencies we can't reverse the curve of shocks and hunger. 

Lena Hohfeld
Lena Hohfeld Moderator

Hi Barbara VANLOGCHEM, thanks for your contribution! When you say modernizing our core competencies: Which of these do you think will be most important in the future, and what needs to be done to modernize them? 

Divine Kalenda (WFP)
Divine Kalenda (WFP)

Posting on behalf of the Emergencies Operations Division :

Dear Barbara,

Thank you for these excellent points.

Preparedness is certainly absolutely key, both for our investments and in helping our partners. While much of the service provision stream is captured under pathway 5 in this theory of change (including for CBT and social protection solutions), WFP engages with a number of partners specifically on preparedness efforts through the CADRI network, and with an increasingly diverse set of actors, from partners in health to increasingly localized actors. To this effect, WFP is broadening its definition of emergencies to include pandemics (among others), and continue to adapt its regular programming to support complementary outcomes (differentiated assistance strategies to support the Ebola response protocols for example, intervening to optimize the health supply chain, etc).

With respect to advocacy on the causes of emergencies, we seek to continue highlighting the role of conflict as a major factor in food insecurity, leveraging the recognition gained with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Edouard Nizeyimana
Edouard Nizeyimana

 

Agree that Preparedness and response will remain the main pillars of meeting emergency food needs. Preparedness in all its dimensions (internally and externally) will require revamped approach that involves many stakeholders with a view to timely sharing implications(sensitive).

More thoughts on this include:

  • There is still limited lessons/knowledge on new forms of crises such as health pandemics, extreme weather shocks, terrorism, migrations, tensions over natural resources. Given that these have a strong impact on institutions and service provision in general, there is a need to adapt the intervention models.
  • Resource constraints will call for a more efficiency and cost containment. Targeting will become more important and complex and will require new methods and tools easily accessible to partners, governments, and beneficiaries.
  • The need for new mechanisms/explore ways to engage host governments where feasible and WFP to contribute to long term debate on solutions towards phasing out emergency (HPD Nexus)
  • Climate change/Extreme weather shocks may affect food production/availability (especially in middle- and low-income countries) and food trade (particularly in context of health crises uncertainty). There is a need to explore further even in case of a short period.

WFP is on the right track but may also consider the following in future:

  • Explore to support governments to build food reserves based on instruments like GCMF, Strategic food reserve, community food banks, etc…
  • Advocate for WFP to strongly Invest in capacity building for Governments emergency preparedness & response
  • WFP to join and have a say in International food trade, in recognition of food as a basic right.
Lena Hohfeld
Lena Hohfeld Moderator

Eduardo, these are very interesting points! You are saying we need to adapt our interventions - do you have any examples how successful adaptation could look like? 

Divine Kalenda (WFP)
Divine Kalenda (WFP)

Posting on behalf of the Emergencies Operations Division:

Dear Edouard,

Many thanks for your useful insights.

Indeed the outlook is broadly one of concern for emergency responses, the need for which will continue to grow while they must be adapted to new realities. Pre-pandemic projections for 2030 already spoke to 2.3 billion people expected to live in fragile contexts (up 28%). Some factors affecting fragile contexts include water shortages with 470 million people at extremely high stress for water (up from 255 million) and rising urbanization (5.2 billion) also increasing disease probability (50% for malaria).

In this context, seemless programming covering the humanitarian-development-peace nexus is essential, as WFP's large emergency footprint must be leveraged for long term change.

We appreciate the suggestions highlighted, and note that COs are taking the lead in supporting Government on building food reserves, including carrying out the procurement process on their behalf. Advocacy for investments in Governments emergency preparedness is also a priority as our modes of response increasingly shift towards supporting national disaster risk management agencies, particularly in middle income countries subject to natural or man made catastrophies. Your point on international food trade is also well noted and has been part of discussions for the new strategic plan, though it may be better captured under pathway 6 (global advocacy).

Edouard Nizeyimana
Edouard Nizeyimana

Lena Hohfeld 

One of the idea which comes in my mind is migration. Tanimoune and other mentioned the anticipation and I think using the approach of HDP, WFP and other partners like ILO, FAO, IFAD and UNDP could support Governments to invest in intensive rural employment for youth. We have seen a lot of social protection programmes where Governments can design and access funding from IFIs or from other Government through concessional loans, etc... Some P4P, HGSF have successfully connected farmers to sustainable markets, but this has not been fully owned or mainstreamed into Government structures.

We cannot of course deny the importance of a good governance and strong advocacy mechanisms.

Felix Edwards
Felix Edwards

I addition to the comments made (especially George and Barbara's with which I concur):

Emergency preparedness plans should be developed with a "multimodal" approach with respect to the different delivery modalities and not just the delivery mechanism in the CSP e.g. CBT.  This would allow for the best delivery approach given the circumstances at the onset of an emergency.

Simplification of procurement in emergencies; procurement processes are becoming increasingly complicated with different layers being added e.g. UNDIS and AFAC that make rapid response difficult, more difficult for suppliers to comply with and therefore the risk that they become more reluctant to engage with WFFP.  This also applies to FSP contracting.  A balance needs to be struck between due diligence and the ability for WFP to respond in a timely manner.

Collaboration between Nutrition, Procurement and FAS. needs to be enhanced in the development of cost-efficient nutritious foods for emergency interventions (and other programming)

Divine Kalenda (WFP)
Divine Kalenda (WFP)

Posting on behalf of the Emergencies Operations Division: 

Dear Felix,

Thank you for your very kind contributions.

Interesting point on the "multimodal" approach to preparedness, indeed COs are encouraged through MPAs and other mechanisms to look at a diverse set of modalities. Following severe disruptions affecting preferred modalities in recent years, related to COVID-19, inflation spikes, or other, some lessons learned exercises are underway to help understand best preparedness practices, including modifications to modalities in use.

Simplification of processes in general is a priority to maintain WFP's emergency response capacity. During COVID-19, some of these processes were temporarily suspended or lightened and with the review of the emergency protocols, the priority is ensuring access to lighter processes across a broader range of emergency situations recognizing the need to balance due diligence concerns.

The recommendation is well noted on the need for greater collaboration between nutrition, procurement and FAS. 
 

Lena Hohfeld
Lena Hohfeld Moderator

Great to see the discussion picking up here! Claudio Delicato , George Gegelia, Tanimoune and Barbara VANLOGCHEM, you were all referring to the importance of being forward-looking using new technologies, also in regards to funding. What do you think is keeping us from following this approach? What would be good starting points to strengthen this further - does it work best under certain conditions? Curious to hear from your experiences! 

Claudio Delicato
Claudio Delicato

Dear Lena, volatility of funding is for sure a challenge that makes it harder to adhere to our plans; the increased use of corporate funding envelopes is one of the actions I suggested to take in order to mitigate this risk. We are also facing the issue of siloed systems with poor/lack integration of data, which require many manual inputs, exposing us to the risk of human mistakes, delays in processes and scarce quality of data. Our nature of humanitarian organization also brings challenges related to operating in low connectivity environments, jeopardizing the possibility to maximize the potential of emerging technology.


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