Evidence Summary on COVID-19 and Food Security

Breard, P.
Publication language
Date published
01 Feb 2021
Disaster preparedness, resilience and risk reduction, Disasters, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Evaluation-related, Evidence, Food aid, Food security, humanitarian action, Learning and evaluation of similar crises

Alongside conflict, economic crises and climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a factor contributing to increasing global food insecurity and, in 2020, led to an additional 130 million people being chronically undernourished. What can findings, good practices and lessons learned from past evaluations of interventions to protect food security in times of crisis, tell us?

By summarizing and making this knowledge more easily accessible, this study aims to contribute to a greater effectiveness of the United Nations (UN) system response to COVID-19 in the area of food security. The study draws from 65 evaluation reports by 15 multilateral and bilateral organizations that assessed responses to: conflict and insecurity crises (36%); economic shocks (6%); natural disasters (6%); extreme weather (28%); crop pest and animal disease (2%); and systemic crisis responses (11%). The UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 has three pillars that have potential effects on food security: social protection and basic services; economic response and recovery; and social cohesion and community resilience. The summary drew upon this Framework to develop three overarching research questions:

a. What interventions were effective (or less effective) in supporting social protection and basic services to preserve food security during crises?

b. What interventions were effective (or less effective) in supporting economic response and recovery of food insecure populations in times of crises?

c. What interventions have better supported social cohesion and helped vulnerable population groups become more resilient to food insecurity?