Dan Maxwell describes challenges to famine declaration at the Wilson Center

January 2017

On January 26, 2017, Dan Maxwell joined a panel entitled, “Insights on Ending Famines, Creating Food Security, and Fostering Thriving Livelihoods in a Changing World.” The panelists discussed threats facing the world’s poorest farmers, and what can be done to mitigate the impacts of climate change on agricultural production, food security, and livelihoods.

Dan described the path to the declaration of famine in Somalia in 2011 and the recent efforts to determine whether or not there were famines in South Sudan and northern Nigeria to highlight the challenges to making an unambiguous determination about whether or not a famine is occurring. He noted that we have made major strides in developing technical tools to gather and analyze data to determine the severity of food security crises. However, politics undermine the technical information and impede our ability to get an accurate, independent, and unambiguous understanding of the status of a potential famine.

The panel also included Richard Choularton (Tetra Tech), Alex de Sherbinin (Columbia University Earth Institute), and Ellen Mathys (Food Security, Resilience and Early Warning Specialist). It was moderated by Roger-Mark De Souza from the Woodrow Wilson Center.

The video is available here. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

The panel was hosted by Tetra Tech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C.

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