There is no exact science when it comes to predicting when and where the next major humanitarian crisis will occur.
We do know that when the next major crisis that grabs headlines does happen, it will likely foreshadow a wave of NGO staff-ups and RFP tenders. Within the humanitarian and international development community, there is a strong interest in “humanitarian intelligence” that can predict the focal points of looming operations and organizational build-ups before they unfold. These will be the geographies of future projects, future satellite offices, and future deployments.
This begs the question, what is a reliable benchmark for humanitarian and international development professionals to provide a hint about what the future may hold? Certainly looking at displacement patterns (refugees and IDPs) as well as conflict escalation trends are solid candidates.
In addition, exploring emerging food security crises is an excellent trend to consider. Food security emergencies can result from natural disasters ranging from cyclones and drought, to conflict, displacement, to environmental factors including locust plagues and agricultural diseases. Food security emergencies are by definition “slow burn” disasters — they unfold over longer periods of time than a cyclone, earthquake or tsunami. Yet the dimensions of food insecurity can creep deep into the fabric of the societies impacted. As a stressor, food insecurity can greatly exacerbate and escalate complex emergencies.
Here are five emerging food security emergencies that are presently flying slightly under the radar of today’s top international news headlines. If they continue to deteriorate, they have the potential to impact hundreds of millions of people and become “emerging markets” of future humanitarian and international development operations.
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