Resources & Climate

Winning the Peace: The Link Between Food Insecurity and Global Instability


We have long understood that war and conflict produce poverty and hunger. Yet today, with the number of hungry people on the rise for the first time a decade, record levels of human displacement and an explosion of man-made crises, we are learning that hunger is not simply a byproduct of war, but can be a root cause of instability. A new report from World Food Program USA, Winning the Peace: Hunger and Instability, chronicles the link between food insecurity and instability through history, providing a comprehensive review of academic literature on this topic.

It is clear from this work that severing the link between food insecurity and instability will require new ways of working. A 2012 USAID report noted, for example, “the security challenges posed by fragile and failing states and the deprivation that accompanies them makes it all but inevitable that soldiers and humanitarians, diplomats and development experts will find themselves operating in increasing proximity to one another, often addressing the same issues with different tools and for complementary purposes.” There is evidence that this is beginning to occur through efforts like the U.S. Government’s inaugural Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) and legislation related to addressing root causes of state fragility.

Breaking the cycle of hunger and conflict— and conflict and hunger—is among the great challenges of our day and requires a multi-faceted approach. Over 80 percent of global humanitarian funding is directed towards conflict-affected countries. We must simultaneously tackle issues of poor governance and chronic underdevelopment while engaging incapable diplomacy to prevent the need to engage in costly militarily interventions. Join the conversation with this panel of experts to explore how current food crises impact stability, access to food, and the development of states.


WHAT: The Stimson Center invites you to participate in a discussion with experts on WFP USA’s report “Winning the Peace Hunger and Instability” and its implications for U.S. Government policy and practice.
WHERE: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC, 20036
WHEN: Tuesday, May 15, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
RSVP: Click here to RSVP for the event.
FOLLOW@StimsonCenter on Twitter for event news and use #StimsonNow to join the conversation.



John G. Castellaw, Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps (Retired)​
Dina Esposito, Vice President, Technical Leadership, Mercy Corps
Johanna Mendelson Forman, Distinguished Fellow, Stimson Center; Adjunct Professor, School of International Service, American University
Rick Leach, President and CEO, World Food Program USA
Dale Skoric, Senior Advisor to the Pentagon, USAID
Chase Sova, Director, Public Policy and Research, World Food Program USA

Photo Credit: USAID

Food Security
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