Analytical Approach / Methodologies / Civil Insecurity

Civil Insecurity

Importance of Civil Insecurity in Food and Livelihood Security

In conjunction with climate, civil insecurity (including conflict) is a key driver affecting food and livelihood security in Somalia. The links between civil insecurity and food and livelihood security are especially strong in the context of a country like Somalia that is characterized by chronic political instability and localised conflicts over natural resources. The pastoral proverb, Nabad iyo caano, col iyo abaar, which can be interpreted as 'peace and milk, war and famine', is testimony to the interconnectedness of insecurity and wellbeing.

Charcoal production between Harada Gobato and Odweyne
Charcoal production between Harada Gobato and Odweyne

Insecurity and conflict: affect the availability of food through the destruction of productive assets, household food stores and the disruption of commodity trade networks; undermine economic access to food through, for example, the diminution of financial assets, and limit physical access to food sources such as markets due to the presence of conflict frontlines or roadblocks; and are unambiguous determinants of the temporal dimension of food security, stability. The combination of these dimensions, and in conjunction with climate, shape livelihood strategies and have clear outcomes in terms of food and livelihood security.

The multiple impacts of civil insecurity and conflict may be short-lived, or felt across several seasons or years. However, in some instances, 'less visible' incidents such as tension over access to water and grazing, or numerous roadblocks, escape the tag of 'war' or 'conflict'. These may be less dramatic than open conflict but the impact upon food and livelihood security can be profoundly disruptive. For example, people tend to shorten their time horizons, unwilling to invest in the future if the future is uncertain: crops are not planted and business investments are limited. Therefore, the analysis of food security and the identification of food insecure populations in Somalia would not be complete without at least some understanding of the role of conflict and its 'visible' and less 'visible' processes and outcomes.

Burned down houses and shops in Ooflow area due to 
Burned down houses and shops in Ooflow area due to conflict

FSNAU's Civil Insecurity Data

The strength of the conflict-monitoring that has been developed by the FSNAU is that it is not a stand-alone exercise but one that is integrated fully into the conceptual framework and food security analysis system, including the Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification Reference Table. The conflict-monitoring tool complements other data collection instruments and information sources of the Unit. FSNAU collects information on civil insecurity and conflict at three levels: twice yearly as part of the Somalia-wide seasonal (Gu and Deyr) assessments; from each district throughout Somalia on a monthly basis as part of the monthly monitoring and reporting; and as a continuous process from sources outside of the FSNAU.

Refugee camps in Walaq Wajid district
Refugee camps in Walaq Wajid district

Insecurity is mapped and described only when it is considered to have negative outcomes upon food, nutrition and livelihood security. The tool requires collection of qualitative information on the process indicators of insecurity (such as location, magnitude, triggers, intensity, resolution level and trend) and quantitative information on its consequent outcomes (the loss or destruction of livelihood assets, human fatalities, injuries and displacement), and qualitative descriptions of physical access to productive resources (to grazing and browsing, agricultural land, water sources for both livestock and human consumption, and access issues relating to markets and trade links, health services and education). Wherever possible this includes gender disaggregated data.

FSNAU Products from Civil Insecurity Sector Analysis:-

  1. Civil Insecurity Sector Article in Monthly Website Updates provides a snapshot analysis of insecurity, latest developments and key issues to monitor in the coming months.
  2. Civil Insecurity Sector Article within FSNAU's the Quarterly Food Security and Nutrition Brief is a more in-depth interpretation and analysis of insecurity which is triangulated and ground-truthed with all available insecurity information.
  3. Civil Insecurity Sector Analysis is an integral part of all of FSNAU's Annual Food Security Projections and seasonal technical reports (Technical Reports on FSNAU Post Gu and Deyr Analysis).