Paper: Interplay between sanctions, donor conditionality, and food insecurity in complex emergencies: the case of Syria

Paper details

Paper authors Mohammad Kanfash
In panel on Famine and Food Insecurity: New Trends and Systems or Politics as usual?
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


Twelve years into conflict, Syria continues to represent one of the major humanitarian crises worldwide. Food insecurity has reached unprecedented levels in the country with millions of civilians facing hunger and risk of famine. They key drivers of food insecurity can be linked to conflict dynamics, weaponization of food, rampant inflation, natural disasters and climate change, politicization of aid as well as institutional policies and politically motivated interventions. Semi-comprehensive sanctions against the country and donor conditionality on the work of humanitarian operators are prime examples of the latter; (geo-)politically motivated interventions. These policies are inextricably linked with food insecurity in Syria. Understanding the ongoing conflict as a complex emergency, as conceptualized by David Keen, this article examines the interplay between sanctions, donor conditionality and food insecurity in Syria, an understudied subject in the Syrian context. It explores how sanctions and donor conditionality affect the various dimension of food security availability, access and stability. The article is based on qualitative (online) semi-structured interviews conducted in Syria, Jordan, and Turkey on these topics as well as the review of available (academic) literature, and reports of international organizations.