Food aid in conflict zones: curse or cure?

Date: 15 October 2013

Venue: University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, R.002 - Rodestraat 14 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: IOB, USOS, MO*

Short description: Debating Development: Zlatan Milisic (World Food Programme, Italy) and Simon Levine (Overseas Development Institute, UK). Moderator: Gie Goris (MO*).

Is the delivery of food aid in conflict zones a life saver or does it rather contribute to or even exacerbate existing tensions? In their mission to alleviate human suffering during complex emergencies, aid agencies claim to be neutral actors. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that food aid is often stolen and actually contributes to the provisioning of fighting parties. And what about the impact of food aid on the local economy? Do humanitarian arguments outweigh the risks and consequences of food aid in conflict zones?

In this debate, Zlatan Milisic of the World Food Program (WFP) will argue in favour of food aid in conflict zones whereas Simon Levine (ODI) will go deeper into the challenges and unintended consequences.


Zlatan Milisic
Zlatan Milisic is the Chief of Programme Guidance and Policy Service and Deputy Director of broader Policy, Programme Guidance and Innovation Division at the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations (UN). He holds a BA in Laws from the University of Sarajevo and an MA in International Politics and Security Studies from the University of Bradford. Mr. Milisic has been with the UN System since 1992, working primarily in humanitarian field operations. For the past 10 years, he has served as Country Director of WFP in Burundi, Somalia, Lebanon, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Mali, and as Deputy Regional Director for Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia in Cairo, Egypt, before taking up his current position in March 2013. Mr. Milisic had extensive experiences in hunger and food insecurity issues in unstable and conflict environments in Bosnia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, too. In the course of this work, he has cooperated substantially with other humanitarian organisations and actors, both at strategic and operational level. Mr. Milisic’s current work involves development of food security and anti-hunger policies and strategies, and guidance to make them operational, as well as direct advice, training  and support to implementing WFP and partner offices and staff, especially in the areas of humanitarian action and transitions, country capacity strengthening, resilience building and prevention and school feeding. Prior to his work in humanitarian operations and the UN System, Mr. Milisic had a short career as a lawyer.
Simon Levine
Simon Levine is a Research Fellow at the Humanitarian Policy group at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, where he now worries most about livelihoods, protracted crises and resilience.  He worked on a variety of development programmes for NGOs for many years, usually in war and post-war contexts such as Mozambique, Cambodia and Burundi. He then spent nine years living in Uganda, working across Eastern and Central Africa and the Horn of Africa  specialising in livelihoods, vulnerability analysis and early response. In Uganda he also developed a passion for land rights, on which he worked extensively.  Since returning to England in 2010 to work at ODI, he continues to want the humanitarian system to get fixed


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Attachment: Folder Debating Development