Changing the trend? Review of lessons learnt on recent responses to chronic and transitory hunger and vulnerability. The analysis of food shortages in southern Africa in recent years has prompted questions over how far they are chronic and how far generated by crises. Answers to these questions allow the respective roles of developmental, relief and social protection measures to be identified. Whilst much progress has been made, especially in the quality of information available, there remain difficulties in several areas, such as taking initiatives beyond the pilot scale, building national capacity to interpret and act on vulnerability assessments (in ways other than simply supplying more food) and in enhancing the consistency between donor and government policy.