Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition

The international community is committed to ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition worldwide by 2030. While much progress has been made, conflict and human-induced and natural disasters are causing setbacks. This year’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World warns that the long-term declining trend in undernourishment seems to have come to a halt and may have reversed, largely on account of the above-mentioned factors. Meanwhile, though progress continues to be made in reducing child malnutrition, rising overweight and obesity are a concern in most parts of the world. These and other findings are detailed in the 2017 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (formerly, The State of Food Insecurity in the World).

One of the greatest challenges today is to end hunger and poverty while making agriculture and food systems sustainable. The challenge is daunting because of continued population growth, profound changes in food demand, and the threat of mass migration of rural youth in search of a better life. This report presents strategies that can leverage the potential of food systems to become the engine of inclusive economic development and rural prosperity in low-income countries. It analyses the structural and rural transformations now under way, and examines the opportunities and challenges they present to millions of small-scale food producers. It shows how an “agroterritorial” planning approach, focused on connecting cities and towns and their surrounding rural areas, combined with agro-industrial and infrastructure development can generate income opportunities throughout the food sector and underpin sustainable and inclusive rural transformation.

Overweight and obesity are severe public health issues with rapidly increasing rates in developed as well as developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, 1.9 billion adults (over the age of 18) were overweight in 2014, and 600 million were obese. In addition, 42 million children under five were overweight or obese in 2013. . For policies to be successful, a solid understanding of the causes of weight problems and appropriate indicators are needed. At individual level this implies for instance to look beyond the calorie balance concept and consider the functioning of the complex biological system that regulates body weight as a whole. Furthermore, systemic factors like the implications that the current food system has for consumption behaviour, should be taken into account.

This paper provides estimates of investment costs, both public and private, required to eliminate chronic dietary energy deficits, or to achieve zero hunger by 2030. This target is consistent with achieving both Sustainable Development Goal 2, to eliminate hunger by 2030, and Sustainable Development Goal 1, to eradicate poverty. The study adopts a reference baseline scenario, reflecting a “business as usual” situation, to estimate the additional investment requirements. In this scenario, around 650 million people will still suffer from hunger in 2030. We then estimate the investment requirements to eliminate hunger by 2030. Hunger is eliminated through a combination of social protection and targeted pro-poor investments. The first component aims to bring the poor immediately to the US$1.25/day poverty line income in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms through social protection for a “Transfer to cover the Poverty Gap” (PGT). The second component requires additional investment to accelerate pro-poor growth of incomes and employment, particularly in rural areas, where most of the poor live, than in the “business as usual” scenario. Targeted pro-poor, including rural and agricultural, investments are required to raise the earned incomes of the poor. This would, in turn, reduce the need for social protection to cover the PGT. The analysis is complemented by looking at alternative ways to achieve such pro-poor growth.

The Organization supports governments in the development of coherent and evidence-based policy and programmes with stronger focus on food security and nutrition, including greater commitment and allocation of human and financial resources for implementation and stronger and more inclusive coordination across sectors and stakeholders.

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