Pattaya, Thailand , 03 Mar 2014 -- In many parts of the world, including the Asia and Pacific region, agriculture is the mainstay of rural livelihoods, particularly for the most vulnerable.
Investing responsibly in agriculture and food systems is essential for making sure everyone has the safe, nutritious food they need for a healthy life. However, investment in agriculture and food systems can also be risky when governance is weak or people’s rights are not respected. There is a need not only for more investment, but responsible investment which targets the most vulnerable and disadvantaged population in our society to ensure their food security and nutrition. It also has to be environmentally sound and economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
But what isresponsible agricultural investment? That’s the question that a series of regional consultations organized by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is trying to answer. “The starting point for defining what makes an investment in agriculture and food systems responsible is the recognition that investment contributes to the progressive realization of the right to adequate food as an essential human right,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “The human right to adequate food in particular has a central role to play in this discussion.”
FACT: In 2012, the Asia-Pacific Region, was home to 62 percent of the world’s undernourished, the equivalent of 536 million people. Approximately 1.9 million children
under five years of age die each day of malnutrition in our region.
CFS is the foremost inclusive platform for everyone to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The CFS consultation for the Asia-Pacific Region is taking place in Pattaya, Thailand from 3rd – 4th March. Experts from the region representing governments, civil society and the private sector will give their feedback on the set of principles that are under development.
“Our region suffers from an increasing number of natural disasters that severely impact agriculture and food systems in many of our countries,” Konuma emphasized. “We need to make sure that investments made in agriculture and food systems are more resilient and take into consideration changing weather patterns. Otherwise our food security and nutrition are at risk.”
There have been a number of initiatives that aim to address responsible agricultural investments in a variety of ways. CFS has the added value of developing principles through an inclusive multi-stakeholder platform which involves countries, CSOs, private sector entities, research institutions, financial institutions, UN agencies, and philanthropic organizations. This fosters broad ownership and application of the principles at all levels of agriculture and food systems.
The regional CFS consultation for Asia and the Pacific was attended by 25 countries and a large number of developing partners and CSOs with a total of nearly 50 participants. The outcomes will feed into a global consultation to be held at FAO in Rome from 19th – 23rd May. The final set of principles will be presented to the 41st Session of CFS, also at FAO in Rome in October 2014.