The SDGs: from policy to action

The number of people suffering from hunger may have decreased over the past 25 years, but based on current performance, we will not meet the goal of zero hunger and malnutrition by 2030, according to Rob Vos, Director, Agricultural Development Economics Division at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Mr. Vos was addressing the Side Event on “Bridging global policy agreements and country achievement of the SDGs: the key role of regions for achieving and reviewing progress on food security and nutrition”, at 43rd session of Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

That’s a frightening prospect. Add to the fact that 800 million people in the world do not have enough food for a healthy life. Even scarier, is that one out of six children – roughly 100 million – in developing countries is underweight.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – What is it for?

Global policy agreements and regional policies on food security and nutrition are intended to support the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), formulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We need comprehensive actions, policy coherence, concrete timeframes and accountability to eradicate malnutrition, according to keynote speaker, Marzella Wüstfeld, from the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization.

But we can’t stop here. Follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda will be critical for evaluating progress. Accordingly, the purpose of the side event was to provide a discussion forum to share experiences and “learn from differences”, as Rob Vos said.

Panellists from Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt and the African Union, talked about their experiences, specificities, challenges, as well as successes and obstacles in their policy implementation at regional level. Many panellists presented some remarkable policy actions, but those implemented in Egypt were the most meaningful for me.

Khaled El Taweel, Alternate Permanent Representative of the Arabic Republic of Egypt to FAO, introduced their program aimed at increasing agricultural productivity, and reducing food loss and waste by enhanced storage capacities, as well as a school food system.

International good practice

Looking back on the many methods, solutions and good examples, overviewed at CFS43, I got the feeling that we are not always fully aware of the options available to us. I will  illustrate this with some simple questions:

  • Why do we transport locally-available, everyday foods of the same quality as those already available over hundreds and thousands of kilometres? How can this be economical?
  • Why don’t we better support the complex local systems including the production, and use of products and by-products? This would result in fresher, healthier and more nutritious food for the local market, as well as eliminate by-products and inevitable waste.  It would also provide local jobs, slowing migration to cities or overseas. How can towns become more economical than villages and farms, utilizing the sunshine and renewable raw materials?
  • Why don’t we utilize the complementary capabilities of Big Data and of process models, to provide better reasoning and realistic parameters? Can we really plan and operate the water-food-energy-ecosystem networks without the synergic use of data and balance models, at all?

 

During CFS43 we saw and will continue to see many outstanding solutions, but they must reach more people in more places around the globe, driven by agencies like the FAO. That’s the long road ahead of us...

 

Blogpost by Monika Varga, #CFS43 Social Reporter – ypardhungary@gmail.com

Photo: Vegetable on the Michigan Fall Market.Credit: Dan Bruell/U.S. Department of Agriculture

This post is part of the live coverage during the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.

24/10/2016 0:00

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