Europe commits to food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable
The EU’s focus on the root causes of hunger, poverty and nutrition
11 October 2013, Rome - Improving the food and nutrition security of the world’s most vulnerable people is top priority, the European Union (EU) said in presenting its development agenda during the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome.
In the wake of the food price crisis in 2007-2008, when soaring food prices caused uproar in several places around the world, the EU stepped up its efforts to fight food and nutrition insecurity in the worst affected countries.
“At the time, food and agriculture were abandoned sectors of development,” said Roberto Ridolfi, a senior official of the EU’s Development and Cooperation service, adding: “We realized we had to do more and responded by mobilizing additional resources, developing new policy tools and strengthening our partnerships.”
The EU has committed €3.5 billion of its new budget for 2014-2020 to improve the nutritional status of the world’s most vulnerable people, particularly children. The overall goal is to support governments in their efforts to reduce by 7 million the number of stunted children under the age of five by 2025.
In response to the recent dramatic food crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, the EU has already contributed €250 million in funding to dry land development in the Horn of Africa over the past two years. This is in addition to the €1.5 billion to build the resilience of rural communities in the Sahel and Western Africa until 2020.
“Resilience is key to help communities withstand shocks,” Ridolfi said. “This means: ensuring that communities and institutions can anticipate, recover and adapt from crises and disasters. It also means linking humanitarian assistance to development activities.”
FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, Laurent Thomas, welcomed the EU’s new focus on resilience and food and nutrition security.
Recalling the strong cooperation between the EU and FAO on the implementation of the "EU Food Facility", the EU’s €1 billion response to the 2007-2008 food price crisis, Thomas stressed: “We managed to address both the immediate needs of the people affected and tackle the root causes of the problem, thereby enhancing people’s resilience to future shocks.”
Thomas added that now, less than two years before the deadline set to achieve international Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the EU and FAO are stepping up their efforts to halve the proportion of hungry people by 2015 with initiatives such as the EU’s MDGs-initiative, under which the EU is funding FAO agricultural development projects in six countries worth nearly €60 million.