HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the Report: Biofuels and Food Security

08.01.2013 - 11.02.2013

In October 2011 the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) recommended a “review of biofuels policies – where applicable and if necessary – according to balanced science-based assessments of the opportunities and challenges that they may represent for food security so that biofuels can be produced where it is socially, economically and environmentally feasible to do so”. In line with this, the CFS requested the HLPE to “conduct a science-based comparative literature analysis taking into consideration the work produced by the FAO and Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) of the positive and negative effects of biofuels on food security”.

The Final findings are to be presented to the CFS Plenary Session in October 2013.

The High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) now seeks input on the following V0 draft of its report to address this mandate. The current V0 draft has been elaborated by the Project Team, under guidance and oversight of the Steering Committee, based also on the feedback received through the scoping e-consultation.

The present e-consultation will be used by the HLPE Project Team to further elaborate the report, which will then be submitted to external expert review, before finalization by the Project Team under Steering Committee guidance and oversight.

The current draft is work-in-progress towards a comprehensive yet accessible and succinct presentation, highlighting priority topics and areas that are useful for action to the diverse range of stakeholders, which form the CFS.

To be useful in the next steps of the report write-up, the HLPE seeks feedback and input according to the following lines:

1. Is the V0´s appreciation of the current policy conjuncture adequate, particularly its interpretation of the changing significance of mandates and targets?

2. Does the V0´s interpretation of land constraints regarding “available” lands – from an integrated food security and carbon emissions perspective – take into account all the relevant scientific evidence and arguments?

3. The V0 provides a detailed and comprehensive discussion of the central role of biofuels for high and volatile food prices. Are there further discussions that need to be taken into account?

4. The V0 endorses initiatives which give priority to broad bioenergy strategies for local use in energy poor regions of the world where the potential social gains are large from even small quantities of energy and the impact on land use competition small. Which are the most far-reaching examples of such policies or experiences in practice?
The V0 draft report presents a series of policy proposals, which are understood to follow on from the analysis developed in the different chapters. These proposals are still very preliminary and general in character. Do these proposals adequately reflect the analyses developed in the V0 draft?

The Report ambitions to pay particular attention to the changed conjuncture with regard to mandates/targets and subsidies and to the need to define policies to control the development of biofuels markets. Contributions on this theme would be particularly welcomed.

The HLPE welcomes contributions and evidence to sharpen policy proposals, including international ones, in the area of implementing and ensuring effectively responsible land investments.

The HLPE is concerned above all to develop policy proposals, which can be used as practical guides for policy formulation, and welcomes contributions, which identify policies, and initiatives, which can flesh out the general orientations, presented in the policy proposals section.
We thank in advance all the contributors for being kind enough to spend time in reading and commenting on this early version of our report. Supplementary information, references and evidence-based examples would be very much welcomed in such a format that could be quickly managed by the team (for instance, if you suggest a reference, a book etc, please highlight a/the key point(s) in 5 to 10 lines).

Contributions are welcomed in English, French and Spanish. The V0 draft is available in English. We look forward to a rich and fruitful consultation.

The HLPE Project Team and Steering Committee