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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Invitation to an open discussion on the political outcome document of the ICN2

Barilla Center For Food & Nutrition
Barilla Center For Food & NutritionItaly
  1. Do you have any general comments on the draft political declaration and its vision (paragraphs 1-3 of the zero draft)?  

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) recognizes that the great challenge faced by economies today is to integrate environmental sustainability within economic growth and welfare by decoupling environmental degradation from economic growth. Now is the time to move towards an energy and resource efficient economy. This is the only way to improve and safeguard the quality of life and well-being for present and future generations. Climate change, agricultural productivity, water management, dietary habits, urbanization, and population growth: the causes and consequences of these burning issues for our planet will ultimately depend on management of the food systems in socioeconomic and environmental frameworks, currently affected by the following three major global paradoxes:

FOOD WASTE: Every year, 1.3 billion tons of edible food is wasted that represents four times the amount needed to feed the 868 million malnourished people worldwide.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION: A large portion of crop and food production is funnelled to animal feed or biofuels despite widespread hunger and malnutrition. Predictions foresee that global demand for biofuels will imply an additional of 40 million hectares of land converted for biofuel crops. A third of the global food production is used to feed livestock.

MALNUTRITION vs. OBESITY: Today, for every malnourished person, two are obese or overweight: 868 million people are undernourished globally, while 1.5 billion people are obese or overweight. 36 million people perish annually due to undernourishment. In contrast, 29 million people die each year from diseases related to an excess of food.

  1. Do you have any comments on the background and analysis provided in the political declaration (paragraphs 4-20 of the zero draft)

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) agrees with the background information and impetus for action. In particular, the BCFN underlines the central role played by prevention with regard to diet and lifestyles, both in Western countries and in developing countries: on the one hand, prevention in terms of spreading the correct behaviors that are able to slow down the onset of overweight and obesity; on the other hand, prevention of the deterioration of food and the lives of people in conditions of extreme fragility in the least developed countries. In light of these reflections, we believe that in Western contexts it is more necessary than ever to:

  • Promote the further deepening of scientific knowledge.
  • Properly structure the interventions, according to the best international practices.
  • Encourage the spreading of accurate food information and promote the culture of prevention.

Alongside the other major players that make up the core of the work of food information / Orientation / prevention, in recent years – with increasing awareness – there has been the role of the agri-food industry in contributing actively to the creation of proposals that are consistent with the accurate information on food and lifestyles and in actively promoting their adoption.  In relation to developing countries, we believe that it is necessary to:

  • Promote economic development related to agriculture so as to reduce hunger and malnutrition and to ensure an improvement in access to food by the poor.
  • Establish stable and long-lasting actions against undernourishment and malnutrition in the world.
  • Implement initiatives to enhance the social role of women and their economic independence, in order to combat malnutrition.  

Furthermore, we recognize that all Parties shall engage in the promotion of sustainable agriculture, understood as the efficient production of safe, healthy and high quality agricultural products, in a way that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, by protecting the natural environment and its resources and mitigating climate change, by improving the social and economic conditions of farmers, employees and local communities, and by safeguarding animal welfare for all farmed species.  In addition, we recognize that food waste is a urgent issue, starting with a common definition and methodology to quantify it to harmonize food waste monitoring and practices. With regard to specific commitments:

  • Parties shall give priority to avoiding food losses and waste by addressing their root causes, before directing focus to how best to dispose of waste. Therefore waste reduction initiatives should respect a hierarchy, namely:

    - Prevention;

    - Reuse for human consumption;

     - Animal consumption;

    - Energy production and composting.

Parties shall endeavour to address the issue at every stage in the food chain, from producers to consumers to create a fully informed chain of actors wherein all have a responsibility in helping to reduce food waste:

- Analysis to address the gap in knowledge regarding the shortcomings of the food supply chain from a resource efficiency perspective, with particular regard to production and distribution stages;

- Cooperation between farmers as well as long-term vertical food chain agreements to allow for a better planning of consumer demand, both quantitatively and qualitatively;

- Education of consumer on the use-by and best-by dates of food products which have proved to be confusing for consumers, to food consumption planning, storage and preservation, and to the preparation

  1. Do you have any comments on the commitments proposed in the political declaration? In this connection, do you have any suggestions to contribute to a more technical elaboration to guide action and implementation on these commitments (paragraphs 21-23 of the zero draft)?

Please provide your comments in the appropriate fields relating to these commitments:        


Commitment I: aligning our food systems (systems for food production, storage and distribution) to people’s health needs;  

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) strongly agrees that it is essential to align food systems internationally—from farm to fork— to people’s health needs and realize the high degree of interconnectivity between health, nutrition and well-being.

The BCFN developed the Double Pyramid Model as a way to reconcile the environmental impact of food production with people’s health. The model consists of two pyramids: one lists the nutritional value of foods of the Mediterranean Diet and the other outlines the environmental impacts of such foods.  At the base of the food pyramid there are foods that should  be consumed daily, at the top those to be consumed in moderation. The Environmental Pyramid distributes foods according to their impact on the Planet, using public data calculated according to the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method which take into account for the main stages of product life (from the cultivation of raw materials to consumption).

Commitment II: making our food systems equitable, enabling all to access nutritious foods.  

To make our food systems equitable, we need urgently to :

  • Do more than provide food and rather create the systemic conditions for food security by recognizing the social factors that lead to malnutrition and access problems such as inability to work, social/economic marginalization, political and social instability, inadequate knowledge about nutrition
  • Build a system of multilateral rules for commercial exchanges to guarantee greater access to food (decrease trade barriers, export subsidies)
  • Manage the global demand for biofuels to prevent it from interfering with crop cultivation for foods 

Commitment III: making our food systems provide safe and nutritious food in a sustainable and resilient way;          

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) maintains that specific measures should be implemented in order to:

  • Spread best farming practices including understanding about farming models and their advantages by using simulations to test models before implementation and spread proven principles (including crop rotation, increased biodiversity, minimized mechanized operations, organic soil surface, biological farmland activity, investment in technology)
  • Promote technology investments for agricultural production, water conservation and fight against overconsumption.

Commitment IV: ensuring that nutritious food is accessible, affordable and acceptable through the coherent implementation of public policies throughout food value chains.         

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) recommends to focus on the following initiatives  :

  • Protecting the more vulnerable segments of the population
  • Support education and awareness-raising campaign on nutrition, especially in primary schools

Commitment V: establishing governments’ leadership for shaping food systems.      

In our view, policies shall give to food and nutrition a primary role in the international political  agenda by:

  • Encouraging governments and international organisations to manage price volatility, curb speculation and ensure “safety nets” for emergencies. Food cannot be thought of as something to be indexed, leveraged, and speculated on for profit
  • Recognizing the challenge of implementing Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention policies and share best practices in this area

Commitment VI: encouraging contributions from all actors in society;           

Here, we recommend a concerted alliance among various players of the food chain.

  • Food industry is expected to :
    • Make their products healthier and provide  meaningful nutrition information
    • Promote investments in applied research and cooperate with universities and research centres.
  • Consumers are expected to :
    • Adopt responsible behaviour for their lifestyles.
    • Understand the power of their opinions and purchases to guide government  policies in support of the role of diet and nutrition for health
  • Scientific bodies, research centres, universities should make the guidelines and research on healthy diets more applicable and usable.  
  • Schools, families and pediatricians should contribute to nutrition education from childhood onward.
  • Policy-makers are expected to:
    • Include nutrition and health in their education policies
    • Ensure comprehensive communication solutions based on best practices
    • Promote  public-private partnerships and research

Commitment VII: implementing a framework through which our progress with achieving the targets and implementing these commitments can be monitored, and through which we will be held accountable.          

No specific comments on this commitment.

22. Commit to launch a Decade of Action on Nutrition guided by a Framework for Action and to report biennially on its implementation to FAO, WHO and ECOSOC.       

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition is in favour of strengthening global governance mechanisms to redesign food systems in view of greater accessibility, sustainability and nutritional quality.

A common agenda needs to be found, as does a common venue for discussion and analysis. The Framework for Action should be based on previous conceptions of global food security as developed by the G20 in Seoul, the 2010 United Nations Private Sector Forum on MDGs, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), FAO and others.

23. Commit to integrate the objectives and directions of the Ten Year Framework for Action into the post-2015 global development efforts.  

We believe that Post-2015 development efforts must recognise that the right to food is a human right. Every human being has a right to safe, affordable and healthy food as declared at the Rome World Food Summit in 1996 (Food Security, 51). Development efforts must defend that right with appropriate policies.