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Re: From economic growth to food security and better nutrition

Mauricio Rosales FAO , Italy
09.11.2012
Mauricio

Feedback by Juan Carlos Garcia y Cebolla and Mauricio Rosales, facilitators

Dear FSN Forum members,
we wish to thank all of you that took time to follow and engage in this challenging discussion on how to make economic growth work for improved food security and nutrition, inspired by the latest report on the State of Food Insecurity in the world (SOFI).
In our first question we asked you to tell us about experiences in which social protection and better food security governance have led to advances in food security and improved nutrition. We are happy to see that many projects have successfully managed to improve food security and nutrition of local communities: examples include the “Development of the Peanut sector for Guyana and Selected Caribbean countries” and the reformed Public Distribution System in Chhattisgararh (India). Further, among countries that progressed in improving food and nutrition security over the past decade Brazil and many in Asia were mentioned.
Successful experiences have been able to leverage and take full advantage of social protection and government determination; it’s worth noting that Guyana, from where many examples were shared, has met the target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger set by the Millennium Development Goal n.1.
We encourage you to keep sending examples and further references on experiences to enrich this exchange across countries and different professional perspectives.  
While in some cases governments are engaged and determined, in others commitment and interest seem to be lagging behind and leaving the goal of eradicating food insecurity still far from reach. Some of you argue that where improvements are not being achieved, this is due to the fact that food security and nutrition are not high enough on the decision makers agendas.
Others blame wrong or uninformed policies for not being able to tackle the problem correctly or even for exacerbating the situation. In this regard alternative policies and approaches were also mentioned and advocated by participants such as: promoting market access versus food self subsistence; traditional - high input agriculture versus sustainable methods; or giving attention to the whole supply chain rather than only the production end.
We would now like to draw your attention and reflections to our third question: how can political will be mobilized to truly take action for hunger reduction and improved nutrition?
Does the gap that we still see in many countries need to be filled by knowledge of the problems and right solutions, good and sound legislation frameworks or do the responses need to be found elsewhere, such as in civil society empowerment and mobilization (as suggested in some posts)?
Let’s dig in deeper into this difficult and complex question which probably has more than one answer, by looking at what made countries more or less successful in improving food security of their people. Is there any lesson to be learned about links between social protection policies  and civil society empowerment? Thanks for your contributions to figure out how can we avoid SOFI to keep counting and adding countries to the high numbers of those who are food insecure in the world, no matter what methodology is used.

We really enjoy reading your comments, it helps in refining our thinking and widening our perspectives.

Juan Carlos and Mauricio