Contributions for WFP-FAO co-led Post 2015 Global Thematic Consultation on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition

Anna Rappazzo FAO, Italy
27-11-2012

In the first week of dialogue, already 22 Participants kicked off the consultation focusing on the lesson learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals of relevance to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
MDGs have been recognized for the role they played in bringing development problems to the attention of many. Participants also reminded us of extraordinary success that some countries had in realizing the goals and in increasing food security and nutrition among their citizens. However the same goal is still out of reach in many parts of the world.
MDG are meant be universal and are formulated in a very broad way making them difficult to enforce. Too often success is subject to the political will of national government to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition. Without buy-in by governments and by the population at large, even very active civil society organizations cannot manage to drive the change. The universal nature of the goals also constitutes a strong limitation as countries and regions can be very diverse and global or national goals risk becoming little more than a wish list.
According to the participants, in order to be successful , development objectives need to be linked closely to the local realities and need to be developed following a bottom up approach. For this to take place, awareness needs to be built among the general population starting in school and local professionals need to be put in the position to apply the acquired skills in their regional context.
As the central government often does not enjoy the full trust of the citizens it is important to involve civil society and grassroots organizations as much as possible, making the formulation of the development agenda respectful of the local peculiarities such as the environment and traditional agricultural practices.
Some participants also proposed a global food policy and more binding legal frameworks such as the creation of an expanded Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights or of a binding food treaty, which would create clearer obligation for the states.
Consensus emerged that hunger needs to be tackled in a comprehensive way including livelihoods, health, habits, infrastructure, education, gender equality, etc. and resources from all involved actors need to converge on a common practical plan of action.
Safety nets to mitigate shocks need to be put in place to increase the resilience of food insecure people and food should also be treated differently from other commodities and preferential trade arrangement could be put in place to increase access by the poor.
Participants also identified a decent infrastructure and safe storage facilities, which allow producers to efficiently access local markets with their produce as a condition for increasing food security .
Here national parliaments can play an important role by making sure that public policy measures aimed at rural developing and social protection find their way into national government budgets.
I take the occasion to thank all participants for their contributions and to renew my encouragement to further participate in the discussion.
In particular participants may wish to further address the following specific questions:
1.    Considering that several comments highlighted how Malnutrition and Food insecurity should be addressed in a integrated and comprehensive way, which are the main challenges in enabling this approach to be enforced? How different stake-holders could and should contribute to this effort?
2.    Which are the main lessons learned national levels to be used as a basis for building the future framework so that it fully reflects local realities and strengths?
3.    How can we use current initiatives, including the Zero Hunger Challenge, launched by the UN Secretary General at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (www.zerohungerchallenge.org), and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition elaborated by the CFS ?
We look forward to receiving your contributions
Anna Rappazzo
WFP/FAO facilitators team
 

Becky Jebet BEACON , Kenya
27-11-2012

My suggestion

1.0 Supporting small scale farmers through farmer education/extension services

2.0 Increasing governments budgets to above 10% as in the Maputo Declaration of 2012 for extension services and input subsidies to small scale farmers

3.0 Landlessness and land fragmentation as a challenge that needs to be addressed among the small scale farmers

4.0 Governments should support research into ecologically adaptable seeds especially in Africa

Piero Conforti FAO , Italy
27-11-2012

Current UN projections indicate that world population could increase by more than two billion people from today’s levels, reaching 9.15 billion by 2050. Incomes will grow even faster. To meet increased demand, FAO projects that global agricultural production and consumption in 2050 will be 60 percent higher than in 2005/07. This is a smaller increase than the agriculture sector has achieved over the past half century; but it still poses a main challenge in terms of how it can be achieved sustainably.

Population and income growth will spur demand, but significant parts of the world will approach saturation of per capita consumption levels. Demand will increase in both developed and developing countries, even where current levels appear adequate and additional growth may cause health concerns. This may happen even in countries where undernourishment remains significant. By 2050, some 52 percent of the world’s population may live in countries where average calorie intake is more than 3 000 kcal/person/day, but the total number undernourished is expected to be still 318 million or 4 percent of world population in 2050. Many countries will have to face a double burden, of under-nourishment and mal-nourishment.

How is production expected to respond to this demand-side picture and what are the opportunities to be leveraged on that side? More than 85 percent of the expected increase in production by 2050 may derive from improved yields. Higher yields and cropping intensity are economically preferable, given competition for land for other uses; and yield growth has been the mainstay of historic production increases. Spare land, instead, is often not readily accessible due to lack of infrastructure and is concentrated in a small number of countries. Water is another critical resource, that contributed much to past yield production growth. While water resources are globally abundant, they are extremely scarce in the Near East and North Africa, and in northern China, where they are most needed.

Yields increases can raise income from farming, provided that adequate signals are transmitted through markets; and that the policy and market environment in which farmers operate is conducive. At the same time, they need to be achieved with sustainable and climate-smart practices, to avoid increasing the pressure of agriculture on natural resources. In several regions of the world there is room to increase factor productivity and incomes from agriculture without exerting additional pressure on natural resources. Investment in research and extension, however, must pursue these objectives, probably with more efforts compared to what has happened over the last decades.

More information at http://www.fao.org/economic/esa/esag/en

27-11-2012

The Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security is a serious issues globally, somehow all this is related with poverty. Urgent action is required by both the Government and development partners, to ensure that immediate food security, combined with longer term growth in agricultural production, becomes critical and sustained prioritization. To overcome the challenges identified, the four key are of; agricultural production; trade and marketing; economic development; safety nets; and nutrition should become the focus of a comprehensive long term food security plan for all insecure population of the hunger. Eliminating hunger involves investments in agriculture, rural development, decent work, social protection and equality of opportunities. It makes a major contribution to peace and stability and to the reduction of poverty. It will contribute to better food, nutrition for all.

Theme 1

Lessons Learned:

  1. One of the key lessons learned during the current MDG framework, as it relates to hunger, food security and malnutrition is the fact that each country has its own capacities, constraints and challenges. Ending poverty requires setting ambitious targets in each country, but a “one size fits all” target is senseless when countries have vastly different starting points. With each country at a different point at the time of implementation, some countries were at the desired objective while to some it was impossible.
  2. The goals were designed using a ‘Top down approach’ and hence the inputs of those directly affected by hunger and poverty were ignored.
  3. Another lesson learned, especially in developing countries is that the measurements for the progress of the goals require extensive quantitative information which are, in some, cases unavailable and in others, inaccurate.

Future challenges:

  1. If strict regulations are not in place regarding the quality of food produced, the expansion of food production may result in the use of harmful chemicals to enhance quantity produced.
  2. Secondly, if countries are not careful of population growth, future food security and hunger reduction faces a tremendous challenge. This is so because if the population and food production are growing at the same rate, ceteris paribus, there will be no significant reduction in the number of people faced with hunger and malnutrition.
  3. Thirdly, with alternative uses of food (as inputs to the manufacturing of other goods, for example fuel), this leaves less for consumption and hence the challenge to food security.

Recently, there has been much talk of labour mobility from agricultural sector to other sectors. This could be a positive move if the movement is merely the surplus labour in the agricultural sector. However, it is very likely that much needed labour is transferred to other sectors. It has been observed that this is largely due to the mentality that agriculture is somewhat a socially degrading occupation and fewer entrants to the labour force wish to be agriculturally involved /employed.

Future opportunities:

The vast literature on agricultural based countries indicates that those countries are less developed. With the growing demand for agricultural production, due to the MDG food security agreement will help develop those small agrarian countries. It provides them with comparative advantage and also provides them with a favorable trade balance.

 

26-11-2012

Hello from Canada, I think that no one in the World should go hungry, if anything the UN should make sure that the hunger never happens also they should think of always making Food go to the Countries that are in need. The rich should be helping out the needs of hungry people. 

Ross Bailey WaterAid , United Kingdom
26-11-2012

WaterAid’s submission to the UN post-2015 thematic consultation on food and nutrition

WaterAid an international organisation working to transform lives by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the world’s poorest communities. We work with partners in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region, and influence decision-makers to maximise our impact.

In addition to the contribution that WaterAid’s programmes make to the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we work, an important strand of WaterAid’s advocacy work is to promote the positive health impacts of access to WASH and highlight the importance of access to WASH in realising the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those relating to health
and nutrition. WaterAid contributes to the generation of evidence on the links between health and WASH through its research initiatives and partnerships.
WASH plays a fundamental role in improving nutritional outcomes. A successful global effort to tackle under-nutrition, in particular childhood under-nutrition, must therefore incorporate elements of WASH.

1. Links between WASH and under nutrition

Direct links: WHO estimates that 50% of malnutrition is associated with repeated diarrhoea or intestinal nematode infections as a result of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene

  • Diarrhoea, largely caused by lack of water, sanitation and hygiene, is the second leading disease cause of death in children under-five globally, and its constant presence in low-income settings contributes significantly to under-nutrition.
  • Nematode infections such as soil-transmitted helminthiases, caused by lack ofsanitation and hygiene, affect around 2 billion people globally and can lead to diarrhoea, anaemia, protein loss and growth retardation.
  • Environmental (or tropical) enteropathy is a syndrome causing changes in the small intestine of individuals living in conditions lacking basic sanitary facilities and chronically exposed to faecal contamination. These changes to the intestine can lead to poor absorption of nutrients, stunting in children, and intestinal perforation.

Indirect links: The time taken to fetch water, and the cost of water purchased from vendors when it is not readily available in the home, impact on the amounts and quality of water consumed as well as on hygiene practices, which in turn impact on nutrition. Additionally, time spent sick with water-borne diseases or collecting water impedes educational attainment, which has a  significant impact on health, well-being and poverty over a lifetime and potentially over multiple generations.

2. WASH and nutrition post-2015

Clear outcome goals are essential for generating the political will, accountability and resources needed to tackle global development issues. An outcome goal that clearly sets out the vision for reducing global under-nutrition should therefore form part of the post-2015 development framework. Moreover, we have seen that outcome goals alone are insufficient to put in place the measures needed to achieve them, or to address challenges of inequalities within and between countries, which require customisable and ambitious approaches. A goal on nutrition should therefore be accompanied by time-bound targets that mitigate the challenges that contribute to under-nutrition, including those linked to behaviour change and the realisation of
human rights. Given the considerable impact of WASH on nutritional outcomes, it is crucial that such targets include WASH aspects.

Although the current MDG framework includes a standalone target on drinking water and sanitation, its separation from the outcome goals on health, nutrition and education contributed to a fragmented approach to these goals, encouraging vertical approaches and discouraging integrated, cross-sectoral approaches that can deliver greater and more sustainable impact.
WaterAid believes it is essential that the current discussions on the post-2015 development framework address these challenges, and formulate a framework that results in long-lasting improvements in nutrition and health, and ultimately, in elimination of poverty and attainment of overall well being.

WaterAid believes that any post-2015 goals must better reflect the central importance of WASH to human health, education, welfare and economic productivity and ensure their interconnectedness is reflected.

WaterAid recommends that the post-2015 goal framework should:

  • Include a goal on universal access to basic water and sanitation services as a fundamental human right.
  • Specify a target date for achieving universal access to basic water and sanitation services by 2030.
  • Ensure WASH targets and indicators focus explicitly on reducing inequalities by targeting poor and disadvantaged groups as a first priority.
     
Mohammad Habibi Najafi Department of Food Science & Technology, Ferdowsi University of ...
26-11-2012

Microorganisms and their Impact on Food Security

There is already a food security crisis in parts of the world, but with more people, less water and land and fewer inputs, we have to find a way to give the growing global population access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. There will be no one solution to the food security challenge. It demands a broad-spectrum approach, and microbiology has a key and central role to play in this. Food security is not just about increasing food productivity; it is also about wasting less. Furthermore, supplying safe, nutritious foods must be achieved in a sustainable manner with minimal impact on the environment and animal welfare.

Microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa, algae and archaea) and their activities are involved at every step of the food chain. Understanding the role of microbes at all steps in the process of plant and animal production, soil and water management, and harvesting, storage and processing of agricultural products is necessary. History records that microbiological research has delivered major advances in food security and safety. Important milestones include:

˜Identifying and applying of safe processes for food preservation, such as canning and pasteurization, and understanding the biology of pathogenic and spoilage microbes to reduce their transmission in the food chain, leading to developments of safer foods with a longer shelf life.

˜Exploiting antimicrobial substances produced by naturally occurring microbes as weapons against plant and animal pathogens.

˜Developing vaccines to improve the health of livestock and reduce transmission of animal pathogens to humans.

˜ Exploiting microbial processes to manage or reduce waste.

˜Producing novel food products, including probiotics and nutritionally enhanced foods, through fermentation.

 

Claudio Schuftan PHM, Viet Nam
26-11-2012

As a member of the People's Health Movement, I have for long been involved in the issues of the MDGs. We have praised the MDGs where due, but have also criticized it for its clear shortcomings.
I invite you to follow the attachment below and this link to look at the outlins of a class and a blog I wrote a short while ago on the topic of the MDGs. It is more important than ever to look at them critically so we do not fall into some of the same shortcomings post 2015.

Claudio

See the attachment: MDGs for lecture.doc
Codrin Paveliuc Olariu Young Professionals in Local Development, Romania
26-11-2012

What is food security? While I was following on October 29th the P.1.1. session on “National Food Security” of the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD 2012) which discusses Partnerships to Achieve Food and Nutrition Security, I was asked this question.

 

The definition of food security shifted in the past 50 years dramatically. The World Food Summit in 1996 gave a simple definition. It stated that “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. This definition encompasses several widely accepted points related to food security such as food availability, food access, utilization and stability.

 

But, unfortunately, it does not give the right to a good food governance back to the stakeholders involved in the agri-food chain and the right to food security. The Right to Food is not a new concept, and was first recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In 1996, the formal adoption of the Right to Adequate Food marked a milestone achievement by World Food Summit delegates. It pointed the way towards the possibility of a rights based approach to food security.

 

Currently over 40 countries have the right to food enshrined in their constitution and FAO estimates that the right to food could be judicial in some 54 countries. In 2004, a set of voluntary guidelines supporting the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security were elaborated by an Intergovernmental Working Group under the auspices of the FAO Council.

 

But RIGHT TO FOOD ≠ RIGHT TO FOOD GOVERNANCE. As was mentioned several times during the discussions in different panels at GCARD 2012, a multi-stakeholder approach might represent the way through which food governance can be introduced. Representing a multi-regional approach to fighting global hunger, joining forces through  a coalition building process, and giving the right to food governance to the agri-food chain stakeholders can be realized through the creation of a GLOBAL FOOD POLICY.

 

Coordinating at global level the efforts of fighting hunger, we can reduce the stress level that volatile food prices can bring on the world economy. World Bank President Robert Zoellick stated in February 2012 that “there is a real stress point that could have social and political implications”. With corporations and farmers’ organizations reaching out, United Nations system bodies and National governments working together on a single common goal, there is the possibility of creating a Global Food Policy that could encompass policy matters on both agricultural productivity and competitiveness, agricultural research for development (AR4D), food trade and food waste.

 

The Global Food Policy presents several advantages to present food security approach:

 

It moves toward an integrated systems approach, with instant inclusion of all stakeholders in the global, regional and national programs;

 

It does not affect sovereignty of countries, taking into account all national specificities and being implemented together with National governments;

  • It can better use all available resources at local, national, regional and global levels through the integration of the stakeholders and measures in a systems approach, while also moving away from the present “giving food aid” solution of solving the hunger issue;
  • It takes into account both the smallholder farmer, the corporations, the educational system and extension services as part of the solution for ending global hunger.
  • The question now is : Why should we NOT go for a Global approach to a Food Policy for ending hunger?