What do you see as the key lessons learned during the current Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Framework (1990-2015), in particular in relation to the MDGs of relevance to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition?
Over the years development approaches have gone through several phases affecting operating methods and the types of planned and implemented interventions.
Food security, agriculture and rural development are no exception.
Recently, to improve alignment with the strategies and programmes of partner countries, national level participation and sector programmes has been encouraged; these programmes include different types of interventions such as initiatives for public aid for development, private investment, national and local interventions, etc. (e.g. the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme - CAADP).
Particular attention has been dedicated to strengthening institutions in order to guarantee programmes’ sustainability and ownership..
Furthermore, in order to be effective, aid for food security, agriculture and rural development must take the sector’s specifics into account:
• the central importance of gender issues (the majority of small subsistence farmers are women);
• the key role of the private sector and civil society;
• the importance of non-renewable natural resources (water, soil, biodiversity, climate, etc.) and frameworks regulating how they are managed;
• Inter-sectorial nature of the issue that involves different types of policies, competences and actors (e.g. energy, health, etc.);
• the local scope of problems, risks and opportunities (e.g. environmental, economic, social, etc.);
• the value of territorial and decentralized cooperation and the promotion of development programmes based on the participation of local community and grass-root organisations.
Some of the key lessons could be so summarised:
1. There is a strong interdependency among the MDGs. The multifacets/ sectorial dimension of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition imposes to tackle at the same time several causes and determinants, hence MDGs (e.g., Goals 2, 3, 7 and 8). On the other hand, fighting hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition is critical, for example, to reduce under-five mortality rates (Goal 4);
2. It is not always easy to translate the broad MDGs into action, notably as far as priority setting, specific patterns and determinants, division of labour and resources among Ministries and institutions are concerned. An example could be provided by the limited attention paid in some countries to pastoral, fishery and forestry issues in spite of their importance to several communities and to the national economy and welfare;
3. In such regard and considering the specificity of the agricultural sector, sound Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers helped in defining priorities and specific plans of action to achieve the MDGs which is, hence, not only a technical but also a key political exercise. Under this internationally shared framework, it was possible to convey national efforts to achieve common goals and to compare results;
4. The MDGs should reflect with clearer emphasis the strong association between hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, on one side, and natural resources management, economic and socio-cultural issues, on the other.
What do you consider the main challenges and opportunities towards achieving food and nutrition security in the coming years?
In order to achieve the food and nutrition security objectives there many interconnected challenges and opportunities.
• Rapid deterioration of natural resources, in particular water and land fertility, fisheries and forests
• Rapid population growth
• Climate change and its effect on traditional agricultural systems
• Inter-sectorial nature of the issue
• Need to develop and adopt more effective policies at global, national and community level
• Local scope of problems, risks and opportunities
• Possible inequities in the access to land and water
• Increased prices of oil products and their effects on the cost of and on the demand for agricultural inputs (e.g., biofuels)
• Price volatility of agricultural products
• Growing demand for agricultural, livestock and fishery products
• Food security continues to be high up in the political and development agenda with high concern from civil society and media
• New investments in policy research and in technologies with revised approach to innovation systems
• Clear resilience shown by many traditional, mixed and semi intensive farming systems against all the odds and in spite of limited support from some national governments
• Better understanding of broader action frameworks such as: strong interdependence between emergency, recovery and development; need for effective inter-sectorial collaboration and coordination; importance of processing and marketing, of farming system evolution and of interdependence between the public and the private sector in agriculture and rural development
• Improved governance at the international level
• Ongoing Reform processes of major International organisations (such as:
CFS, CGIAR), which will improve coordination , for example within the UN Rome
based food agencies
• In some countries, strengthened organisations of smallholder family farmers
• Economic growth and new market developments linked to the urban/rural dynamics
What works best? Drawing on existing knowledge, please tell us how we should go about addressing the hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition challenges head on. Provide us with your own experiences and insights. For example, how important are questions of improved governance, rights-based approaches, accountability and political commitment in achieving food and nutrition security?
We believe four issues are critical:
1. there is the need to translate the vast amount of knowledge and experience into practical, science-based, shared solutions and actions;
2. governance and equity issues need to be properly addressed by regional and national policies;
3. ownership of the whole process from national authorities who, on their turn, have the responsibility to involve and to adapt the policies to the different communities/ key actors (e.g., women, small scale farmers, pastoralists, commercial sector)
4. development rhetoric, therefore ambitious goals and objectives, should be avoided as much as possible in favour of feasible and tangible results.
Furthermore, how could we best draw upon 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?
The Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition elaborated by the CFS provides a comprehensive policy framework for coordination and harmonisation of policies and intervention at all levels, where the CFS provides the global forum for improving mutual understanding and collaboration between different
stakeholders: Governments, International Organisations, Farmers Organisations, CSOs, Research & Education, etc. In our view the work of the CFS on F&NS should be further supported and continued.
The Zero Hunger Challenge provides an overarching international agenda for action, encompassing objectives for developing, emerging and developed countries. We value the approach of merging development objectives with the objectives of sustainability. Another strength is its simplicity to understand and to communicate.
For the Post-2015 Global Development Framework to be complete, global (and regional or national) objectives, targets and indicators will be identified towards tackling hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. A set of objectives has been put forward by the UN Secretary-General under Zero Hunger Challenge
a. 100% access to adequate food all year round
b. Zero stunted children less than 2 years old
c. All food systems are sustainable
d. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income.
e. Zero loss or waste of food.
Please provide us with your feedback on the above list of objectives – or provide your own proposals. Should some objectives be country-specific, or regional, rather than global? Should the objectives be time-bound?
We consider the objectives set out in the Zero Hunger Challenge initiatives important for achieving global food security. These are at the same time ambitious and concrete; one could dispute about our current capacity to define an appropriate set of indicators for monitoring progress towards their achievement; nevertheless we consider that these objectives provide the direction for the required changes in order to achieve sustainable global food security and nutrition. Their quantitative dimension should be carefully articulated at the country and sub-country level to show the intensity of the required changes. The time horizon should be country specific and set according to the intensity of the change needed.
As outlined in the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, eliminating hunger and achieving universal food security requires a range of measures and investments. WWF’s contribution to the consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security addresses just one element of that challenge: protecting and enhancing the ability of the natural world to supply a growing human population with a nutritious, sufficient and diverse food supply. Please see the attached paper for responses under Themes 1 and 3.
Please find attached my submission for the e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security.
Maternal, infant and young child health promoter/educator
Coordinator: Canterbury Breastfeeding Advocacy Service
Te Puawaitanga Ki Otautahi Trust
153 Gilberthorpes Road
Theme 1: The most important challenge towards achieving food and nutrition security is the issue of access to and control over land and water. Secure tenure rights to land will contribute to fullfill the human right to food as women producers, small-scale farmers, forest people will be able to grow what they need to feed for their families. In addition, secure tenure rights to land will allow people to make long term investments in the land, in trees and in the soils, in agro-ecology.
Theme 2: The voluntary guidelines for the responsible governance of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security (VGs) that were adopted by the UN CFS were developed in a very participatory way and can count on broad support amongst civil society. However, these guidelines should not remain a beautiful paper solution, but will need to be implemented. Therefore, the SDGs should make a reference to the VGs.
Theme 3: There should be specific targets on:
- respect, protect and support the right to food
- implementation of the VGs
- participation of local people in policy processes affecting their right to food
- promote and invest in agro-ecology
Please find below and enclosed Slow Food's contribution to the Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security:
Slow Food is a member of the Italian coordinating committee for the Global Coalition Against Poverty (GCAP), which actively participates in the Beyond 2015 international campaign coordinated by Concord, which hosts the international and European secretariat. In particular, as GCAP Italia we are part of the European Task Force, and within it, the leaders of the thematic working group on “economy, trade, finance, production and consumption”. We are also leading and implementing a broad national consultation that will involve institutions and civil society and allow participation in the international debate through the construction of a national position.
For the first time in human history, the Millennium Development Goals represented a global desire to fight hunger and poverty through an integrated approach. The underlying concept is that the goals cannot be reached individually, but must be all reached together, because they cannot be separated from each other. In fact, wherever results have been seen, wherever visible advancements have been made in improving the overall lives of populations, government plans have integrated interventions in the fight against hunger, maternal and child health, the fight against pandemics, environmental protection, and so on.
Now, however, it is necessary not just to renew the commitments, moving the deadline by which the goals must be reached, but to reinforce the goals themselves. If we think specifically about the objectives relating to hunger, food security and malnutrition, it is the global food system that must be changed, as it is blocking the achievement of the goals. This is and must remain the primary objective, including in post-2015 developments. At Rio+20 it was confirmed that we cannot talk about development without first resolving world hunger. The central role of food must be the point of departure for a new form of politics, for a new economy and new social relationships. The central role of food implies the belief that the right to food is the primary right of humanity—ensuring not only human life but also that of the whole planet.
Among the main challenges and opportunities in making the objective of wiping out hunger a reality is the assumption of certain obligations for states, according to what is already contained in the definition of the right to food set out by the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
- the obligation to respect, meaning to refrain from interfering with the means of subsistence of their citizens and their capacity to provide for themselves.
- the obligation to protect, implying the constitution of a system of rules on food safety, environmental protection and land ownership.
- the obligation to fulfil, implementing suitable policies to ensure that the weakest have access to resources or, in extreme cases, providing direct assistance to at least allow freedom from hunger.
The first obligation alone would suffice to reveal the harmfulness of the industrial food system determined over the past 60 years by the international organization of markets. For Slow Food and Terra Madre, this obligation concerns respect for traditional, sustainable forms of agriculture, the only ones that have always protected agrobiodiversity, resources and cultural diversities. Their standard-bearers are small-scale food producers, women, the elderly and indigenous peoples.
In addition, it has to be considered that neither innovation and new technologies in themselves nor GMOs have proved to be the solution to fight hunger. We also don’t share the belief of those claiming that food production must be increased massively to solve the hunger problem. Given that one third of the food produced is lost or wasted, it is not necessary to stress our planet earth further but rather to be able to apply alternative sustainable models in the production and in the supply chain.
These elements are fundamental to us and must be incorporated in the post-2015 challenges and opportunities. They must be included in the global objective of reforming the production and consumption systems through the inclusion of incentives that switch from economic profit to universal well-being.
Context - the issue is not about food production - globally there is enough food available for 12 billion people to eat today - so the issue is more of distribution. In this distribution, the issue is about power and access. Today more people are overweight and obese, rather than hungry - so again the issue is not solely limited to one facet it is multi-faceted. Clearly it is important to worry about the hungry and ensure global systems care for them; but there is a growing cost to society in treating the consequences of over-eating and obesity as well which must not be forgotten.
Theme 1 - the MDGs have been a clumsy way of setting development targets. An imposed global target leads to bad dvelopment; doing the thing the wrong way to get the right result (short-term fixes over permanent solutions). Targets need to contain social and environmental considerations and fit the context of a nation or region, and cannot work well from a global perspective.
Theme 2 - Food Sovereignty as a framework marks the way forward from where we are now. The world knows how to build a suitable food production system and it is set out in the ISTAAD report, that has been conveniently ignored, by those who should take notice, for too long.
Theme 3 - The four goals of the Zero Hunger Challenge (A, B C and E) are clear and understandable. Goal D doesn't make any sense as written as there are too many implicit variables within it. "80% food produced by smallholders" is clearer.
For the Zero Hunger challenge to be truly global, the counterpoint to hunger needs to be incorporated. For example target B ought to include and "Zero obese children under the age of five years old".
This letter is to support the many contributions you have received calling for BREASTFEEDING to be specifically mentioned in the new MDGs. It is not necessary for me to repeat the compelling arguments made by other experts - my intent in writing is to add my voice to their call. Thank you.
member, Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton (BACE)
Theme 2: What works best?
Drawing on existing knowledge, please tell us how we should go about addressing the hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition challenges head on. Provide us with your own experiences and insights.
Organization: Concern Worldwide (Ethiopia office)
Author of submission:
Below are several key learnings from our project integrating Infant and Young Child Feeding and the Productive Safety Net Programme in Ethiopia:
Two years ago, Concern Worldwide documented the poor nutritional situation in Ethiopia and the multiple obstacles hampering previous efforts to improve it. It concluded that a multi-sectoral approach to improve infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices and to increase access to food were among the responses needed. In 2010, the IYCF – Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) project was launched as a pilot multi-sectoral approach aimed at reducing malnutrition in Dessie Zuria. It targeted poor households enrolled in the existing PSNP as well as the general population and addresses both the direct and root causes of malnutrition. The project aimed to develop an effective, sustainable and scalable model to improve IYCF practices in the most vulnerable households. The final results have been impressive, with large improvements in IYCF practices and a positive response from the communities and stakeholders involved in the project.
A number of factors contributed to the success of the IYCF – PSNP project. The project took a multi-sectoral approach, involving actors across a wide range of groups and sectors. It went beyond simply behaviour change communication, targeting the enabling environment as well as social norms, and involving the community at large. The project used multiple platforms and approaches to disseminate messages, and used a targeted approach to behaviour change, basing project activities and messages on formative research and emphasizing simple, do-able actions rather than health education messages.
The results of this project suggest that it is effectively fostering behaviour change, and increasing levels of awareness among woreda officials, kebele level leaders and community members alike. It has differed from previous efforts to reduce malnutrition because it has shown people how to make simple, practical changes and reinforced the messages through a multitude of actors, contact points and methods, vastly increasing the likelihood of behaviour change. It is also focused on prevention of malnutrition rather than cure.
The approach has been able to reach a large number of people who are widely dispersed over challenging terrain. Channelling activities through the PSNP creates additional contact points and ensures targeting of the poorest households.
As a nutritionist who was much involved in UNICEF in the 80's with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, I strongly believe that breastfeeding, exclusively for 6 months and for up to 2 years afterwards together with appropriate complementary foods, should figure prominently in the new MDGs, and fully support the position taken by IBFAN in this consultation.
Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to infections because at birth their immune system has not yet matured. Breastfeeding is a living fluid, providing anti-microbial substances such as lactoferrin and secretory IgA antibodies, while at the same time boosting the maturation of the infant's own immune system. Formula fed infants do not benefit from this protection because formula is a processed product and contains no live cells.
Furthermore, powdered infant formula (PIF) is not a sterile product and indeed "During production, PIF can become contaminated with harmful bacteria such as Enterobacter sakazakii and Salmonella enterica. This is because, using current manufacturing technology, it is not feasible to produce sterile PIF." (1) Enterobacter sakazakii, now renamed Cronobacter sakazakii, and Salmonella species are heat-resistant bacteria that can cause severe invasive infections such as meningitis and bacteraemia in newborns and older infants. Such infections are rare but can be fatal or result in long-term disability.
Chemical contamination of infant feeding equipment and utensils is of further concern. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals such as Bisphenol A and phthalates are found in certain plastics and can leach into prepared feeds and foods. Since infants are at a stage of rapid development, research evidence shows possible long-term negative health effects from fetal and postnatal exposure to these chemicals. Breastfeeding has been shown to provide beneficial effects to mitigate results of exposure.
Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly; producing zero waste and using no scarce natural resources such as water, land and raw materials. It is a valuable and renewable natural resource which comes straight from producer to consumer and requires no processing or transportation. Optimal breastfeeding practices contribute to spacing births and can help a mother plan her family when contraception is unavailable, unaffordable or unacceptable for religious or cultural reasons.
Formula feeding leaves a heavy ecological footprint which is demonstrated using indicators of use of scarce resources: water use for dairy farming and manufacturing; land use for raising cattle and growing soy; raw materials for packaging and energy for dairy farming, manufacturing and processing and transportation. In addition, formula feeding produces greenhouse gas emissions and non-biodegradable waste, contributing to global warming and polluting the environment.
For all these reasons, breastfeeding contributes to a healthier population, a healthier environment and to sustainable development. Optimal breastfeeding practices should be protected, promoted and supported as a key objective of the post-2015 Global Development Framework.
(1) Executive Summary, in 2007 WHO Guidelines on safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/micro/pif_guidelines.pdf
and the 3 meeting reports of the WHO/FAO expert consultations on Enterobacter sakazakii and Salmonella:
This thematic discussion was led by FAO and WFP in collaboration with “The World We Want”.
The consultation was facilitated by the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)