Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

Thomas Forster New School for Public Engagement, United States of America

Dear all,


The remarks I make under the themes of this consultation are drawn partially from a 2011 FAO position paper for which I was a coordinating author titled Food, Agriculture and Cities: the challenges of food and nutrition security, agriculture and ecosystem management in an urbanizing world. The full paper can be found at In addition this builds on recent policy language included in the Rio+20 outcome document calling for urban rural linkages for food and nutrition security.


Theme 1:


The key lessons from the initial Millennium Development Goals (MDG) must include, among many things stated by others, a recognition of a changed context for achieving food and nutrition security for all in the mid-21st century. The urbanization of world population, and the consequent challenges of feeding cities and rural hinterlands in a world of economic and environmental volatility, demand fundamental change in the way food systems are conceived, implemented and made more resilient. As these challenges have become increasingly evident, especially following the food price and economic crises of the last five years, there are also innovative ecosystem approaches that have civil society and multilevel government support for policy, programmes and resources in every region, in both low and high income countries. 


Theme 2:


New approaches combine systems-based and integrated crop, livestock and forest landscapes in both rural and urban settings. New approaches include integrating new agricultural landscapes with both targets of climate change mitigation and adaptation and with targets of reducing poverty and hunger.  New approaches also integrate these ecological, social and economic targets with local and national political commitment. While such multi-dimensional integration is not ubiquitous by any means, it is evident in pockets of innovation across the world. This is very hopeful.  To spread these examples of good practice and multi-targeted outcomes, it is necessary to have a multipronged approach such that three critical groups in all society – civil society, local authorities and national governments – all take ownership of such integrated sustainable development approaches in setting targets.


Theme 3:


The targets of the ZHC are a useful beginning, but there should be explicit reference to integrated solutions as mentioned above. There should also be explicit reference to the need for integration of urban and rural areas to achieve the targets of sustainable diets and resilient food systems to meet the continuing economic and environmental challenges that will characterize the future in all regions. In this spirit I would add the following to existing goals a, c and e:


  1. a. 100% access to adequate and healthful food all year around
  1. c. All food systems and diets are sustainable
  2. e. Zero loss or waste of food in both rural and urban areas.
See the attachment: FSN contribution - Forster.docx