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

Jose Luis Vivero Pol Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
26-11-2012

Dear FSN participants,

 

A.- I would like to propose a binding FOOD TREATY as a legal instrument to help reducing hunger to zero by the rule of law, increasing accountability, transparency and participation of those countries and their constituencies that are willing to do it. It would be a hard-law agreement amongst those who are really committed to end hunger (countries having food insecure people and countries willing to eradicate hunger from Earth). You can find below a list of links to the proposal and herewith attached a summary brief of main features and the rationale (to be read in 3 min).

 

B.- This is a concrete idea, that goes very much in line with the Zero Hunger Challenge launched by Ban Ki Moon, and that is anchored in the right to food. A summary can be found in the following link HUNGERPOLITICS (Blog in english) http://hungerpolitics.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/a-food-treaty-to-secure-food-for-all-in-the-future/

 

C.- During 2009, the idea of a Food Treaty to fight hunger by the rule of law was developed and distributed to a wide group of practitioners in the food security and nutrition domains so as to get their reactions and the feasibility of the proposal. The proposal was even presented to the Committee on World Food Security and to high-profile developmental officers. But political timing seemed not to be adequate at that time. Now with the post-2012 debates heating up, it may be considered as a worthy idea. The strategic goal is to make it widely known and mature enough to become a serious possibility for the post-MDG talks. It might be the time of hard law agreements, as the soft ones have proven a failure to address global problems.

 

I would appreciate to have the proposal broadly discussed in the FSN forum, so as to get reactions from different constituencies and groups of interest (i.e feasibility, appropriateness, suggestions to proceed, etc).

 

1.- The Food Treaty idea was initially disclosed in 2009, and endorsed by several NGOs such as OXFAM and More and Metter http://www.moreandbetter.org/en/news/common-actions-for-commitments-to-eradicate-hunger-and-malnutrition

 

2.- It was then presented in a more elaborated way in 2010, as it can be in the link below: http://km.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/fsn/docs/The%20Governance%20of%20Hunger%20_AM%20%20JLV_%20FINAL%20_3_.pdf

 

3.-This proposal was then formally published in a book on the right to food. MacMillan, A. & J.L. Vivero (2011). “The governance of hunger. Innovative proposals to make the right to be free from hunger a reality”. In: Martín-López, M.A. & J.L. Vivero, eds. New challenges to the Right to Food. CEHAP, Cordoba and Editorial Huygens, Barcelona. http://issuu.com/joseluisvivero/docs/the_governance_of_hunger__am__jlv__book_huygens_20

 

4.- And, very recently, there has been a working document in a Spanish Think Tank were I have updated the previous version. Vivero, J.L. (2012). A binding Food Treaty: a post-MDG proposal worth exploring. OPEX memorandum n°173/2012. Fundación Alternativas, Madrid. http://www.falternativas.org/opex/documentos/memorandos/a-binding-food-treaty-a-post-mdg-proposal-worth-exploring In this paper, the rationale has been enriched to justify a Treaty and its most prominent features are highlighted. Additionally, a previous account of former binding Treaties and recent movements towards more hard treaties on Health and Climate Change are also presented.

 

5.- The idea of a binding Food Treaty was already mentioned by the former UK Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn during the 2008 food crisis peak, with no great success at that time I presume. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/10/food-foodtech

 

6.- Since May, several developments have positioned the Zero Hunger Goal high in the international debates: a Brookings Institution paper and the Ban Ki Moon’s Zero Hunger Challenge are both pointing out the same goal (links below), although no means are presented whatsoever. I think the binding Food Treaty could be helpful in that sense. Not only by providing the means, but also by anchoring the Zero Hunger challenge in the human rights international framework. This Treaty could help transiting towards more sustainable food production and consumption systems. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2012/4/17%20millennium%20dev%20goals%20mcarthur/0417%20millennium%20dev%20goals%20mcarthur http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42304#.UFBFrvXAYtg

 

I would like to exchanges ideas on the content, the way forward and the political options to become a proposal to be seriously considered. Furthermore, any suggestion on where, how and when it could be further disseminated would be highly appreciated.

 

Best regards Jose Luis

Prashant Anchal Aide et Action International, India
24-11-2012

Dear Moderators,

Thanks for providing such platform. Here are few of my thoughts to address the issue. 

 

The basic issues like health and malnutrition in Madhya Pradesh are summarized as

Follows:

 

The state has highest rate of infant mortality and malnutrition among children. Nearly 55 percent of all children below 3 years are under weight, 51 percent are stunted, 20 percent are wasted and 75 percent are anaemic.

 

Various reports of UNICEF state that out of every thousand live births 100 children die in the developing countries. Preventable diseases cause the deaths. Moreover, in M.P. a child dies every 5 minutes.

 

Proportion of children receiving immunization against all preventable diseases in the age group 12-24 months is only 22.4 percent.

 

Only 25 percent of children 6-35 months having received at least one dose of Vitamin 'A'.

 

Maternal mortality rate in the State, which is second highest in the country i.e. 379 per Lakh live births.

 

IMR is also highest at 72 per thousand live births.

One has to understand the fact that the high level of Maternal Mortality also contributes to the high level of Infant Mortality. Medium term health sector strategy for Madhya Pradesh-2006 has recognized the MMR at the rate of 400 per lakh but no projections has been made to reduce it by three quarters till 2015 in order to achieve the MDGs.

 

Some thoughts to address the issue of hunger/malnutrition

 

1. Community based integrated weighing mechanism for children
2.Effective educational materials to be given to mothers on Child's Health
3. Support the families to start home gardening to grow fruits and vegetables which helpful for the child's growth
4. Provide a Computer to the Centre to keep the records of all the children in the village. For this we should train a health volunteer to maintain this data base
5. We can also train Volunteers on Health and Hygiene of the Child and the mother
6. Each of these volunteers can be assigned number of families and they should have mobiles. If there is any issue for a child in their areas - sickness or any other issue, they should update the centre with a SMS, and the central data base will be updated.

 

I am working on a concept note for effective implementation of activities to address the issues of hunger/malnutrition, would be sharing on this platform soon.

 

Thanks and Regards 

 

Prashant

Aide et Action International 

Dr Aruna Sharma Government Official and practitioner Development Economist, India
24-11-2012

Theme 1: The MDG framework did remain a rhetoric to considerable extent. The number of children suffering from hunger and malnutrition have not shown decline in the desired ratio. The reason being:

Hunger is not not issue of only food avilability and health care but it is an issue that needs to be handled in Convergent manner inclusive of livelihood, habit formations, health care, right kind of food availability and focuced approach.Thus, the main challenge is to have effective format to bring out this Convergence of Resources and implementation outcome orianted plan.

 Theme 2: As it is important to have only rights based approach, it is equally important to make a working holistic model. Many of the courtires having still high percentage of mal-nutrition or food related issues do not suffer from lack of food, having legislation or programs and schemes---the real issue is lack of resource convergent implementation plan focused and targeted, each is working in their silo. The strategy is therefore to have convergent plan to enhance livelihood of targeted families, IEC for awareness and habit change for healty life, health care and gaining access for food requirements. Such experiments have shown successful sustainable results.

Zero-hunger challenge initiative launched is the right way of approaching as it inbuilts zero tolerance to get sustainable outcomes of interventions. However, even sounding repeatative I will Insisit on swithover to Convergence approach for balance three years of MDG. In CFS the convergent model can be demonstrated.

Theme 3: To ensure achieving the listed set of objectives put forward by the UN Secretary-General under Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC):

 a. 100% access to adequate food all year round : It needs paradigm shift from 'having access' to 'gaining access'. To explain, the countries with high percentation of reported hunger and malnutrition do have enough food grain stocks, programs, schemes and legistation but it only ensures 'having the access' The challenge is how to we ensure that the target group do 'Gain access' so as to take advantage of the efforts of  concerned Government, UN agencies and NGOs.

b. Zero stunted children less than 2 years old: It is not just a case of Medical Intervention but also need support system for ensuring enhancement in livlihood opportunities and access to systematic health interventions.  

c. All food systems are sustainable: Food systems are sustainable challenge is to ensuer gaining access as explained at point a.

d. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income : This is vital, to prescribe individual model to each beneficiary instead of sweeping schemes. IT is important that extension staff works as MDG doctor to give correct prescribtion for sustainable income.

e. Zero loss or waste of food: It is important to have zero tolerance on food loss and each country be made mandatory to have systems laid for warehousing and transportation to ensur the same. 

 I WOULD LIKE TO OFFER MY SERVICES TO DEVELOP THIS MODEL AS I FEEL PAINED THAT 2015 SHOULD NOT BECOME A RHETORIC AND CORRECT SYSTEMS ARE PUT IN PLACE IN THE COMING THREE YEARS

Dr Aruna Sharma

Development Economist

Senior Government employee with 30years of success experience

From India

Scott Bleggi Bread for the World Institute, United States of America
23-11-2012

Bread for the World Institute’s 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach – Global Development Goals, was recently released. The report argues that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are within reach by 2015. With three years left before the goals are set to expire, now is the time to double down and focus on getting the job done.

In the report we highlight the good news—and there is plenty of it. In 2012, for example, we learned that the MDG poverty target has already been met. We’re not on track to meet the hunger target, but we are closer than we thought we’d be just a couple of years ago. To reach the hunger target, the share of the world’s population that is hungry would have to fall to 11.6 percent. At the current rate, we would expect 12.5 percent to be hungry in 2015.  

The keys to achieving the 2015 targets depend on investments in smallholder agriculture and social protection. Most of the people in the world who are hungry are smallholder farmers. They may grow enough to feed themselves and their family but earn no more than $1.25 per day and in some cases much less. Poverty prevents them from diversifying their diets, investing in their children’s education, taking advantage of health care and other services. By providing smallholders with farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizer, preventing post-harvest losses by building basic storage facilities, or roads that allow them to gain access to a larger market, they can earn the additional income they need to improve their living conditions.

Social protection is another key piece of puzzle that we focus on in the Hunger Report. Social protection is a broad term but it basically means systems of support that allow vulnerable people to manage risks. Poor people are highly vulnerable to risk. No one is more exposed to the risks associated with climate change than a smallholder farmer. When poor families are better able to manage the risks in their life, we find they are more inclined to invest in their children’s development: sending them to school, for example, rather than to the fields.

There is a gender dimension to achieving the MDGs that we also discuss in the report. Women do the majority of farming in poor countries. By supporting smallholder farmers we are supporting women—and their children. We know that when assistance is provided directly to women more of it goes towards improvements that benefit the whole family.

Beyond 2015, the post-MDG agenda should include new development goals. Goal 1, once again, should be focused on hunger and poverty. The Hunger Report calls for the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty within a generation. As recently as a decade ago this may have sounded like a pipe dream. But not any longer. In light of the progress so many countries have made in recent decades, we’d be underestimating our own capacity by shooting for less. We don’t have to spend trillions of dollars or wait for scientific breakthroughs that have eluded us. The tools are already available, but we have to be willing to deploy them. Mostly it depends on a concerted and sustained push by government leaders and civil society organizations working together.

The U.S. government has a role to play in this and we highlight that in the report. U.S. government leadership won’t be the decisive factor in whether we meet the hunger goal by 2015 or eradicate hunger in a generation, but as the most generous donor of development assistance it can set an example for other donors and alert partners in developing countries that we intend to be reliable partners in the realization of these goals.

Todd Post and Scott Bleggi, Bread for the World Institute

Dejo Olowu North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa
23-11-2012

The lessons learnt are that for potential solutions to the food crisis to be realised, flagrant violations of all human rights, including the rights to food must be recognised and prevented, and that participation of all stakeholders – including vulnerable women, youth, indigenous people and other marginalised population groups – in the formulation, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all development planning and programmes results in fairer access to means of production and better dividends for the poor from national economic growth.

Among the key lessons learnt from all available indices is that in a world that is richer than ever before and that already produces more than enough food to feed the global population, we need political solutions, rather than complicated technical solutions to get rid of hunger. The global food crisis has reinforced two issues about the future of agriculture: the first is that a growing world population, higher incomes and changes in diet are pushing up global demand for food faster than farmers can supply it, and the second is that throwing up new barriers to farm trade on this congested planet is not the path to solution. Getting rid of hunger should therefore not only be a question of finding resources and developing new technologies. It is also a question of challenging structural inequities, imbalances in gender relations and other socio-economic inequalities. The overarching premise of my argument is that an integrative rights-based approach is sine qua non to effectively curtail hunger.

23-11-2012

We have to create market opportunities and then it will work itslef out.  

Mohammed Saleh Ali ZAWI & PANITA, United Republic of Tanzania
22-11-2012

The key lessons learnt is that not all planned systems can be implemented as planned due to either time lapse or need to change modalities. In our case, disability issues as well tend to hamper inclusive desires and often exclusive nurtured ways have to be combated or changed in order to have acceptable inclusive rights and opportunities targeted to beneficiaries; often what is desired and what is implemented do not have the same tune, the same time, and more or less those who fight to implement are not those who benefit. Changes take time and actors of change hardly are the real beneficiaries on the same being placed up for change.

MDG are a challenge that is taken up by governments only when they are well versed with the strategy and when actually it is tax payer money being used to build up on the goals with that of the development partners. This is when we realized that MDGs in themselves are a cross cutting issues depending each other for successful turnout. Making Hunger, Nutrition, Poverty, Illiteracy, Malnourishment, Meaningful agriculture rely on Education, Health, Agriculture, Social welfare to reach such goals. However, society and communities do not understand well these unless conformed in their specialized spheres of influence and often governmental channels are not looked with a kind face by the beneficiaries on the ground. These very cross cutting issues are for advanced minds and therefore total participation by all is limited to the many being led by a few giving gaps of corruptive elements taking their show on the same stage that otherwise would not have occurred if the beneficiary were literate enough to know their rights and opportunities within established laws and regulations.

A change of supervision in the programs causes changes that sometimes deter progressive elements and discourage continuance thus making initial investment measures redundant where manpower has to relocate in other spheres or work in other countries. Measurably is hard to pin investment returns as were viable enough nor sustainable as many programs have timelines that are not suitable for sustainability measures to be appreciated fully by all stakeholders. Government systems stag much on developing Management Information Systems MIS that often strategize earlier or later changes especially when financially squeezed or under financed. It is very hearty to note that nutrition efforts responses organizationally if civil society is given chance to be actors of change.

These past two years under the SUN movements guidance in Tanzania A partnership of Civil Organisations has been created to combat malnutrition that is called PANITA Partnership for Nutrition in Tanzania; many people now understand the basic core and what needs to be done easily via those they trust most on the ground, Civil Society and its organizations.

Sachin Kumar Jain Vikas Samvad, India
22-11-2012

Dear Friends,

 

Government of India is in a process of enacting the National Food Security Act, as part of the efforts to eliminate hunger and food insecurity in India. But the main concern is that Government is strongly following a targeted approach; which means: a particular group of people will not be entitled for food security as per law; but a particular group called Primary Households (who are identified as poor) will be given subsidized food grain; where as another group called General Households will get smaller quantity of food grains at relatively higher prices. And rest will be leftout.
Please see the note attached.

 

Sachin Kumar Jain

India

Vishwambhar Prasad Sati Department of Geography and Resource Management, Mizoram ...
21-11-2012

 

Traditional Knowledge based agriculture and food and nutrition security in the Himalayan Region

This note looks into the traditional knowledge based agriculture and its relevance to enhance food and nutrition security in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR). Traditional subsistence agriculture has been practiced in the IHR for the centuries, which carried enough food security and nutrition. There were many ethno-botanical plants – cultivated and wild, used as medicinal plants. Local health care system was dependent on this practice. This system was eco-friendly, obtaining high agro-biodiversity. In due course of time, as population increased tremendously and the impact of global changes fell on the traditional knowledge based cultivation of subsistence agriculture, the farmers of the region were more inclined towards cultivation of cash generating crops and largely for the cultivation of paddy and wheat. The entire shift in the cropping pattern and the reducing number of the farmers, which were engaged in the practice of traditional knowledge based agriculture, mostly on the valley regions and mid altitudes, the traditionally cultivated subsistence crops were no more in use in these areas.

Along with cultivation of paddy and wheat, chemical fertilizers were used largely to increase the production of crops. Until several years, it worked satisfactorily and supplied reasonable amount of food to the inhabitants but, this practice could not remain continue because, soil fertility started declined with increase in uses of chemical fertilizers. Meanwhile, the farmers also started cultivating various types of cash generating crops and fruits in different mountain niches. This practice too, did not earn any progress due to lack of market and transportation facilities.  

Here, it is inevitable to discuss on the availability of cultivable land, upon which the further discussion will rely. The cultivable land in this region is below 12% of the total geographical area. Further, whatever the cultivable land is available; the landscape is steep and fragile and henceforth, soil erosion is high. The scope of extension of farmland on the mountain niche is too little. To feed the vast number of population, the present cultivable land and agricultural practices are not sufficient. Water resources are abundant but at the same time water availability for all purposes is less thus, water scarcity prevails everywhere.

Under such circumstances, what would be the possible measures to enhance food and nutritional security in this region are discussed below:

1.      Agricultural practices are the main stay of the population and any practices other then agriculture and animal husbandry is just impossible because the slope and landscape do not permit to commence them.

2.      Traditional knowledge based agriculture of subsistence crops should be retained for the two reasons: The first reason is its nutrition and medicinal values. Here, traditional subsistence crops can be grown in all climatic conditions and zones without requiring enough irrigation facility. Second, it is ecologically fit and obtains high agro-biodiversity.

3.      About 75% of the geographical land is covered by vegetation where numbers of medicinal plants grow and many other non-timber forest products are found. These forest based products can be utilized largely for food security.

4.      Along with subsistence agriculture, substantial cultivation of cash generating crops should be assured as the agro-climatic conditions in this region is considerably very suitable for cultivating them. This practice will also restore ecology and landscape and will prevent excessive soil erosion.

5.      All above that the policy interventions for harnessing these niche based products more smoothly, are off course is the need of hours. Market facilities for selling medicinal plants and non timber forest products should be assured so that the farmers may enjoy the fruits of their hard work. There are instances when several times, farmers stopped cultivating medicinal plants only owing to non availability of market.

6.      Irrigation is essential for rice and wheat crops, thus, water resource management, either through traditional wisdom or new technology, may enhance food productivity and thus food security.

With summing up, crop diversity is essential for food security in this region. This may be attended while opting the traditional wisdom as well as the current practices of agriculture. 

 

Prof. Vishwambhar Prasad Sati

           

See the attachment: Sati_Food&NutritionSecurity.docx
Mark Smulders FAO, Italy
21-11-2012

Dear FSN Forum participants,

 

In regard to the first theme of this consultation, there is an interesting document produced by the UN Task Team on the post 2015 development agenda with lessons learned from the overall MDG process.  It summarises strengths and weaknesses - and provides useful lessons on how we can go about developing a better development agenda beyond 2015.  It highlights the importance of a bottom-up approach, country-level consultations and the need to consider goals, targets and indicators that reflect continental, even country-level differences. It also recognises the importance of local conditions and the need to take into account the complexity of the development process.

 

These are all good points.  The question is: how can these lessons help us do better in formulating the next longer term (25-year?) development agenda? The report does not say much about hunger, food security and nutrition issues.  Hence, it would be good to hear from those of you working at country and regional levels on what are some of the specific lessons on this topic.

 

For example, to what extent has the hunger target under MDG1 been a useful instrument for achieving food and nutrition security objectives in your country or region?  Are there other, more effective ways, of ensuring food security and nutrition concerns are brought to the top of the policy agenda? And, beyond policies and programmes, what will it take to make a real difference at household - or even individual - level?

 

The full MDG lessons learned report can be found here:

http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/untaskteam_undf/mdg_assessment.pdf

 

Looking forward to a great discussion!

Mark Smulders, FAO/Rome