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

19-11-2012 - 10-01-2013

The discussion is now closed.

See below the contributions received or download the proceedings.
Summary of key themes emerged from the discussion is available here

This is YOUR OPPORTUNITY to contribute to this global debate.

As the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, a number of processes have been put in place to seek inputs from country, regional and global levels, into the “Post-2015 Development Agenda and Framework”.  For more background information click here.

This is your opportunity to help identify the actions, goals, targets and indicators needed to achieve food and nutrition security, and the eradication of hunger, in a post-2015 world.  Many food security and nutrition policies, strategies and action plans have been written over the past number of  years.  Challenges and opportunities towards achieving food and nutrition security in a sustainable way have been identified, and many countries are making good progress.  Nevertheless, close to 870 million people around the world remain undernourished and do not have access to a healthy diet.  It is time for everyone to take urgent action – in a concerted manner – and to elaborate a new development agenda around lasting concerns of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

The outcome of this e-consultation, together with the proposed CFS consultation, will feed into the high level experts consultation to be hosted by the Government of Spain in March 2013.

Ultimately, your contributions will feed into the UN General Assembly discussions beginning September 2013 for the elaboration of an agreed post 2015 global development agenda.

E-Consultation: next four weeks

Over the next four weeks, FAO and WFP will facilitate this e-consultation in drawing on the widest possible group of stakeholders and interested parties on how best to address hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition at all levels, and to seek your inputs on the elaboration of a new agenda for action beyond the current MDG framework.

We also invite you to submit papers, findings, or on-going work on the topic of hunger, food and nutrition security.

We seek your inputs on the following three themes:

Theme 1

(i) 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? 

(ii) What do you consider the main challenges and opportunities towards achieving food and nutrition security in the coming years?

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.  For example, how important are questions of improved governance, rights-based approaches, accountability and political commitment in achieving food and nutrition security? 

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 (, and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition elaborated by the CFS?

Theme 3

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 (ZHC):

  1. 100% access to adequate food all year round
  2. Zero stunted children less than 2 years old
  3. All food systems are sustainable
  4. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income
  5. 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?


Contribution received:

Ann Yarwood United Kingdom

In a week that saw the news that Australia is "suffering" from a "formula shortage'" thanks to bulk buying Chinese consumers who are sending infant formula home after the milk fiasco there, there seems to be an urgent need for mentioning  the importance of BREASTFEEDING (and making the WHO code a more robust tool that protects all mothers and children) in the Millenium Development Goals.  I'd like to add my voice to others who have called for BREASTFEEDING to be included.




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

Key Lessons - Both over nutrition (obesity) and under nutrition (malnutrition) are set during infancy.  Early and exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months fo life followed by complementary (home) foods and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond mitigates both these extremes.  (1) 


Human milk is the most 'secure' food for an infant. Protection of breastfeeding by world wide adherence to both the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (and subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions) ('the Code') and The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding ( 2003) is critical to ensuring that each child can maximize their life potential.     


The attached summary table in the UN SCN Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding Working Group 2004 summarises how intimately essential breastfeeding (human milk) is to achieving the eight MD goals.  Breastfeeding (human milk) protects the life of the child nutritionally and healthwise now and in the future, and protects and provides normal health for the mother. (2)  All of which is a cost saving to both the family and the community. (3) 


(1) Victora C. Nutrition in early life: a global priority. The Lancet 2009; 374(9696):1123-1125.)

(2) Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, et al. Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2007 Apr. (Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 153.) Available from:

(3) Bartick M, Reinhold A. Pediatrics. The burden of suboptimal breastfeeding in the United States: A pediatric cost analysis.  2010 Apr 5. Pediatrics (online) DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-1616


Challenges - The encrochment of industry and commercial self-interests into the governance and decision making around nutrition issues is a challenge.  Blurring of the distinction between the interests of the private sector in public policy making weakens and pushes aside public input.  As is stated by The Conflicts of Interest Coalition " a clear distinction to be made between business-interest not-for-profit organisations (BINGOs) and public interest non-governmental organisations (PINGOs)" in particular with the World Health Organization.  The pressure by industry to get involved in public health decisions must be resisted by governments and governing agencies in order to protect, in particular, breastfeeding.  This is why as above adherence to 'the Code' is crucial.  
What Works Best - An ethical, and  human rights based approach. 
First, the child's right to human milk (4) and second the mother's right to breastfeed.(5)   To quote IBFAN
"Breastfeeding is an integral part of women’s reproductive health and as such, represents a right for  women. However, women can only enjoy the full health benefits of breastfeeding when they receive  accurate information to make an informed choice about infant feeding, are able to exercise their  right to breastfeed without coercion and pressure, and when governments, communities, health  professionals and families protect this right." 
Second, basic principles of ethics.  
Veracity - truthfulness and lack of guilt in stating the RISKS of not breastfeeding to mothers and families preparing for childbirth.  Application of the strictest guidelines to truthfulness in marketing and advertising of foods which can interfere with breastfeeding. i.e 'the Code.'  
Beneficence and non maleficence -protection from harm, doing good and ensuring that in efforts to eradicate hunger and achieve food security the focus of doing good clearly benefits the public and NOT industry. ( i.e Nestle gift to PAWHO, contracts with US municipalities to eradicate obesity.)  
Justice - equality and no discrimination in the meting out of world resources for prevention of malnutrition and insuring as food security, the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding in developing AND developed countries. 
(4) Convention on the Rights of the Child 24.2.e  

(5) Ball O.  Breastmilk is a human right.  Breastfeeding Rev. 2010;18(3):9-19


Initiatives - The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant Resolutions, and The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, if applied worldwide with honest commitment of governments to their people, will ensure reaching the eight goals.  

Nikki Lee Self-employed, United States of America

Breastfeeding promotion, protection and support is a global activity that addresses all 5 components of Theme 3.


Breastfed infants will have virtually 100% access to adequate food all year round. Most women can breastfeed, when their society welcomes and encourages it.


Breastfed children grow appropriately, and healthily.


Breastfeeding is an ecologically sound activity, a sustainable and renewable resource.


Breastfeeding enables smallholders to conserve their resources by reducing fertility and expenditure.


Breastfeeding is only wasted when it is not done. In a shrinking world and facing political and climate unrest, why encourage mothers to throw food away?


Breastfeeding for at least 2 years, with the gradual introduction of iron-rich complementary foods around 6 months is an appropriate objective for every country. This objective has no time limits, and will apply to today's generation and at least seven generations to come.

Key lessons - Under nutrition (malnutrition) and over nutrition (obesity) are programmed mostly during infancy. Prevention of either means ensuring early and exclusive breastfeeding  during the first six months, followed by introduction of complementary foods along with continued  breastfeeding up to two years and beyond.  A growing body of evidence points to the key role of infant and young child feeding practices, especially early and exclusive breastfeeding, in mitigating over and under malnutrition.
Breastfeeding is one of the best preventions for disease later in life for both the child being fed human milk and the mother herself.  Breastfeeding also provides protection for the infant and child from communicable diseases.  In developing nations which lack clean water, access to public healthcare, human milk is not only healthful but can be lifesaving, and in developed countries is shown to provide normal health compared to use of artificial baby milks which results in sub-optimal health.  (1)
 In conclusion, both the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions, and the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding are key directives, that if applied broadly worldwide will accomplish the ideals set out in the health-related Millennium Development Goal (MDG) see attached table summary from this 2004 document.  (2)
(1)Victora C. Nutrition in early life: a global priority. The Lancet 2009; 374(9696):1123-1125.)
(2) Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, et al. Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2007 Apr. (Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 153.) Available from:

Key challenges - the commercialization of food world wide, and the encrochment by commercial food industry interests into the decision making of non-governmental bodies around the world.  To quote Baby Milk Action " Several WHA Resolutions have highlighted these risks and have called for 'governance' in health policy and programme setting to be protected from the undue influence of those who stand to gain financially from decisions.  Insustry involvement at a core strategic level can favour market led response to infant and young child feeding that sidelines the critical role of breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding"... of 'home' foods.  See


What works best. A respect for the rights of the child! It is a child's right to have it's mother's milk. (3)  An approach that respects human rights, and one which incorporates the basic tenets of medical ethics ( after all, over and under nutrition end up being medical problems!); autonomy and veracity (parents getting the truth about the risks of NOT breastfeeding when a choice of feeding is available); beneficence and non-maleficence (acknowlegement without guilt, that NOT receiving human milk for the first six months is harmful), and justice (the same rules for all babies, children, familes and mothers no matter where in the world they live).   


(3) Convention on the Rights of the Child, 24.1.g 

(4) Nygren-Krug, Helena.  A human rights based approach to non-communicable disease.

(5) Ball O.  Breastfeeding is a human right.  Breastfeeding Review. 2010;18(3)9-19

See the attachment: UN SCN BF Comp Food 2004 Table
Lou Pingeot NGO Working Group on Food and Hunger at the United Nations, United States ...

Theme 1: Challenges and Opportunities

In September 2011, the NGO Working Group on Food and Hunger at the United Nations submitted a policy statement to the UN General Assembly, addressing global policy around food and hunger issues, and highlighting the key areas that need attention. While the statement was published in 2011, these issues are relevant and need to be addressed in the post-2015 agenda. The fourteen points raised in the statement were the following:


1. Ecological Approaches to Food Production

2. The false promises of the “New Green Revolution” & Agro-Industrial Ideologies

3. Local Food Production and Food Sovereignty

4. Global Food Governance & the Committee on World Food Security

5. Land Rights and Land-Grabbing

6. Financial Speculation in food commodities markets

7. The impact of biofuels on food availability

8. Water

9. Soil Protection

10. Responsible investment in agriculture

11. Agricultural Families and Agricultural Labor

12. Nutrition & Food Quality

13. Other Issues (use of pesticides, ‘western’ diets, biodiversity, over-fishing etc.)

14. Food Enough for All Please find the full statement as an attachment.


The NGO Working Group on Food & Hunger was founded in December 2008 to coordinate NGO advocacy at the United Nations in New York on issues of hunger, malnutrition, agriculture and food production, and related matters. Spurred by the food crisis of 2008, the Working Group promotes better understanding and more effective action on these issues at UN headquarters. The Working Group brings together a number of NGO participants in New York, as well as corresponding participants from other worldwide locations. The Working Group maintains contact with civil society work at the Committee on Food Security in Rome.

For more information about the Working Group, please visit

Lou Pingeot

Program Coordinator

Global Policy Forum

777 UN Plaza, 3D

New York, NY 10017

+1 212 557 3161

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett United States of America

Please include breastfeeding as part of your Millenium Goals to reduce child mortality. Both UNICEF and WHO recognize that breastfeeding substantially lowers the rate of diseases that kill children. Including breastfeeding in the revised MDGs would do much to help breastfeeding advocates around the world put breastfeeding on local, state, and national agendas.


Thank you for your consideration.

Kathleen Kurz DAI, United States of America

Theme 1. Key lessons MDGs 2000-2015


Stunting among children under 5 years (height/age) is a good indicator for malnutrition, and reflects as well changes in poverty and hunger. Importantly, it also portends the strength of the human capital developing for the next generation of a country’s leadership and workforce. Stunting assesses the accumulated effects of negative factors on children’s nutritional status, and as such it needs to be accompanied by indicators of the factors determining it:  1) dietary diversity and adequacy; 2) behaviors such as breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and keeping the family’s environment hygienic to prevent illness; and 3) adequacy of health services to treat the most prevalent childhood diseases compromising nutritional status -- diarrhea, respiratory infections, and malaria.


The process for achieving the MDGs requires more time, though much progress has been made. Food-based agricultural approaches for improving nutrition in particular requires time for the two disciplines to understand each other’s language, find commonality in approaches, objectives and indicators, and learn how to improve nutrition through the food families consume from own production or purchase.


Theme 2. What works best and is governance important?


Governance, including accountability and political commitment are exceedingly important for providing a strong country platform by which lasting reductions in poverty, hunger and malnutrition can be achieved.


Theme 3. Zero Hunger Challenge


The ZHC is a welcome proposal from the UN Secretary-General and a valuable rallying call. To chart success toward zero hunger, a set of sub-objectives with indicators, interim targets, and time limits would also be valuable.

Peter Schmitd HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Switzerland

Thanks for providing the opportunity to contribute to this consultation. Please find below some thoughts related to theme 3.


HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is one of the oldest and largest Swiss development NGOs presently engaged in 32 countries. The main primary stakeholders of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation are rural poor in developing countries, hence those people most affected by food insecurity. In several of our projects, the improvement of food security in rural areas is an explicit and inherent part of the intervention strategy. Moreover, the majority of projects have direct or indirect implications on the food security situation of rural livelihoods. Therefore the topic of food security has always been and will continue to be a fundamental topic for the organisation both at the level of project implementation and advocacy work.


We are thankful to FAO and its partners for launching this discussion about a post 2015 development agenda related to hunger, food and nutrition security. The wealth of contributions to this discussion provides a substantial input to develop a “Post-2015 Development Agenda and Framework”. We would like to contribute few thoughts on theme three, namely the set of objectives that has been put forward by the UN Secretary-General under the Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC):


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.


We would like to congratulate the UN Secretary General for this initiative and the importance given to the theme of hunger and nutrition. We are impressed by the clarity of the message and its comprehensiveness in a very condensed form.

However, if the Zero Hunger Challenge shall serve as a starting point for the formulation of a post 2015 development framework we believe that certain aspects deserve more precise definition or additional attention.


1. General observation: “The right to food” should form the basis for a future development agenda in this theme. It therefore deserves to be mentioned and referred to explicitly. Even if the goal is “Zero Hunger” we believe that in order to reach this goal it needs particular attention and affirmative action directed at the most disadvantaged. Often women are among the most disadvantaged. It is not enough just to list them (as done in “100% increase in small holder productivity”). The disadvantaged groups need to be identified in each particular context and specifically targeted interventions need to be designed and undertaken. The focus on food and nutrition excludes the problem of loss and degradation of natural resources and the competition for fertile land and water by non-food crops, in particular for agro-fuel.


2. 100% access to adequate food all year round. The FAO food security concept rightly builds on the four pillars “availability, access, utilisation and stability”. It seems to us that aspects of “food utilisation” are in the “Zero Hunger Challenge” somewhat concentrated in the thrust “Zero stunted children less than 2 years old.” Particularly the access to save drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has to go side by side with the access to food for all other population groups, too.


3. All food systems are sustainable We highly appreciate the importance given to sustainability. We however expect a stiff debate on what is called “sustainable”. We would like to stress the equal importance of the three dimensions (social, ecological and economic) of sustainability. Minimal requirements for a sustainable agriculture could be further defined, e.g. using the principles of LEISA (Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture) or organic agriculture.


The aspect of energy consumption in food production is worth to be actively addressed, too.


Similarly we support the mentioning of “responsible governance of land, fisheries and forests” but fear that there will be divergent definitions of what is called “responsible”.


4. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income The mentioning of “improving land tenure” is in our view a too weak formulation. Smallholder productivity will only increase if farmers can rely on secure and legally protected property rights in the long run and have access to other productive resources and services. What is needed is a secured / legally protected access to productive resources (land, water, seeds, forests, bio-diversity, fisheries) and a secured access to assets (financial and non financial services, information, and knowledge).


5. Zero loss or waste of food We highly appreciate the inclusion of this aspect. Food losses, energy consumption and green house gas emissions increase with the transport of food. We therefore suggest to highlight here the promotion of short value chains to local and regional markets. Labelling alone is not sufficient.


Labels need to be trustworthy and therefore need to be supported by adequate certification schemes (e.g. participatory guarantee schemes).


We again would like to thank for the opportunity to contribute to this consultation.


Yours sincerely


HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation


Peter Schmidt

Co-head Advisory Services

Zürich, January 9th, 2013

Ronald Vargas FAO-Global Soil Partnership, Italy

I will refer now to a field that is continuously forgotten when referring to the main challenges towards achieving food security.


Sustainable management of soils has not been soundly addressed by any of the MDGs and nor by food security strategies and actions.


When looking at pillar 1 of food security referred to availability and considering the challenges of population growth, it is estimated that food production should be increased by 60%. Yet, soil degradation has been a very active process in most of the developing regions. Healthy soils are crucial for producing healthy and nutritious food, still because it is everywhere, we tend to overlook the fact that soil is a limited natural resource. Therefore, if we want to properly deal with the challenges of food security ahead, we should develop an integrated approach towards sustainable development and not only focus in some components of the system.


Definitely, the sustainable management of soils should be considered as one target  or component of the post 2015 sustainable development goals and of the zero hunger challenge.