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:

Parvez Babul Bangladesh

Poverty, hunger and malnutrition of women and children

Experts have recognized that most of the poor of this world are women. We know that healthy and happy women make their families happy. But if women suffer from poverty, hunger and malnutrition — how will they make their families happy? Rather those women are treated as the burden of families. Those malnourished women give birth of low-weight children who also suffer from malnutrition. As a result, both the mothers and children have to fight for living.

Those malnourished, sick women are unable to perform all the household jobs; and cannot do extra jobs outside of their households. As they are poor, so they cannot arrange nutritious food, and do not get necessary treatment. As a result, want of food is the companion of daily lives of those women. It causes family feud as a regular basis. They cannot take care of their beloved children properly. Day by day the bad luck of those women and children turns into worst. The husbands are reluctant to keep their wives, some divorce, and some demand extra money as dowry. Those women cannot provide dowry their families break up. Even they cannot take legal action against their husbands, because the poverty makes them helpless to do so! Then the abandoned women and children take shelter in the streets.

These are the bitter reality of the poor, hungry, malnourished women and children of Bangladesh as well as the poor countries in South Asia. In fact, poverty, hunger, food insecurity, illiteracy, disempowerment, lack of health and nutrition education, less participation in decision- making, negative impact of climate change, early marriage, gender inequality and inequity, familial and social taboos attack those women so greatly like octopus that they cannot exit from these common vicious cycle.

To prevent these problems and to solve the existing unacceptable but preventable situation, the governments, donors, NGOs, civil society organisations, women and children rights activists, development partners, development workers, international and national forums need to take holistic approaches. Long term plan of activities is a must. Certainly more research on these issues is the need and demand of the time. The findings of research/ studies should be directed to promote capacity-building and technology transfer to the public and private sectors.

IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute) pointed out in its Global Hunger Index 2012, “Women’s low status in South Asia contributes to children’s poor nutritional outcomes in the region because children’s development and mothers’ well-being are closely linked. Women’s poor nutritional status, low education, and low social status undermine their ability to give birth to well-nourished babies and to adequately feed and care for their children.”

Good nutrition is the key to sustainable economic growth. And social protection is crucial for accelerating hunger reduction. To accelerate hunger reduction, economic growth needs to be accompanied by purposeful and decisive public policies. An improved governance system, based on transparency, participation, accountability, rule of law and human rights, is essential for the effectiveness of such policies.

World Development Report 2013 of the World Bank mentioned, “Many millions more, most of them women, find themselves shut out of the labour force altogether. Looking forward, over the next 15 years an additional 600 million new jobs will be needed to absorb burgeoning working-age populations, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Too often, they are not earning enough to secure a better future for themselves and their children, and at times they are working in unsafe conditions and without the protection of their basic rights. Together, nutrition, health, and education form human skills and abilities that have been powerfully linked to productivity growth and poverty reduction in the medium to longer run. Also, better health brings, directly, higher labour productivity.

Considering the problems — poverty, hunger and malnutrition of the poor women, and children and the poor people as well, I found that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 01: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; 03: Promote gender equality and empower women; 04: reducing child mortality; and 05: improve maternal health — are interlinked. According to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report of 2012, “The goal of gender equality remains unfulfilled, with broad negative consequences, given that achieving the MDGs depends so much on women’s empowerment and equal access by women to education, work, health care and decision-making.” So, let us come forward to turn these challenges ahead into opportunities. We believe that together we can make a change. Therefore, feed the hunger to reduce their anger and to prevent unrest. Because hungry people are angry people.

Parvez Babul
Journalist, columnist and author


Fatima Rodrigo International Presentation Association , United States of America

Good practice on Participatory approach to Food security and Nutrition and alleviating hunger
The article, From Food Security to Food Justice by Ananya Mukherjee, Professor and Chair of Political Science at York University, Toronto,  illustrates a good practice  on food and nutrition security, in the State of Kerala, India, that enables people-living-in-poverty to exercise their rights and responsibilities in improving the quality of life for women and their families
In this article, Ananya tells the story of the research on an experiment, SanghaKrishi (group-farming), a part of Kerala State Government’s anti-poverty programme, Kudumbashree (prosperity of the family) initiated in experiment was seen as a means to enhance local food production. As many as 44,225 collectives of women farmers lease fallow land, rejuvenate it, farm it and then sell the produce or use it for consumption.
Kudumbashree is a network of 4 million women mostly below poverty line. Kudumbashree is not merely a ‘project’ or a ‘programme’ but a social space where marginalized women can collectively pursue their needs and aspirations. The primary unit of Kudumbashree is the Neighbourhood Group (NHG). NHGs, consisting of not more than 20 women, are for an overwhelming majority their first ever space outside home. NHGs are federated into Area Development Societies (ADSs), and these are in turn federated into Community Development Societies (CDSs) at the panchayat (local governance) level. Today, there are 213,000 NHGs in Kerala. Kudumbashree office-bearers are elected.  A crucial process for its members, these elections help to bring women into politics. And they bring with them a different set of values that can change the face of politics.
The NHG is very different from a self-help group (SHG) in that it is structurally linked to the State (through the institution of local self-government). This ensures that local development reflects the needs and aspirations of communities who are not reduced to be mere “executors” of government programs. What is sought is synergy between democratization and poverty reduction, and this occurs here through the mobilization of poor women’s leadership and solidarity.
This experiment is transforming the socio-political space that women inhabit, and results in three major consequences: First, there is a palpable shift in the role of women in Kerala’s agriculture. Thousands of Kudumbashree women - hitherto underpaid agricultural laborers - have abandoned wage work to become independent producers. Many others combine wage works with farming. Second, it has enabled women, in particular women from the marginalized communities, to salvage their dignity and livelihoods amidst immense adversity. The survey of 100 collectives across 14 districts found that 15 per cent of the farmers were Dalits and Adivasis and 32 per cent came from the minority communities. Third, it is producing important consequences for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Kerala. Given Kerala’s high wages for men, MGNREGS in Kerala has become predominantly a space for women (93 percent of the employment generated has gone to women whereas the national average is 50). One of them said, “We have created life… and food, which gives life, not just 100 days of manual labour.”
The above excerpt from the article, From Food Security to Food Justice, underscores the following:

  • •    Participatory forums at the neighbourhood level, small enough for people living in poverty to come together to have an ongoing say in decisions that affect their lives, ensure inclusion and are productive
  • •    Neighbourhood level participatory forums, when federated at various levels, result in collective participation at wider levels resulting in good governance
  • •    Government programmes, when implemented in partnership with people at local level through such federations of neighbourhood forums, result in people-centered development.
  • •    The existing forums for participation - in India, parliamentary constituencies, State legislative assembly constituencies and gram sabhas (local governance assemblies) - are not adequate for engaging people-living-in-poverty to have an ongoing effective say in decisions that affect their lives

Bottom-up, inclusive and accountable governance
The key issue in Good practice on Participatory approach to Food security and Nutrition and alleviating hunger  is one of governance.
The UN SG’s High level Panel on Global Sustainability too noted that “Democratic governance and full respect for human rights are prerequisites for empowering people to make sustainable choices.”
The Report of the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives too has called for “a change in the tone of multilateral governance from one that prescribes solutions and then institutes legal and financial frameworks to implement them or ensure compliance, to one that protects bottom-up governance.”
Bottom-up governance not only refers to the directions of influence from the local to the global. It also calls for more governance space and implementation to be retained at local and sub-national levels. It is to enable, for instance, small farmers and peasant communities to exercise their rights in retaining their seeds, growing nutritious foods without genetically modified organisms, and accessing medicines without paying unaffordable prices set by transnational companies and protected by intellectual property rights.
Bottom-up democratic governance requires not only the strengthening of civil society in governance skill but also a re-focusing and re-structuring of governance institutions and the overcoming of governance gaps at national and global levels.
 Hence we urge that the Post 2015 global development agenda reflect the following:

  • •    Consider  Planning-by-People Processes such as that of Kudumbashree to ensure participation of people-living-in-poverty in decisions that affect their lives
  • •    create enabling environments for the realization of the right to participate which is already enshrined in the international instruments
  • •    re-focus and restructure governance institutions to overcome related governance gaps at local, national and global levels.
  • Contribution made the by International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
Andrea Martínez Argentina

Saludo cordialmente a todas las personas de estas diferentes organizaciones como la FAO y PMA que hacen de su trabajo la lucha por un mundo mejor y sin personas que sufran uno de los peores males existentes tal como es el hambre. Asi mismo agradezco los esfuerzos que realizan. Abordando la temática número 2 propuesta, creo fundamental que la ONU y demás organizaciones internacionales comprometan a todos sus países involucrados (y tambien a los que están fuera de ellas) por medio de los gobiernos y las economía a realizar un desarrollo sustentable de la producción característica de cada región, una distribución equitativa del mismo y un porcentaje obligatorio a donar por mes a FAO (el porcentaje de cada país dependiendo de sus posibilidades de producción) a una reserva común a fin de ser distribuido a las zonas mas perjudicadas de todo el mundo. Asi mismo considero muy importante imponer con la colaboración de otras organizaciones internacionales medidas de intercambio económico que impidan el flujo de mercado de armas de manera tal de reducir el conflicto armado que tanto daño hace a la humanidad y entre uno de sus aspectos a la alimentación de las personas. Tambien considero muy viables la implantación de energías renovables de las que todos conocemos sus beneficios en zonas de riesgo de manera tal de lograr un abastecimiento mas sostenido en el tiempo y en posibilidades. Por ejemplo tal es el caso de agua y electricidad. Esto puede ser logrado a partir de un esfuerzo conjunto con organismos como Greenpeace y demás. Doy las gracias nuevamente por darme la posibilidad de realizar esta contribución y espero sinceramente pueda ser leída y tenida en cuenta. Muchas gracias.

Ernest Udeze GYPAM(Global Youth Plan Against Malaria, HIV/AIDs) , Nigeria

The issue of food security cannot be handled as a single entity. Borrowing a leaf from Africa, Nigeria is a case study: greater population of the masses suffer abject hunger occasioned by unemployment, bad government, natural disasters, crisis, terrorism etc just to be precise, and all this adversely affect the actualization of the MDGs. In Africa, where people are more prone to famine and starvation, people result in eating just anything to cushion the debilitating effect of hunger, lots of malnourished people litter many streets in several African countries.

In my many years social work in tropical Africa on malaria, I discovered that more people are more susceptible to malaria attack due to poor feeding situations and people rarely develop to full stature due to poor feeding. It is quite appalling that even in the presence of vast arable land in tropical Africa, Agricultural practices still suffer due to lack of support from Various African government and other Development partners. I so much believe that if grand mechanized farming is introduced in Africa, the issue of global food security will be achieved.

Maria del Pilar Valledor University Rey Juan Carlos, Spain

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am working on a thesis on the legal protection of the right to adequate food in Spain. I found this issue very interesting because almost nothing has been written about hunger in developed countries. Unfortunately, some European countries have seen their poverty rates dramatically increased due to the current economic crisis. Spain, with the highest unemployment rate in the whole European Union, is a good example. 

I am concious that, in comparison with the situation of other countries, the European nations have more resources, but the figures are there and the situation won't get better in the short term. 

In conclusion, I propose to draw attention to the situation of some developed countries in order to make the corresponding goverments to consider the social impact of the economic measures they are currently adopting (cutting social benefits, pensions, etc.)

Thank you very much,

Pilar Valledor

Victor Howard Liberia EFA Technical Committee LETCOm INC, Liberia

I think the issue of food security in Africa has been driven from the point of focus because now a days African farmers are no longer producting foods to sustain their nations, but now food is being produces just for weekly meals making it difficult to sustain generations however, this can only be achieved if we can start to teach people how to farm for future and donors aids should also be able to support these proceses to encourage continuaty.

Miguel Velez Honduras
Nadie discute la necesidad de una campaña “Cero hambre”. El problema está en los detalles: Que y como producir y cuales son las consecuencias de la decisión. Insistimos - al menos algunos - que la tierra está llegando a su límite en cuanto a su capacidad de sostenernos (ya lo advirtió e el Club de Roma en 1972). Y que hacemos? Más de lo mismo. Tenemos que hacer y a responder preguntas incómodas. Pero dejamos la investigación, que es la encargada de hacerlo, a la industria, que lógicamente tiene su agenda propia.
Basta con ver un mapa sobre la erosión (p. ej.:, o más fácil, con ver el color de nuestros ríos después de una lluvia. La FAO recomienda una pérdida máxima de 1.8 t de suelo/ha/año, en el 2010 el USDA dice que se perdieron 9.75 en el cinturón del maíz y que la pérdida es sostenible. Quien tiene la razón? En Centroamérica relegamos la producción de alimentos básicos a laderas donde la erosión es tremenda (en El Salvador unas 40 t/ha/año según el MAG) y producimos los postres en los mejores suelos planos; en Puerto Rico la erosión en un suelo con 40% de pendiente con caña quemada fue de 9 t/ha/año y dejando la hoja como mulch de 2 t. Que valor tiene el suelo perdido y cómo incluirlo en el precio del etanol o del grano o del ensilaje? Cuanta energía hay en un melón, en un banano o en una manzana? Cuanta energía se gasta en producirla y llevarla a un consumidor al otro lado del globo? Estará el costo ambiental incluido en su precio?
Seleccionamos vacas que son verdaderas farmacodependientes: hormonas en lugar de alimento para que ciclen, desparasitantes en lugar de resistencia genética con incalculables consecuencias para la fauna del suelo por sus residuos en las heces, etc. La eficiencia de la producción de energía con ensilaje de maíz o con caña de azúcar para forraje no debe ser muy diferente a la eficiencia para la producción de etanol de 1:2 y 1:8, respectivamente (en el primero se incluye el valor alimenticio de los DDG y en el segundo la energía en el bagazo quemado). Cuantas publicaciones científicas aparecen en nuestro medio sobre el uso de uno y otro?
Sería una lástima que este foro se quedara en un análisis de principios como muchos anteriores.
John Kurien International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, India

Dear Moderator


Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security - The Role of Fish and Fisheries


The discussions, debates and policy making process with regard to food security around the world are largely centred on cereals, pulses and meats. Food policy is largely terrestrial oriented. This is primarily due to the fact that they account for the larger source of calories needed for daily human consumption. Little is said about fish – even in countries where fish is central to people’s diets, irrespective of their income levels and social status. This is unfortunate to say the least. The pivotal role which fish can play in direct food security is not adequately recognised. Just as fish is not directly visible to fishers as it lives and grows, it also seems to be only on the periphery of policy makers’ concerns. Often it is even a ‘policy blind spot’!


In the context of hunger -- and obesity -- the role of fish as a wholesome and inexpensive food source for achieving food security merits serious consideration. 


Humans cannot live by fish alone. But today there is growing evidence that small quantities of fish in human diets can make the crucial differences in early brain development; help development of bone and muscle tissue; ensure that blindness is prevented; prevent heart attacks and cancer and also mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS. Fish certainly contributes to nutritional security.


Where there are aquatic resources, there fish can be found naturally.  Fish can also be easily cultured in different aquatic milieu. In rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, floodplains, coastal waters and the open sea – fish and other edible aquatic organisms and plants are in plentiful supply.


Most developing countries are blessed with a large share of such aquatic resources making the potential for development of fisheries a natural choice. With small, dedicated and ‘quality-investments’ of time and money, the returns in the form of fish can be substantial. Thus, contrary to popular notions, the potential for harvesting and growing fish and making a direct contribution to increasing food supply, decreasing hunger and contributing to food security is considerable.


In this context, it is important to highlight that fish is not a homogenous product. Species diversity, and consequently physical form, is vast and manifold.  However, the common feature of all fish species pertain to their relatively similar nutritional quality – i.e. the percentage of protein, fats, minerals, vitamins which one can obtain from a unit quantity of fish.


Therefore, if the concern is with fulfilling nutritional needs of the hungry, then an undue pre-occupation with ‘white flesh’ fish or species such as shrimp needs to be replaced with active publicity for more ‘small, skinny, oily’ species. These fish can be eaten whole or mixed with the staples such as rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, cassava and banana.


There are also indirect ways of achieving food security by the creation of employment and income earning possibilities in fishery related activities. When people have creative work opportunities and adequate income, they are in a position to make informed choices about their food.


In many developing countries the possibilities for raising the employment-intensity in fisheries is high. In several countries there are many small and medium sized water bodies into which fish can be introduced – if it has not already been done. If people in the rural areas are provided the training, appropriate fishing equipment, or credit to buy them, they can undertake fishing and earn a livelihood.


Global estimates suggest that for every job in the harvesting of fish, there are three or four created in the upstream activities of processing and marketing. For example, in many sub-Saharan countries, where hunger  and food insecurity abound, just a minimal improvement in the road infrastructure and provision of labour intensive or animal drawn transportation vehicles (cycles, carts etc.) will vastly improve the scope for operating a distribution network for fish into the neighbouring hinterlands. The same can also be said about processing methods like drying and smoking which are favoured by poorer African consumers. Such choices provide jobs for hundreds and fish at affordable prices for thousands.  


Though the potentials are vast, the concrete reality of fish in many developing countries today leaves much to be desired. In many countries, the crisis of the economy and the need for quick foreign exchange has resulted in fish exports becoming an easy way to earn foreign exchange. The domestic supply shortages have resulted in a market situation which ‘priced-out the poor’.  Some of the highest rates of malnutrition, particularly among children and mothers, have been reported from countries which export fish. Examples abound from Latin America, Africa and South Asia.  Policies to ensure that the compulsions of international trade do not create domestic hunger must be enacted.


So, wherever and whenever there is a discussion on hunger, food and food security we need to check out to see that the rightful role of fish is included.


John Kurien

Member, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

Triatno Yudo Harjoko Gotty Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia

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. 


Combined issues are population, poverty and local knowledge/technology. I do not want to give examples or lesson learned, because these are an enigmatic issues that compound socio-cultura-political isses. In order the poor to be able to eat (have jobs) people should be empowered in socio-economi-political aspects.


Population - how to control population growth, how to provide knowledge and skills to the low income? Unless there is a goodwill and political justice there will be no improvement. understanding local knowledge and issues are paramountly more important than simply asking. It must relate to the people's culture.  What education should relevant to certain type of community? This is not at all a charity endeavor. How we boost moral and confidence to the poor to rely on themselves based on their norms and values, while the political authorities support the need of the common? Are the people constituted by a duality of society (modern/capitalist versus traditional/bazaar)? If they are, does the respective 'society' enjoy equal share in terms resources including life cycle space (urban or rural)?


Poverty - where is the locus of the poverty cycle or trap? Urban and/or rural? What are the opportunities for poor to get access for education and jobs? What is the government strategy to alleviate or reduce it? What the government has done that really affect the poor? In a very micro aspect the poor demand equal shares for space to participate in economic and political engagement. The poor should have equal access to urban services (including transport) and 'business activities'.


Local Knowledge and Technology - we have explore people's knowledge as well as technology they have (emic approach). How we enhance, improve what the people already have? Do not dictate them with an alien knowledge and technology. Cases have shown this impositon will not sustain since they lack of knowledge as well skills to maintain.


In short, knowing yourself to overcome problems and get the most suitable solutions.

Elvis Njabe Denmark

Dear Moderator,


Cultural difference is itself a global challenge in an integrated society. This challenge is overcome with the unique global agenda on humanitarian issues such as food security and hunger. So far, great work is done already in the flight against hunger and food security but more is still needed to be done especially in area suffering from these crises like in most parts of Africa and Asia.


Looking at policies both at international and national levels, are so far good but implementation, monitoring and evaluation sectors especially in regional level in areas mostly affected by hunger still a big challenge.


Secondly, international agricultural researchers need to pass on leadership skills to locals by training and working side by side with local groups especially in rural areas. Most areas still find themselves in situation when political leader coordinate agricultural sector. There is a great need for a well skilled and devoted leadership; these challenges still stand as blocks to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to relevant hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. Working together, we can make the world a better place.


Elvis NJABE.