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:

Nestor Ngouambe MINADER, Cameroon

[English version]


Small scale farmers fed the world.


In Cameroon, about 90% of food production is made by small farmers with less than one hectare of land surface cultivation. the production goals of those farmer is based on subsidence just a little surplus is sold.


Since 2008, Cameroon launched a new vision of development based on growth and employment. according to this goals, Cameron have a be considered as emergent country by 2035 year. and agriculture is considered as corner stone leading to achieve this goals. so Ministry of agriculture and rural development aims to move from small scale agriculture to enterprise agriculture.


In this context, I am asking that what sustainability of small scale farmer whose are still ensuring 90% of food production? Those categories of farmer are there ready to manage their farm like agricultural enterprise? there will be still able to continue feeding Cameroonian? will they easily access to land in other to mechanized their activities in this context where foreign investor have privileges on local farmer?


Based on this question, i am afraid on the increasing level of food insecurity. we have to improved the capacity of small scale farmer, give to then more input to increase their yield to their small land cultivation. by doing so and according to the fact that they actually ensure 90% of food production, they will be able to feed all Cameroonian by producing 100% of food.


[French version]


Transformation agricole et sécurité alimentaire.


dans un contexte de mondialisation et surtout du changement climatique où les pertes post récoltes vont grandissantes, la transformation agricole s'avère être incontournable pour la sécurité alimentaire dans le monde.


les techniques de transformation artisanales des produits alimentaires sont progressivement maîtrisé par les petits producteurs notamment les femmes. mais au vu de la forte demande, il est important de passer au stade de la transformation semi industrielle de ces aliments.


Au Cameroun les femmes et les jeunes sont très engagées dans la transformation des racines et tubercules précisément le manioc. le manioc est une racine qui se concerne au maximum 72 heures après sa récolte. cependant c'est l'une des racines les plus consonnés au Cameroun après les céréales. les femmes s'active à le transformé en Fufu, farine de manioc, gari, bâton de manioc, et plus récemment en pâtisserie alimentaire (gâteau, pain, pâtte alimentaire). Le groupe d'initiative Commune dénommé " Sécurité Alimentaire du Cameroun- SAC" est un exemple d'initiative à soutenir pour la sécurité alimentaire. ces jeunes dynamiques transforment le manioc en divers produits dont le jus de tapoica, patte alimentaire... et contribue à la réduction des pertes post récoltes et à la sécurité alimentaire des populations. malgré ces efforts, une sensibilisation des populations est importante afin qu'elle puisse se familiariser à la consommation des produits transformés localement. aussi un accent doit être mis sur la sécurité sanitaire des aliments.


c'est pour ainsi dire que la transformation des produits agricole joue un rôle clé dans la sécurité alimentaire des populations. et un accent particulier doit être tourné vers ce secteurs productif.

Alade Adeleke Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Nigeria

1. So many factors prevent the insulation of the poor from hunger, food insecurity and mal-nutirtion. Appraoch to achieving MDGs should strive to address these factors when seeking solutions for a better future. While the focus on food production is good, there is the need to broaden attention on sfaeguards that dissalows waste, secure efficient natural resource management in favour of sustainable production of food and efforts on energy in support of food based agriculture. 


Most stand alone MDG thematic areas are highly connected to Hunger, Nutrition and Food Security. Good examples are Energy, Management to and Access to Water Resources, Environmental Sustainability and Natura Resources and the issue Governance.


Efficiency in provision and management of energy in sustainable ways will help promote production, food storage and bio-technology applications. But energy provision and management have suffered stebacks in the face of poor governance, poor leadership and in some cases ineqality in resource allocation and prioritisation  to favour the poor and the needy.


2. Investment in research and development to support wild crops is paramount.  Materials in the wild have been a great source of food and fibre for poor households in the last Millenium and have degraded heavilly in the past fifty years as the world natural resource becomes more depleted. Promotion of food biodiversity most particularly through flora and fauna conservation provides great support for other sources of food through traditional and modern farming techniques. Emphasis on food from the wild is needed as an integral part of planning for fight against hunger in the coming years. 


Promotion of crop varities of local origins and sometimes local hybrids will only help broaden the world food sources. Over globalisation of the most popular strains of food is good for trade and boost in pridcution but broadening local sources of food materials will help the world poor to be insulated against hunger in the events of eventualities such as large scale flooding, sea level rises, and some other natural disasters that may impact on mass food production anyhow and anytime.

Ed Werna (PhD) ILO, Switzerland

on food security - from an urban labour perspective

The discussion on food security is very interesting and important. From the point-of-view of urban labour, I see two angles:

- First, the production side: how to combine improvements in food production and urban employment. This links to the discussion on urban agriculture. Food processing would also come into the picture. Proper training of workers and entrepreneurs and improvements in working conditions along the food value chain would add value to food production. And increase in food production creates jobs.

- Second, the consumption side: many urban workers are food insecure themselves. And this is not always or necessarily a case of lack of food availability in the cities where they live. Many cities have enough food supply, and still a number of workers cannot buy it, due to lack of income. This leads to policies to generate employment and/or social protection (cash transfers).

For information on the work of ILO's Sectoral Activities Dept. on food



Deux sujets demandent de l'attention à mon avis, avec des répercussions importantes et efficaces sur les populations :

1/ Favoriser l'allaitement maternel exclusif puis en complément d'aliments comme conseillé par l'OMS. Ce qui suppose :
- former des personnes compétentes en allaitement maternel pour former les populations en général (faire disparaitre les idées reçues contraires à une bonne pratique de l'allaitement) et pour aider et soutenir les mères en difficulté (chez elle comme à l'hopital).
- fortement réglementer les interventions des entreprises vendant des préparations pour nourisson ainsi que biberon et sucette. Bref, suivre le Code de Commercialisation des Substituts du lait maternel.
- en cas de problème dans un pays, plutôt que de donner gratuitement des boites de lait artificiel ou de la bouillie pour les bambins aux familles, aider plutôt les mères à allaiter ou à relancer leur production lactée pour subvenir aux besoins de leurs enfants.

Bref, tout existe, mais faudrait-il encore suivre les recommandations et le Code...

2/ Favoriser l'agro-écologie pour permettre aux populations locales de produire leur alimentation localement, de manière saine et sans être dépendant des industries (sans intrants ni pesticides, ni OGM). Et protéger la vente de ces cultures des importations massives à bas prix provenant d'autres pays.


Michael Appleby World Society for the Protection of Animals, United Kingdom

These comments are from the World Society for Protection of Animals.

Theme 1: Key lessons from the current MDG relevant to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, and challenges towards achieving food and nutrition security in coming years.

A major factor in the failure to prevent hunger and to achieve food and nutrition security to date has been the lack of coordination and balance between animal and plant food production on a local, national and international scale. Access to small quantities of animal protein is important for the nutrition of malnourished people. However, too often livestock production has been increased and intensified inappropriately, producing meat and milk only affordable by people of higher income, undercutting small scale farmers, and using resources inefficiently compared to food crops. The challenge is in achieving governance – for example by appropriate economic, policy and institutional support – to readdress this balance.

Theme 2: How to address hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition challenges, including drawing upon current initiatives.

To prevent hunger and to obtain food and nutrition security it is vital to achieve sustainability, which means the best balance possible between environmental, economic and social goals. Social goals include both proper food for all people – as emphasised in current initiatives such as the Zero Hunger Challenge – and proper care of livestock. As the FAO has identified, a billion of the world’s poorest people depend on animals for food, income, social status or cultural identification, as well as companionship and security. Furthermore, protection of farm animal welfare can identify benefits for environmental and economic, as well as social aspects of sustainability. The importance of protecting livestock and their environments was stressed by the Rio+20 outcome document:

111. We reaffirm the necessity to promote, enhance and support more sustainable agriculture, including crops [and] livestock ... We also recognize the need to maintain natural ecological processes that support food production systems.

112. We stress the need to enhance sustainable livestock production systems, including through improving pasture land … recognizing that the livelihoods of farmers including pastoralists and the health of livestock are intertwined.

The outcome document also made it clear that the Committee on World Food Security should play an important role in this respect by facilitating country-initiated, multi-stakeholder assessments on sustainable food production and food security. The urgency of an ecological approach was additionally underlined by another initiative, the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development.

Theme 3: Zero Hunger Challenge objectives.

a. 100% access to adequate food all year round

This requires management of both production and consumption, including increased consumption of animal products in some countries (and sectors of the population within countries) and decreased consumption in others.

b. Zero stunted children less than 2 years old

This will be helped by access to some food from animals for malnourished children lacking micronutrients. Current practices including intensification of livestock production are often aimed more at supplying (and profiting from) high-income populations and have hindered rather than helped nutrition of poorer populations, both rural and urban.

c. All food systems are sustainable

As outlined above, this requires an appropriate balance between animal and plant food production, combined with proper care for livestock health and welfare.

d. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income

In some cases this needs economic support for smallholders, either direct (for example by providing advisory and support structures), or indirect (for example by protecting them from unfair competition from larger urban- or foreign-based companies). Means to effect such an increase could include the transfer of existing technologies from developed to developing countries, enhanced emphasis on developing high productivity technologies for smallholder use, and increased market access for smallholders. Furthermore, enhanced animal welfare will result in enhanced animal health and productivity.

e. Zero loss or waste of food.

Reduction of post-harvest waste is urgent. So too is reduction of inefficiency and waste in production processes. Such inefficiency and waste include feeding of poor-quality feed to livestock, and use of feed such as grain for animals that could instead be used directly for human food. Both practices often also cause problems for animal welfare.

Should some objectives be country-specific, or regional, rather than global?

Yes, it is important for more regions, countries and areas within countries to move towards food security and self-sufficiency. Areas vary in their suitability for different aspects of farming (including livestock vs. crops), but developing local food policies and supporting local producers is important for long-term security, stability and sustainability – including for socially acceptable, humane, sustainable livestock production.


Claudio Schuftan PHM, Viet Nam

V. Qs on shaping global consensus for the goals:


23. How can we build and sustain global consensus for a new framework, involving member states, the private sector and civil society?


Global consensus has to be built from the bottom up, i.e., starting from the sub-national level up. This is why this consultation period up to 2015 is so crucially in need to go to the level of claim holders and duty bearers at district level. (Keep in mind that duty bearers to claim holders in the community are, in turn, claim holders to duty bearers at the national, often ministerial, level….and those, in turn, claim holders to duty bearers in the international context, i.e., there is a chain of oppressed oppressors). Thinking loud: Can a worldwide 1-2 weeks period of national debate be agreed upon and set sometime in 2014? Can we then imagine a global process of some kind of formal ratification of the new framework by parliaments, social movements, CSOs, private sector without conflicts of interest (?) and governments the world over?

Sustaining the consensus will depend on progress being made. Annual benchmarks can give us year-to-year reports of progress as perceived by representatives of the wider society. This national annual taking of stock has the additional advantage of giving the new framework flexibility to change tactics within the same strategy (…or change strategy if needed).


24. How can our work be made coherent with the process to be established by the intergovernmental Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals?


All efforts have to be made to secure such a coherence. Moreover, in all issues pertaining the SDGs and pertaining to this post-2015 framework the principle of one country one vote is non-negotiable in all instances when such consultations are deemed necessary. We all are born to live in this planet as equals. [I see no problem in isolating the rich countries often voting in block against the poor countries and thus formally obstructing this or any coherence. They are already doing so! So what is left for the poor countries is to continue blaming and shaming them, remotely hoping for a future break through. In the meantime, as much as possible, the poor countries ought to act on issues as per their majority vote].


Having come to the end of this reflection, I know I have opened only a small additional window that adds to the equally important contributions of many many others. I am afraid I have often been normative (and even possibly wrong). There are too many shoulds and woulds in my comments.

The risk we face is coming up with a more radical new framework than the MDGs framework was only to see it watered down by the powers that be --as has always been the case in end negotiations.

I ask you: Why has consensus always to be pulled to the side of those who feel they have something to loose in this pathetically unequal and unfair world?


On some more general issues, I seek advice on six further points:


Is there a way we can get away from the use of the maligned term ‘stakeholder’? Stakeholders stake claims, right? The simple replacement of the word stakeholders by claim-holders or duty bearers, as appropriate (to use the correct HR parlance that we and the UN are finally trying to instill in post-2015), just might provide us with the hint of the sort of framework we are interested in fostering in the new era. Claim holder/duty bearer are in the original UN language. Stakeholders is originally business language. To have or to hold a stake in something is the same as having an interest or holding shares!!! (A. Katz)


The MDGs have shown us that a focus on outcomes does not assure sustainability of the respective goal being kept up. It is not only the quantity and the quality of outcomes that counts; it is the participatory processes to achieve them that will matter in the long run. (Note that here sustainability is used in a different sense than in the environmental connotation of the term).


There are still too many among us that consider HR and equity, gender…as crosscutting issues; they are not. They are core issues (!) and we have to build sectoral or other interventions around them.


I also feel strongly that instead of talking about safety nets, we ought to be talking about social protection mechanisms. Universal social protection is the new political and cultural horizon where health rights must be placed. It includes social security, social assistance, labor rights, the right to public services and environmental rights (F.Mestrum). Social protection is the fundamental measure to pursue redistribution of wealth. Safety nets take the issue of poverty as a fait accompli. So since ‘they’ are poor, we throw them a few crumbles of bread since it is morally reprehensible to us to let them starve. In reality, safety nets somehow come up with measures that avoid social discontent that could flare up into protests and thus a challenge to the status-quo. Or put another way: Safety nets are nothing but a way to manage poverty and ‘ill-being’ (as opposed to well-being) by attenuating social unrest. Am I very wrong?


Moreover, providing accessible and affordable basic needs to the poor closely relates to what I say above. It just, in a way, replaces safety nets by targeting the poor (note the use of ‘the poor’ in High Level Panel papers; should it not be ‘poor people’? We have to be careful with depersonalizing the billions of  the affected people). [I want to caution you that the same is true for when programs and projects speak of ‘targeting the poor’].


Finally, is it true that nutrition, health, education, housing, clean water and sanitation will eventually cut the vicious circle of poverty? I thought the inter-generational vicious circle of poverty could only be uprooted for good with structural changes in the political and economic system that rules most of the world and actually perpetuates the problem.  Am I very wrong?

Vahid Maharramov Economic Research Center, Azerbaijan

Dear all,


It is great pleasure to contribute at least something to announced topics by FAO. On behalf of Economic Research Center ( Azerbaijan) i would like to draw your attention below message: 


Azerbaijan is the country that possesses fertile soil, humid climate, including sound financial, labor and other resources. The current resources of this country allow Azerbaijan to produce 3 times more agricultural products. Nevertheless, the country failed to show off its potential in last 15 years and given this loses its production strength as well. Thus, in 1997 the grain fields were around 610 - 650 thousand hectare and at that time Azerbaijan was able to import from 167 thousand ton up to420 thousand ton grain. Despite the fact that grain fields grew by 967 thousand hectare in 2011, the volume of imported wheat increased 3,5 times and reaching 1 million 400 thousand tons along imported wheat flour. In a nutshell, Azerbaijan is becoming dependent heavily on import.


Azerbaijan currently is obtaining easy flow of funds thanks to revenues emanating from oil and gas export and it can build sound investment policy over its non-oil sector, particularly production of agricultural products. However, it failed to do so and instead it is directing these funds to non-profitable sectors.


Azerbaijan which is in potentila of exporting food to world countries is in need of food. Another problem is related to the loss of production. The lack of warehouses and manufacturing facilities triggeres damage of fruit-vegetables in the fields or making as garbages.


According to our observations, the degradation process of soil has accelerated in recent years and it arranges 47 % of overall soil fields. Therefore, this rings alarm for future that there might be shortage or similar issues regarding food supply in the country.




  1. FAO should build broad information base through identifying the production potential of agricultural outputs of all countriesby involving experts to this process.
  2.  FAO should raise the issue on supplying demands for foods, agricultural products through complete internal production of countries that possess fertile soil, labor, financial, water resources. Given this, FAO should invite governments to act responsibly by submitting recommendations and proposals to them.
  3. FAO should raise issue regarding food security before world countries and unleash initiative on providing support to less-fertile countries via countries who have broad potential in this field. FAO can especially focus on patronizing children up to 5 years old. 




ERC expert on agrarian policy

A Nielsen New Zealand

It was clear from the outset that the goals of the MDG framework are interconnected and each one of them cannot be achieved without also addressing other areas. This is important to keep in mind as we look forward beyond 2015. Addressing food security and nutrition requires addressing areas such as inequalities, population dynamics, conflicts and governance. Vulnerable groups are those most affected by food insecurity, and women in particular tend to bear the burden of sourcing food and ensuring their families are adequately nourished, often forcing them into dangerous situations to do so. Vulnerable groups must be included in strategies and programmes aimed at improving access to food and nutrition to ensure they do not face additional barriers and can enjoy equal access to food and nutrition sources.


It is of utmost importance for their health that children under 5 and pregnant women are well-nourished, yet malnourishment among these groups is widespread throughout the developing world. Targeting these groups to improve their nutritional status should be paramount.

Ensuring investments are made in sexual and reproductive health and rights can have a positive impact on food security and nutrition. When women and couples are able to choose the number, timing and spacing of their children they can plan their families, and will often choose to have smaller families. Smaller families means fewer mouths to feed and a greater chance of children being well-nourished.

Sonja Vermeulen CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food ...

Theme 1:

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?


One of the key lessons is a positive one – the MDGs have demonstrated that it IS possible to achieve large-scale and long-lasting reductions in poverty and gender inequality (as measured by enrolment of girls in schools).  What we can learn from this for the post-2015 agenda is that we should again be highly ambitious in our goals for future human and planetary well-being.



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? 


On behalf of the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) of the CGIAR (Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers), I wish to draw particular attention to the importance of seriously investing in environmental sustainability and food chain efficiencies if we are to feed ourselves in the long-run.  With the Global Donor Platform on Rural Development, CCAFS co-funded the independent Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change during 2011-2012.  The Commissioners brought scientific evidence together to argue that we need to bring action on three fronts together if we are to achieve universal food security in future: (1) increasing yields per unit of land and other inputs in ways that deal with increasing climate variability and climatic trends (for example via genetics, careful matching of crops and environments, very precise management of nutrients, innovative use of downscaled climatic forecasting), (2) reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture (many of the strategies are synergistic with the strategies for yield increases and adaptation) and (3) reducing inefficiencies in food supply chains (particularly by shifting towards healthier lower-emissions diets, reducing losses of food due to poor post-harvest storage or wasteful household food management, and improving distribution and affordability for people vulnerable to malnutrition).  Readers interested in the Commission’s findings (including many detailed sub-recommendations) can download the report at - where there is also a 6-minute video that synthesizes the arguments very clearly. 


Sets of aspirational recommendations can sound vague or impossible.  But around the world we now have many success stories: examples in which interventions have been brought to scale that increase availability of food to poor consumers while also reducing environmental impacts, particularly greenhouse gas emissions.  Substantial learning on successes (and pitfalls) has been shared (and can be found) via international platforms such as Africa Adapt ( and CDKN (, as well as sector-specific initiatives like the Climate-Smart Agriculture Partnership ( – as well as many regional, national and sub-national learning platforms.  While there have been some efforts to collate globally promising technologies and institutional arrangements (e.g. ), or to draw generalized lessons from large-scale success stories (e.g. ), the reality is that climate change is experienced locally and must largely be addressed locally (for adaptation; mitigation is more global in scope).  What the global level most needs to do is to provide the kinds of governance and learning frameworks that enable local-level resilience and creativity.  This means investment both in very general development needs (e.g. free, universal, high-quality, compulsory education, or fair universal tax systems) and in very specific climate-related needs (e.g. scientific research that brings us to the stage that we can make climate forecasts that are downscaled sufficiently in time and space to be directly useful to individual farmers and local policy makers). 


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):

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?



These objectives are highly appropriate in terms of (a) simplicity and (b) level of ambition.  Additionally the focus on smallholders is appropriate due to their continuing major role in the nutrition and livelihoods of both rural and urban consumers.  On the other hand the objectives lack (a) a tangible definition of sustainability (and hence an explicit objective for managing our natural environment) and (b) a clear goal for nutrition security as opposed to food security.  The post-2015 Global Development Framework could certainly use the ZHC objectives (and thus contribute to this critically important agenda) but perhaps build in explicit objectives on environment and on nutrition.  Given the huge variation around the world in climate change impacts, water scarcity (and soils, biodiversity and other key environmental factors), level of dependence of livelihoods on agriculture, provision of social services and safety nets, and the burden of nutrition-related diseases (e.g. stunting, obesity, diabetes, micro-nutrient deficiencies), perhaps the over-arching objectives should be global but the targets country-specific (or even specific to particular places or social groups within a country).  Targets should certainly be time-bound.  In doing so, they keep abreast of the rapid pace of change in climate, demographics, economics and geo-politics – and acknowledge that development is never “done”.  It is not an admission of failure to accept that the set of objectives and aspirations under design now will be followed by yet another (iterative) set in a couple of decades.

Faustine Wabwire Bread for the World Institute, United States of America

Theme 1: Key Lessons From the MDGs


The MDGs have demonstrated that goal-setting matters for development. Since 2000, the MDGs have galvanized support around the world for ending hunger and extreme poverty. When the goals were launched, countries pledged to work together to cut global hunger and poverty in half by 2015. Also, unlike many global initiatives that came before it, the MDGs remain a  prominent concern of national governments and the international development community. This is due in no small part to the fact that the goals have concrete targets to measure progress and hold government leaders accountable.

Global poverty is now falling with unprecedented speed, and indeed it is possible to imagine a world by 2040 where chronic hunger and poverty no longer exist. According to the World Bank, the percentage of people living below the international poverty line ($1.25 per person per day) has fallen by more than half since 1990; in other words, the MDG target of cutting income poverty in half by 2015 has been reached.
At this point, however, it is not clear whether the hunger target of the MDGs—cutting hunger in half— will be met by the 2015 deadline.The lagging progress on hunger, compared to progress on poverty, illustrates a problem with how the MDGs are being pursued. Too little attention has been paid to the interrelationship between hunger and poverty, particularly in rural areas where most of the world’s hungry and poor people live. In order to sync reductions in hunger with reductions in poverty, greater investments in agriculture are necessary and must be targeted at smallholder farmers.


Theme 2: What works best?

Focus on Marginalized Groups: The goal to end hunger mostly depends on the commitment of political leaders to scale up proven approaches and target the most difficult to reach groups. Leaders will have to address the structural inequalities that deny certain groups of people access to social and economic opportunities. These are predominantly racial, ethnic and religious minority groups. Women and girls face additional barriers—including in majority groups. Accelerating progress against hunger therefore requires a more deliberate focus on women and girls.

Strengthen Data Systems: Effective policy responses depend on reliable information about how various groups are faring. Countries where hunger and poverty are stubbornly persistent have a limited capacity to collect and analyze data. Strengthening data systems needs to be a priority of leaders in countries affected by hunger and their development partners.

Increase Investments in agriculture: Improvements in food security and nutrition are linked to a productive agricultural sector. Common sense might suggest that we need to make sure that domestic food supplies match demand for food—but that’s not the core of the problem. The recent increases in hunger were because of the high food prices, not because there wasn’t enough food to go around. Although grain stocks were low, they were not too low to feed everyone if some nations with surpluses hadn’t panicked and banned exports. In the same vein, famines have occurred in countries where some parts actually have food surpluses. The unprecedented rise in hunger recently was a consequence of the high costs. Despite incontrovertible evidence that food security is linked to agricultural productivity, over the past three decades donors slashed agriculture as a share of their development budgets. Agriculture is a key driver of economic growth in poor countries. In very poor countries, agriculture provides more than 70-80 percent of the labor force with the greatest share of their incomes. When the agricultural sector is growing, so are people’s incomes. It’s what determines whether they are eating only a bowl of rice seven days a week or they can occasionally afford to add some meat and vegetables to their diet.

Strengthen social protection programs to reach the most marginalized. Scaling up investments in the nutrition of rural women and girls is central to their economic empowerment. Putting in place safety nets for the most vulnerable rural women and girls, such as activities that promote access to health care and education, lays the groundwork for a healthy society.

  • Lift the importance of maternal and child nutrition
  • Remove barriers faced by rural women and girls


Theme 3: Post-2015 Framework

Bread for the World emphasizes that whatever agreement emerges must include a bull’s-eye target: ending hunger and extreme poverty by 2040. Every country should agree to set national development goals, including the high-income nations.

  • A post-2015 agreement should establish a framework in which each country sets ambitious goals that properly reflect its level of social and economic development. This framework should make it clear that poverty and hunger are morally unacceptable everywhere.

The post-2015 global development framework should be worked out by a broader set of stakeholders than those who developed the MDGs. The MDGs were conceived by rich nations with far too little input from poor and middle-income nations.

  • The views of poor and hungry people themselves on the fight against hunger and poverty should be strongly considered in any new agreement. This is likely to reshape development goals from their formulation in the MDGs and focus greater attention on the means of achieving the goals. For example, a target of MDG 1 was to “Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people”; and when poor people, particularly young poor people, are asked about the barriers they face to getting out of poverty, they nearly always name lack of jobs as their top concern. But the issue of jobs and job creation has not been given the attention it deserves from policymakers and donor agencies.