On Theme 1b: The main challenges and opportunities towards achieving food and nutrition security in the coming years?
Here is my initial take:
There is need to limit this geograpgically. As an african, I would like to see this limited to Sub-Saharan Africa, because different broad geographical regions have specific challenges and opportunities, some of them being compromised by the leadership and the greedy elites and at times by the local population. If a people do not want development, what can be done by the international community?
The MDGs shall remain a" revolving door", whose achievements shall remain highly marginal with certain cases having imperceptible incremental progress. Of course some countries have made genuine progress.
A key element in ensuring food and nutritional security at national levels within SSA and later at regional level for SSA countries should take seriously the AU Maputo declaration that requires SSA countries to devote 10% of country GDP as Agriculture's budget. We all know what budgetting means on paper in some of these countries. Does this 10% quote mean "Effective Budget consumed" accounted for and outputs verifiable with objective indicators to be srcutinised by AU? What happens when the required budget level is not met? What can the AU do about such failures?
This brings me to the point that, whether at the level of the UN or AU or whatever regional or sub-regional grouping, policy dialogue to meet the challenges of Food insecurity and Malnutrition, in SSA countries remains a "revolving door". The soveriegnty of nations makes it difficult to ensure that this policy dialogue pays, paving the way for a better life for posterity --- the case of SSA. Every now and then there is an alarm of food insecurity and malnutrition, in most instances the situation is blamed on "Climate Change" , lack of "Contingency Plans" and Emergency Preparedness.
For humanitarian reasons it may be very difficult to accompany these lofty MDGs of the UN, or Goals of the AU-NEPAD with legally binding instruments to ensure their achievements. What can be done to a Government or Regime whose interest is to stay in power and specialise in "Crisis Management" : when food insecurity and malnutrition arise in the country, that will be recipe for attracting international aid and blindfold the electorate with handouts in order to eternalise the regime.
In all of the above, the Elite, Government and the Population must work together and sincerely with oversight provided by the UN or AU. The people would like to know the performance made in meeting the Challenges and Opoortunities, and real rewards given, accordingly.
This thematic discussion was led by FAO and WFP in collaboration with “The World We Want”.
The consultation was facilitated by the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)