Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

Anna Rappazzo FAO, Italy
27-11-2012

In the first week of dialogue, already 22 Participants kicked off the consultation focusing on the lesson learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals of relevance to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
MDGs have been recognized for the role they played in bringing development problems to the attention of many. Participants also reminded us of extraordinary success that some countries had in realizing the goals and in increasing food security and nutrition among their citizens. However the same goal is still out of reach in many parts of the world.
MDG are meant be universal and are formulated in a very broad way making them difficult to enforce. Too often success is subject to the political will of national government to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition. Without buy-in by governments and by the population at large, even very active civil society organizations cannot manage to drive the change. The universal nature of the goals also constitutes a strong limitation as countries and regions can be very diverse and global or national goals risk becoming little more than a wish list.
According to the participants, in order to be successful , development objectives need to be linked closely to the local realities and need to be developed following a bottom up approach. For this to take place, awareness needs to be built among the general population starting in school and local professionals need to be put in the position to apply the acquired skills in their regional context.
As the central government often does not enjoy the full trust of the citizens it is important to involve civil society and grassroots organizations as much as possible, making the formulation of the development agenda respectful of the local peculiarities such as the environment and traditional agricultural practices.
Some participants also proposed a global food policy and more binding legal frameworks such as the creation of an expanded Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights or of a binding food treaty, which would create clearer obligation for the states.
Consensus emerged that hunger needs to be tackled in a comprehensive way including livelihoods, health, habits, infrastructure, education, gender equality, etc. and resources from all involved actors need to converge on a common practical plan of action.
Safety nets to mitigate shocks need to be put in place to increase the resilience of food insecure people and food should also be treated differently from other commodities and preferential trade arrangement could be put in place to increase access by the poor.
Participants also identified a decent infrastructure and safe storage facilities, which allow producers to efficiently access local markets with their produce as a condition for increasing food security .
Here national parliaments can play an important role by making sure that public policy measures aimed at rural developing and social protection find their way into national government budgets.
I take the occasion to thank all participants for their contributions and to renew my encouragement to further participate in the discussion.
In particular participants may wish to further address the following specific questions:
1.    Considering that several comments highlighted how Malnutrition and Food insecurity should be addressed in a integrated and comprehensive way, which are the main challenges in enabling this approach to be enforced? How different stake-holders could and should contribute to this effort?
2.    Which are the main lessons learned national levels to be used as a basis for building the future framework so that it fully reflects local realities and strengths?
3.    How can we use current initiatives, including the Zero Hunger Challenge, launched by the UN Secretary General at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (www.zerohungerchallenge.org), and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition elaborated by the CFS ?
We look forward to receiving your contributions
Anna Rappazzo
WFP/FAO facilitators team