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Trade, food security and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The relationship between trade and food security is attracting increased attention on both the trade and the development agendas. The eradication of global hunger by 2030 is a key goal in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and trade is recognized as one of the means for achieving the SDGs. As patterns of consumption and production continue to evolve, global trade in agricultural products is expected to continue to increase over the next decade, with substantial implications for the extent and nature of food security across all regions of the globe.

The challenge is how to ensure that the expansion of agricultural trade works for and not against, the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. This challenge has been at the forefront as governments’ struggle to negotiate the changes to the current global agreements on agricultural trade that are needed to ensure that trade results in enhanced food security.  

What FAO does
FAO plays a role in facilitating the policy processes that guide the development of trade and related policies, both at the national and global levels. FAO’s work in this area includes:

• Generating knowledge to strengthen the evidence and synthesize the current state of knowledge on the impact of trade and related policies on food security and agricultural development;
• Strengthening capacities of national stakeholders to conduct analyses on the linkages and impacts of trade on food security 
• Facilitating dialogue to mainstream trade into national food security and agricultural development strategies to promote coherence and consistency.

Examples of country and regional-level work
In May 2015, in collaboration with regional and sub-regional offices, FAO facilitated a consultation between representatives of the Ministries of Trade and Ministries of Agriculture from all 16 countries covered by the FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa, with the aim to improve alignment between agricultural development and food security frameworks and trade-related planning frameworks. Subsequently, a number of countries highlighted their capacity needs, which are currently being addressed as per the specific requests, through a combination of e-learning courses and in-person workshops and dialogue events.