Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

This member contributed to:

    • Integrating nutrition into the curricula of agriculture education institutions is vital to achieve improved Food Security and Nutrition (FSN). By the same token, it would be equally important for a similar approach to be taken into consideration in the forestry sector in parallel. FSN should not only be integrated in agriculture education, but also in forestry education.

      Forests cover one third of the earth’s land surface. It is estimated that over 2.4 billion people worldwide depend on forest goods and services for the direct provision of food, wood fuel, building materials, medicines, employment and cash income.

      In particular, fuelwood, income, and ecosystem services are essential contributions of forests to FSN. About one third of the world population use fuelwood for cooking their food, and 750 million people use wood to boil their water to make it safe for drinking. Forests generate income for local people through the sale of wood and non-wood products. Wild forest foods provide nutritious food supplements to millions of rural people. Wild animals and edible insects from forests are often the main source of protein. Forest foods are a regular part of rural diets and serve as safety nets in periods of food scarcity. They also provide essential ecosystem services that support sustainable agriculture by regulating water flows, stabilizing soils, maintaining soil fertility, regulating the climate, and providing habitat for wild pollinators and the predators of agricultural pests.

      The understanding of the role of forests in FSN is often overlooked, including in the field of forestry education. It would be of paramount importance for the forestry students (future forestry workers) and extension workers to receive relevant trainings on FSN as part of their forestry education curricula.

      Indeed, forests and their roles in FSN will remain vital as an integral part of our livelihoods for a long time. In light of the Sustainable Development Goals, we are now heading toward “sustainable” food security and nutrition. Sustainable forest management practices that reflect the important aspects of FSN will enable us to achieve both sustainable forestry and sustainable agriculture simultaneously.

      Forestry workers with adequate knowledge on FSN issues will be able to further develop their capacity on improving forest management practices in line with their own FSN context. Such an approach could eventually lead to improved FSN of rural populations by unlocking forests’ full potential without jeopardizing them.

      Forestry colleges and higher education institutions should further include education components on the complex and rapidly changing dynamics between communities and forests.  Concepts such as the “hidden hunger”, the importance of the biodiversity for diversified diets, and multiple health and nutrition properties of edible forestry products should be studied in depth. This way, forests can have the future they deserve, just as much as we deserve to be in a place with sustainable food security and nutrition.


    • Dear FSN Forum members,

      1.       What are the main issues for policy-makers to consider when linking climate change on the one hand and food security and nutrition on the other, in particular when designing, formulating and implementing policies and programmes?

      Sustainably managed forests can play a key role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Therefore, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) practices are important and relevant to this particular discussion.

      Despite the seemingly obvious causal link between climate change and FSN, there is still a lack of comprehensive understanding on the nexus. Negative impacts of climate change on natural resources bring an immediate effect on food availability and access, thus urgent attention is required. However, we should also not forget other remaining aspects of FSN, which are directly dependent on healthy forest resources. Some of the examples include the potential deterioration on: i) safe cooking practices due to a lack of fuelwood, ii) human health led by disappearing local non-wood forest products and a lack of access to clean water and air, iii) long-term environmental health and resilience to shocks based on overall forest ecosystem services, as well as many other elements which are essential to ensure sustainable FSN.

      In dealing with Climate Change and Food Security and Nutrition, there is generally a lack of cross-sectoral policies. For example, while SFM policies and policy-makers take certain aspects of livelihoods into consideration when addressing climate change adaptation practices, the Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) objectives are usually not properly reflected nor adequately incorporated in the SFM practices. SFM policy-makers do not necessarily confer about climate change and FSN in a cross-sectoral manner involving actors from FSN-related sectors. In turn, opportunities to enhance FSN through SFM, in the context of climate change, are not fully captured at policy level.

      2.       What are the key institutional and governance challenges to the delivery of cross-sectoral and comprehensive policies that protect and promote nutrition of the most vulnerable, and contribute to sustainable and resilient food systems?

      As discussed above, the lack of understanding on the extensive nexus between SFM and FSN yields limited efforts to plan and implement cross-sectoral and comprehensive policies. Consequently, there is relatively little knowledge including best practices on effective design and implementation of such policies by different sectors.

      Cross-sectoral collaboration can be particularly difficult among the “competing” sectors in some cases. As an example, sectoral dynamics among the forestry, the agriculture and the environment sectors can vary depending on the national institutional context, and in some challenging contexts, such dynamics can act as a bottleneck in spite of the sound understanding on the link between SFM and FSN.

      3.       In your experience, what are key best-practices and lessons-learned in fostering cross-sectoral linkages to protect and improve nutrition while preventing, adapting to climate change and reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions in projects?

      It has been evident that Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) policies and programmes which are better integrated into other sectors, such as rural community development, not only ensure generation of greater socio-economic benefits including food security and nutrition but also enlarge the number of beneficiaries.

      A good example of best practices is the one of the the Republic of Korea (RoK). RoK is one of the few countries who succeeded in forest rehabilitation at national level with the aim, amongst others, to improve FSN. The national forest cover of today has reached 63% of the total land cover while in the 50s it was less than 35% in a severely degraded condition. As such, it demonstrated that restoration of forests and prevention of consequential climate change impact were possible and led to substantial FSN improvement.

      The Republic of Korea’s National Forest Rehabilitation Plans have been implemented since 1973 in ten-year cycles. Especially in the 70s and 80s, RoK’s National Forest Rehabilitation Plans were implemented under a bigger framework of “Saemaeul Undong” (New Community Movement in Korean). “Saemaeul Undong” began with an objective to “improve the living and agricultural environments, solve food problems, increase profits for farmhouses, reduce the income gap between urban and rural communities, and improve morale of the populace” (Ministry of Strategy and Finance, 2013). RoK’s experience is, therefore, a very good example of the integration of forestry policy with community development policies including some key elements of FSN.

      The National Plans were implemented in conjunction with a broader “Saemaeul Undong” programme, covering activities related to income generation, fuelwood plantation and fruit tree plantation. Successful implementation of the plans not only made forest and landscape restoration possible at national level but also, contributed to the country’s food security and rapid economic development through the rehabilitation of ecosystem services.

      Among many of the success-factors, the presidential leadership at the time ensured a sound cross-sectoral collaboration among the concerned ministries (e.g. Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Defense etc.). Last but not least, it should also be highlighted that the policies were able to reinforce the role of communities as illustrated by their strong participation and the sense of ownership.

    • Dear FSN Forum members,


      1.       Do you have any general comments on the draft Framework for Action?

      -          While the draft comprehensively captures the multidisciplinary facets of nutrition issues including social, environmental and health aspects, the need for sustainable use and management of natural resources (i.e. forests) in a broader context for sustainable healthy diets seems to be undervalued.

      ·         Do you have any comments on chapter 1-2?

      -          With reference to Chapter 2.3 Financing for improved nutrition outcomes, Section “Better results for the investments” (Page 6 of the draft), the need for nutrition-specific interventions and investments in “relevant sectors” is addressed. The draft currently displays “agriculture, education, health, water, sanitation, hygiene, etc.” as related sectors. It would be important to include “sustainable natural resources management” as one of the key-sectors where the appropriate investments should be made, especially targeting smallholder farmers, fisher folk and forest communities.

      As an example, woodfuel plays an important role in ensuring nutrition security. The State of World’s Forests (SOFO) 2014 reveals that about 2.4 billion of the world’s population use woodfuel for cooking. It also addresses that boiling water is by far the most common way to sterilize water and, it is estimated that about 765 million people (10.9% of the global population) use wood energy to sterilize their water.  

      ·         Do you have any comments on chapter 3 (3.1 Food systems; 3.2 Social Protection; 3.3 Health; 3.4 International trade and investment)?

      *  Chapter 3 Intro.

      -          additional words in bold below are suggested to be added:

      (Page 6) “Addressing malnutrition requires a common vision and a multi-sector approach that includes coordinated, coherent and complementary interventions in food and agriculture systems, sustainable use of natural resources, environment, health, social protection, education and other sectors.”

      *  3.1 Food systems

      -          additional words in bold below are suggested to be added:

      (Page 8) “Diverse diets that combine a variety of cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, edible insects and animal-source foods will provide adequate nutrition for most people to meet their nutrient requirements, although supplements may be needed for certain populations, e.g., during humanitarian emergencies.”

      (Page 9) “Better storage, preservation and processing (including food fortification) for crops, livestock, fish, forest foods or gathered foods, at the farm level or commercially, can also do so.”

      (Page 10) Under “Priority actions”,

      i) “Promote backyard/homestead gardening, agroforestry, forest food farms, fish farms and small animal management, including ecologically appropriate varieties with high nutritional value, as a potential source of income and of fresh local produce.”;


      ii)“Integrating explicit nutrition objectives into agricultural, sustainable natural resources management and other sectors’ strategy policy and programme design and implementation and research agendas, to ensure that: they are not detrimental to nutrition; and opportunities to improve nutrition are well utilized.”

      (Page 11) Under Section 3.1.1 Food environments, “Increase availability, affordability and consumption of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.”

      *  3.2 Social Protection & 3.3 Health

      -          N/A

      *  3.4 International trade and investment

      -          additional words in bold below are suggested to be added:

      “The availability of and access to healthy foods should be ensured through nationally appropriate combinations of imports and domestic production, and investments in food production, especially by smallholders. There should be effective incentives for farmers, fisher folk and forest communities to produce sufficient healthy foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, forest foods, and animal source foods such as fish and wildlife) to be sold at affordable prices.”

      ·         Do you have any comments on chapter 4-5?

      -          With reference to Chapter 4. Accountability Mechanisms, Section 4.1.1 National Level, additional words in bold below are suggested to be added:

       “Within the context of the national plans of action on nutrition developed or updated, governments should formulate, adopt and implement strategies and programmes to achieve the recommendations of the Framework for Action, taking into account their specific problems and priorities. In particular, ministries of food, health, agriculture, environment, natural resources (forestry, fisheries), trade, social welfare, education, employment, information, consumer affairs and planning should formulate concrete proposals for their sectors to contribute to promoting better nutrition.”

      2.       Does the Framework for Action adequately reflect the commitments of the Rome Declaration on Nutrition, and how could this be improved?

      -          As commented during the online discussion session on the draft Rome Declaration on Nutrition in May 2014, the importance of “sustainable management of natural resources” (i.e. forestry, fisheries and aquaculture systems) in ensuring sustainability of nutrition security should be addressed in both the Declaration and the Framework for Action.

      3.       Does the Framework for Action provide sufficient guidance to realize the commitments made?

      -          The Framework for Action can be shortened – currently, it is a 28-page draft. A shortened version with a concise list of concrete actions may be more effective in realizing the commitments made.

      4.       Are there any issues which are missing in the draft Framework for Action to ensure the effective implementation of the commitments and action to achieve the objectives of the ICN2 and its Declaration?

      -          The human rights aspect in the context of the Right to Food recognising that unclear and/or unequitable land tenure rights are threats to the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger should be taken into consideration as part of the draft Framework for Action.