Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Senior Project Coordinator, Capacity Development Officer, FSN Forum Coordinator

Mauricio holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Animal Sciences from Universidad Nacional in Palmira, Colombia, and a Ph.D. from Oxford University.

His more than 20 years of experience in planning, executing and managing agricultural research and development programmes at national and international levels has resulted in several books, studies, scientific and technical papers, and the world-renowned UN report Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental issues and options, which he co-authored.

Since 2016 Mauricio is Senior Coordinator of the FAO project “Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition in selected countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia”, funded by the Russian Federation. The project aims at building an integrated approach to promoting intersectoral cooperation, ensuring appropriate capacity for effective coordination among the agriculture, nutrition, health, education and social protection sectors at global, regional and country level, including Armenia. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

With a strong background in knowledge management, information systems and capacity development, Mauricio was appointed Coordinator of the FSN Forum in 2010. In this capacity as Forum Coordinator, he directs all the Forum’s activities as a global platform for knowledge exchange and dissemination of research results and best practices.

This member contributed to:

    • Message from the facilitator

      Dear members of the FSN Forum,

      I am grateful for the time and knowledge shared through this consultation. The contributions received provide light on how FAO should support member countries to boost remittances investment in sustainable agribusiness development. We highlight the exposed need that these financial mechanisms must promote innovative and sustainable agricultural activities that provide health for everyone. Furthermore, they should be coupled with capacity development to promote the effectiveness of future programs and policies. Our team takes note of the challenges and possible solutions discussed in detail by the contributors. I encourage all participants to continue the discussion and new participants to share their experience based on the several questions listed above.

      @ Claudio Schuftan

      Dear Claudio,  
      In the focus of our work our focus, agribusiness, also includes agroecology. One of the main causes of rural migration is the lack of investments in agriculture; under this program, the remittances are invested in the rural areas in everything from crops to services. The important issue is the business focus to incentive the local economy. If an agroecological farm activity is presented as a business, it will be co-financed within the scope of the program.
       
      @ Luke Metelerkamp

      Dear Luke,  
      Your project sounds very interesting and I believe we have the same aim of increasing rural investments for smallholder agriculture. There are two goals within the program we are implementing: one is to invest remittances for rural development and the other one is to reduce migration. This is why we have the strong focus on remittances as the way of financing family agribusinesses.  I believe it is possible to include remittances with in the platform you are implementing, but I think it should be collective remittances from the diaspora. This has been tried with relative success in some countries although the impact has been limited because of the lack of an institutionalized migrant policy by municipalities, little interest, or mistrust from migrants to organize towards helping their communities of origin, and in some cases corruption, and politicization of the program. I will be interested in further exchanges.
       
      Best regards,
       
      Mauricio

    • Dear members of the FSN Forum in West Africa,

      I would like to share with you the latest press release of Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, on the threats caused by Ebola to food security. The message is also available online at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15276&LangID=E

      Mauricio

       

      [ENGLISH VERSION]

      West Africa on the brink of a major food crisis as Ebola threatens food security

      GENEVA (11 November 2014) – As Ebola continues to ravage West Africa, leaving more than 4000 people dead, the region is now on the brink of a major food crisis, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, has warned today.

      “While the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis struggle to contain the devastating virus, they now face a new challenge with experts predicting that over a million people in the region need food aid to allay shortages,” Ms. Elver said.

      “Farmers in West Africa have been severely affected by this crisis, with fear and panic resulting in many having abandoned their farms, this in turn has led to a disruption in food production and a soaring rise in food prices,” she noted. “Staple crops such as rice and maize will reportedly be scaled back due to shortages in farm labour with potential catastrophic effect on food security.”

      Agriculture is the main economic activity in West Africa with two thirds of the population dependent on farming. “The closure of border and sea crossings, a reduction in regional trade, along with a decline in foreign investment, and diminished purchasing power of tens of thousands of already vulnerable households, leaves these countries in a precarious situation in relation to food security and access to an adequate and nutritional diet,” the expert explained.

      Ms. Elver also expressed her deep concern at reports suggesting that, in some cases, communities are facing food shortages due to poor road accessibility, while others have been threatening to evade quarantine because of lack of food supplies.

      “In situations where Governments have imposed quarantine on communities or requested for self-quarantine, access to food should be strictly ensured,” urged the human rights expert.

      The Special Rapporteur called on the international community to do everything in its power to ensure that the already existing food shortages in these countries, are mitigated, adding that measures must be taken, with immediate effect, to restore infrastructure and ensure food security to stricken communities.

      ***

      Hilal Elver (Turkey) is a Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food by the Human Rights Council in 2014. The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Food/Pages/FoodIndex.aspx

       

      [TRADUCTION FRANCAISE]

      L'Afrique occidentale est sur le point de connaître une crise alimentaire majeure en raison de la menace que représente le virus Ebola pour la sécurité alimentaire

      GENÈVE (11 novembre 2014)-Dans le contexte des ravages causés par le virus Ebola en Afrique occidentale où plus de 4000 personnes ont déjà perdu la vie, la région est aujourd'hui à deux doigts de connaître une crise alimentaire majeure, comme l'a souligné aujourd'hui la Rapporteuse spéciale des Nations Unies sur le droit à l'alimentation, Hilal Elver.

      Selon Mme Elver, « Alors que les pays les plus touchés par la crise l'Ebola continuent de lutter contre ce virus dévastateur,  ils sont aujourd'hui confrontés à un nouveau défi ; en effet, selon les experts, plus d'un million de personnes vivant dans la région vont avoir besoin d'aide alimentaire pour faire face aux pénuries ».

      Elle indique que « les agriculteurs d'Afrique occidentale ont été profondément touchés par cette crise et les sentiments de crainte et de panique ont poussé beaucoup à abandonner leurs fermes, ce qui se traduit par une interruption de la production et une flambée des prix des denrées alimentaires. » « Les rapports signalent que les cultures de produits de base comme le riz et le maïs seront réduites en raison de la pénurie de main-d’œuvre agricole, entraînant des effets potentiellement catastrophiques sur la sécurité alimentaire. »

      L’agriculture est la principale activité économique d'Afrique occidentale et deux tiers de la population dépendent des activités agricoles. « La fermeture des passages frontaliers et maritimes, la réduction des échanges commerciaux régionaux, ainsi qu'un fléchissement de l'investissement étranger et une baisse du pouvoir d'achat de dizaines de milliers de ménages déjà vulnérables conduisent, dans ces pays, à une situation de précarité en matière de sécurité alimentaire et d'accès à un régime alimentaire adéquat et nutritif, » signale l'experte.

      Mme Elver a également fait part de sa profonde préoccupation devant certains rapports selon lesquels, dans certains cas, les communautés connaissent des pénuries alimentaires en raison de problèmes d'accessibilité routière, et d'autres menacent de rompre la quarantaine en raison du manque d'approvisionnements alimentaires.

      L’experte en droit humain insisté sur le fait que « là où les gouvernements ont imposé des quarantaines aux communautés ou ont demandé une mise en quarantaine volontaire, il est indispensable d'assurer l'accès aux aliments. »

      La Rapporteuse spéciale lance un appel à la communauté internationale afin que celle-ci fasse tout ce qui est en son pouvoir pour garantir que les pénuries alimentaires existantes dans ces pays soient résorbées et que des mesures soient adoptées, avec un effet immédiat, pour rétablir l'infrastructure et assurer la sécurité alimentaire des communautés touchées.

      ***

      Mme. Hilal Elver (Turquie) est une professeur de recherche à l'Université de Californie, Santa Barbara. La Rapporteuse spécial est une experte indépendante, nommé par le Conseil des droits de l’homme, chargé d’examiner la situation d’un pays ou un thème particulier lié aux droits de l’homme et d’en rendre compte. Il s’agit d’une fonction honoraire qui ne fait pas de l’expert un membre du personnel de l’ONU et pour laquelle il ne perçoit aucune rémunération. http://www.ohchr.org/FR/Issues/Food/Pages/FoodIndex.aspx

    • Feedback by Juan Carlos Garcia y Cebolla and Mauricio Rosales, facilitators

      Dear FSN Forum members,
      we wish to thank all of you that took time to follow and engage in this challenging discussion on how to make economic growth work for improved food security and nutrition, inspired by the latest report on the State of Food Insecurity in the world (SOFI).
      In our first question we asked you to tell us about experiences in which social protection and better food security governance have led to advances in food security and improved nutrition. We are happy to see that many projects have successfully managed to improve food security and nutrition of local communities: examples include the “Development of the Peanut sector for Guyana and Selected Caribbean countries” and the reformed Public Distribution System in Chhattisgararh (India). Further, among countries that progressed in improving food and nutrition security over the past decade Brazil and many in Asia were mentioned.
      Successful experiences have been able to leverage and take full advantage of social protection and government determination; it’s worth noting that Guyana, from where many examples were shared, has met the target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger set by the Millennium Development Goal n.1.
      We encourage you to keep sending examples and further references on experiences to enrich this exchange across countries and different professional perspectives.  
      While in some cases governments are engaged and determined, in others commitment and interest seem to be lagging behind and leaving the goal of eradicating food insecurity still far from reach. Some of you argue that where improvements are not being achieved, this is due to the fact that food security and nutrition are not high enough on the decision makers agendas.
      Others blame wrong or uninformed policies for not being able to tackle the problem correctly or even for exacerbating the situation. In this regard alternative policies and approaches were also mentioned and advocated by participants such as: promoting market access versus food self subsistence; traditional - high input agriculture versus sustainable methods; or giving attention to the whole supply chain rather than only the production end.
      We would now like to draw your attention and reflections to our third question: how can political will be mobilized to truly take action for hunger reduction and improved nutrition?
      Does the gap that we still see in many countries need to be filled by knowledge of the problems and right solutions, good and sound legislation frameworks or do the responses need to be found elsewhere, such as in civil society empowerment and mobilization (as suggested in some posts)?
      Let’s dig in deeper into this difficult and complex question which probably has more than one answer, by looking at what made countries more or less successful in improving food security of their people. Is there any lesson to be learned about links between social protection policies  and civil society empowerment? Thanks for your contributions to figure out how can we avoid SOFI to keep counting and adding countries to the high numbers of those who are food insecure in the world, no matter what methodology is used.

      We really enjoy reading your comments, it helps in refining our thinking and widening our perspectives.

      Juan Carlos and Mauricio