Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2022

World Food Day

Improved data-driven planning, policymaking, budgeting, and investing can help governments be integral to building a more inclusive food secure future, leaving no one behind.

Governments must use people-centred data and research findings to identify who is being left behind and understand why. Better data is key to addressing root causes, measuring progress, and designing rights-based inclusive policies that focus on the most vulnerable. Early warning data can also be used to trigger anticipatory action, reducing the impacts of crises. 

Sustainable prosperity depends on inclusive, transparent, responsive, and accountable institutions and laws. Effective governance needs to ensure that financing and policies are implemented as planned and prioritise the full inclusion of marginalised groups. There must be explicit recognition of the interlinkages between economic, social, and environmental challenges, and an institutional set-up that does not make policy in siloes.

Social protection is a positive investment for economies, even low-income countries, and if managed well, it can make a significant contribution to preventing and responding to crises, mitigating the costs. It can provide security, promote livelihoods, and help address economic, social, and environmental vulnerabilities to food insecurity and poverty. Ensuring equal access represents a long-term investment for an inclusive future of economic growth and diminished government dependency.

Agrifood systems must be transformed to deliver lower cost and safe nutritious foods that make healthy diets more affordable for all, sustainably and inclusively. This means producing more nutritious foods and promoting nutrition awareness to encourage a shift in consumption towards healthy diets. Governments need to act from both a policy and advocacy perspective pushing public awareness campaigns and maintaining national dietary guidelines.

Conflict, climate change and COVID-19 are all dramatically reshaping the relationship between supply and demand, leading to higher prices that represent a serious threat to those already in poverty and food insecurity. Governments must reduce pressure on markets by keeping them open, resisting protectionist measures such as trade restrictions, and strengthening transparency and dialogue. Any surpluses must also be made available to those most in need.

Governments must be proactive in creating more robust, resilient, sustainable and diverse supply chains through better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life. By diversifying food and fertilizer suppliers, as well as domestic production, countries can become more self-sufficient and buffer the effects of supply shocks caused by conflicts and extreme weather events, keeping prices stable.

The food crisis cannot be solved without first solving the finance crisis. Wealthy countries must provide Official Development Assistance to developing countries to help build resilient and productive economies where no one is left behind. They should also collaborate with International Financial Institutions to increase levels of liquidity and fiscal space, to enable them to provide social protection to their most vulnerable and ensure no one is left behind.

Preventing famine and reducing hunger will require the assistance of humanitarian organisations which have a proven record. However, providing the assistance necessary to achieve these goals requires access to affordable resources. By exempting humanitarian purchases from taxation, sanctions and all other forms of restrictions, governments can assist these organisations in their efforts to eliminate suffering.

 

Governments need to ensure free, active, and significant participation of all stakeholders within agrifood systems, giving a voice to those on the margins. Inclusive planning, policymaking, and implementation is vital to productive and sustainable food system transformation. By providing greater access to land, training, incentives, job opportunities and innovative technologies to vulnerable smallholder farmers, including women and youth, agrifood systems can prosper.

Conflict, disease and climate change have all led to large price surges for seeds, fuel and fertilizers. Many farmers and smallholder food producers can no longer afford these goods. Governments must provide subsidies to help these essential labourers purchase the goods they need, as well as provide support to connect them with markets. This will build resilience in food systems and bolster agricultural productivity, ensuring neither consumer nor producer is left behind.

As food becomes more expensive, not only does hunger increase, but also obesity. 1 in 8 adults worldwide are already obese. Highly processed foods are often cheaper and more readily available than nutritious and environmentally friendly options. Governments need to incentivise the private sector to offer healthier, sustainably produced foods.

Trillions of US dollars’ worth of food is lost or wasted every year because of food system inefficiencies. Such inefficiency drives up prices for consumers and is not sustainable amid deepening global crises. Governments need to invest in infrastructure, science, and innovative technologies to prevent food loss and ensure food does not spoil before it reaches market. Governments must also promote responsible consumption and spread awareness of food waste.

Collaborate with FAO to build a future where everyone has access to a sustainable healthy diet. Support efforts to implement the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition offered by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This also applies to CFS’s Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises, which offers a comprehensive list of actions that help tackle issues of food insecurity and undernutrition in times of prolonged or recurrent crises.