Put focused, transparent and accountable food security initiatives first for sustainable development, says Morgane Danielou of the Farming First coalition.
Last year in L’Aquila, Italy, G8 leaders pledged US$20Bn (since revised to $22Bn) to address global food security.
Since the food crisis erupted in 2008, a large number of global and regional food security initiatives have been launched or strengthened in response. The L’Aquila statement (PDF) and the subsequent launch in 2010 of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) (PDF) are important illustrations of the commitment to action of countries around the world.
Ahead of this year’s G8 summit, the Farming First coalition has compiled a comprehensive Guide to Food Security Initiatives, which uses an interactive map to outline the key policy objectives that each initiative has identified and how these policies should be implemented.
Food security is a complex issue requiring concerted efforts over the long term. The increased attention and leadership around this issue is a very positive development.
However, while this renewed attention and action are welcomed and needed, the proliferation of so many separate initiatives running in parallel requires that the risk of overlapping, competing or disjointed activities be addressed.
As we move towards action on these food security policies, Farming First urges G8 leaders to:
- Promote a clear focus on a common goal for food security at the global level through policy and operational coherence
- Encourage increased transparency on how much pledged funding has been committed, and to what types of programmes
- Engage a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that efforts are coordinated, clear, collaborative and ultimately successful
How the many current programmes are coordinated and contribute to food security is unclear.
In the UN system, the Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis (HLTF) represents an effort at giving an overarching direction but how non-UN efforts relate, for instance, to the Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA) (PDF) developed by the HLTF, is not articulated.
In addition, despite a great amount of funding pledged by many countries to support food security initiatives, we do not know how much and in what ways it has been delivered. For instance, the L’Aquila statement included targeted investments as well as support for innovation, research and technology as essential components of long-term food security. But what investments? How much, and where?
Finally, how the relevant stakeholders required for successful policy implementation interact with these programmes is also in many cases undefined. Farmers, scientists, civil society and the private sector need to be involved in order to ensure plans meet existing needs and are successfully implemented. For example, Farming First suggests that GAFSP create a dedicated seat for farmers and the private sector on its Steering Committee given the essential role that the Committee will play in supporting initiatives around the world that will affect farmers.
Farming First urges G8 leaders to renew their commitments to food security at this year’s summit, and we welcome the opportunity for further collective action in addressing the hunger and poverty concerns at the heart of sustainable development.
About Morgane Danielou
Morgane Danielou is Director of Communications for the International Fertilizer Industry Association, based in Paris. She works on behalf of Farming First, a global coalition of 131 organisations, representing the world’s farmers, scientists, engineers and industry. For more on Farming First’s position on food security, visit www.farmingfirst.org/foodsecurity