Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition
This page aims to bring together voices from across the globe in a conversation on food security and nutrition. After the initial consultation which drew over 250 contributions, we will be continuing the discussion with more engagements as the post-2015 framework takes greater shape. This consultation is co-led by FAO and WFP in partnership with the governments of Colombia and Spain.
The Intergovernmental Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is back in session (25 - 27 November) after a five-month break, with four more New York meetings scheduled before March when the Group will begin crafting a set of SDGs to propose to the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014.
The second activity phase of the OWG, which was launched by UN member states at Rio+20 and described by former UNGA President Vuk Jeremić as “the single-most important element of the post-2015 agenda”, follows a series of reports on the post-2015 process, most notably the outcome document adopted at a Special Event on the MDGs at the UN General Assembly on 25 September, the Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons, and “A Million Voices: The World We Want”, the UNDG’s synthesis report of the 11 global thematic consultations and public surveys that had engaged more than 1.3 million people.
While the first round of OWG sessions was largely devoted to issues present in the Millennium Development Goals – hunger, poverty and water, the second phase focuses on broader themes such as countries in special situations, governance, consumption and production, trade and debt, human rights and conflict, biodiversity, oceans and forests.
“...We believe that ending hunger and malnutrition should remain at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals – that ending hunger and malnutrition are prerequisites for sustainable and sustained economic development, reducing preventable deaths, better health, more and better education, women’s empowerment, and efficient and effective natural resource stewardship, environmental wellbeing, resilience, peace and security.” - – José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General (speech delivered by Maria Helena Semedo,
FAO Deputy Director-General for Natural Resources at the 3rd OWG on SDGs in May 2013)
FAO, which is part of the UN Technical Support Team (TST) that provides analysis, background material and panellists to the OWG, has co-led the preparation of issues briefs on oceans and seas, forests and biodiversity for the 8th OWG in February 2014. It follows the Organization’s co-leadership of brief preparation on sustainable agriculture (with IFAD), and food security and nutrition (with WFP and IFAD) for the 3rd OWG in May, which had built on the High Level Consultation on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition, and contribution to briefs in 15 areas related to sustainable development (see below).
A number of side events will also be held during the OWG sessions where civil society and private sector organizations, UN agencies and other stakeholders will have the opportunity of organising lunch-time activities linked to the session theme.
Next sessions of the OWG:
5th OWG: 25-27 November
- Energy (1.5 days)
- Sustained and inclusive economic growth, macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system and external debt sustainability), infrastructure development and Industrialization (1.5 days)
6th OWG: 9-13 December
- Means of implementation; Global partnership for achieving sustainable development (2 days)
- Needs of countries in special situations, African countries, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS as well as the specific challenges facing the middle-income countries (2 days)
- Human rights, the right to development, global governance (1 day)
7th OWG: 6-10 January 2014
- Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport (2 days)
- Sustainable consumption and production (including chemicals and waste) (1.5 days)
- Climate change and disaster risk reduction (1.5 days)
8th OWG: 3-7 February, 2014
- Oceans and seas, forests, biodiversity (2 days) (Co-led by UNEP and FAO)
- Promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment (1.5 days)
- Conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding and the promotion of durable peace, rule of law and governance (1.5 days)
The Post-2015 Development Agenda featured prominently in discussions at the 40th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome where more than 130 government delegations, 100 civil society and 50 private sector organizations gathered between 7 and 11 October.
Beginning with Monday’s opening side-event, “Sustainable agricultural productivity and nutrition targets in the post-2015 development framework”, organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to Friday’s Special Event of the Rome-based Agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP), “Natural resource management for food security in the context of the post-2015 development agenda”, the week-long annual meeting of the multistakeholder forum saw participants explore different facets of the process to decide successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.
The presence of Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and co-chair of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals - the main intergovernmental forum that will define new successor goals – helped carry the New York conversation into the minds of the 750 people who met at FAO headquarters.
Appearing on a number of panels, the ambassador highlighted progress made since the inception of the MDGs with hundreds of millions of people pulled out of poverty, but said new goals would be “fundamentally different - more ambitious, sustainable, transformative and universal”, identifying the needs, roles, and responsibilities of both the North and the South.
“Attempting to sustain the consumption habits of one billion people has pushed the world’s natural resources and ecosystems to their limits and now a collective effort is required by all stakeholders to address this problem,” said Mr Kamau before urging the CFS to take up the challenge of being the political driver on issues of food security and nutrition. “New York will only reflect what we hear is important from member states.”
Visibility at key events, reporting recommendations to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and talking to governments, who are members of the OWG and decision-making bodies, were highlighted as ways of raising issues of food, nutrition and agriculture in New York.
While the conversation naturally veered towards identifying goals, targets and indicators in the post-2015 agenda, there were also a significant number of calls from groups for proper policy scrutiny to ensure that impact would be as powerful on the ground as it was on paper.
“Policies are often very good, but support and secondary measures must also be present to ensure better implementation,” said Fatimatou Hima, Niger representative of the international peasant’s movement, La Via Campesina. “Policy coherence and effective implementation are crucial to achieving poverty reduction and food security.”
While members discussed different ways of bringing CFS’ voice to UN headquarters, Camilla Toulmin, Director of the UK-based International Institute on Environment and Development, called on New York to do more to identify concerns at grassroots level.
“We will not solve the planet’s problems through a top-down process alone but by being part of the process,” she said. “We must link up a lot of the energy and action that is happening at sub-national, at grassroots level. And we must think how this links into the whole debate to make sure that the fine words around the SDGs are put into practice.”
The OWG is expected to report back to the UN General Assembly with a set of sustainable development goals by September 2014.
The official UN report summarising findings from public consultations and surveys to identify priorities for the post-2015 development agenda has now been published.
“A Million Voices: The World We Want” was based on the 11 global thematic consultations that had engaged more than 1.3 million people in all 193 UN Member States between August 2012 and April 2013.
FAO and WFP had co-led the Global Thematic Consultation on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition, with more than 250 contributions from this platform (http://www.worldwewant2015.org/food2015) contributing to the Madrid Statement (LINK) which fed into the UN report.
In total, more than 300,000 people engaged in face-to-face meetings in 88 countries with another million participating through the MY World 2015 options survey, using digital channels, SMS and extensive offline interactions through a network of over 700 civil society partners.