31 May Council of Europe on Food Security and Nutrition
At the end of May the Council of Europe met and developed conclusions on Food and Nutrition Security in external assistance. You can read it here.
The first big thing to note is reference to food and nutrition security and not food security and nutrition, which is what is still being used by the Committee on World Food Security. For some this will be a victory, for others, a loss.
There is reference to obesity which is welcome. It also promotes a rights-based approach.
Importantly, the recognised the Committee on World Food Security as the foremost platform for food security and nutrition but then goes on to list the other fora they are involved in, many of which undermine the work of the CFS.
Council recalls the EU’s active involvement in international food and nutrition security fora and initiatives, including the Committee on World Food Security as the foremost inclusive multi-stakeholder platform for food and nutrition security, the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, and the 2012 New Alliance partnership to mobilise private sector investment to improve food and nutrition security in Africa.
The council also addressed calls for increased production, but noted the importance of diversifying. I am not sure what this means: support smallholders to protect genetic heritage of their seeds and crops, or more investment to promote more production. I think it’s the later since the next paragraph states:”the Council emphasises the need to facilitate and support responsible private sector investment in agriculture”
They did stress the need to be sustainable.
In order to feed a global population expected to surpass nine billion by 2050, the Council stresses that agricultural production needs to be significantly increased and diversified, particularly in food insecure countries. The Council emphasises the need to boost production in a sustainable and resilient manner, protecting already fragile ecosystems, and ensuring the sustainable use of, and access to, natural resources, in particular land, water, fisheries and forests.
If you read through the document you will see that the council has taken up and supported many of the decisions to come out of the CFS, such as gender-sensitive approaches and food security in protracted crisis.
JeroenWURPosted at 11:09h, 31 May
I think the ‘new’ focus on nutrition was expected. This follows on recent findings of the Court of Auditors and subsequent Parliamentary reports (e.g. A7-0400/2012) that expressed concerns about the neglect of nutrition in previous EU food security programmes. In general one sees that the “1 billion mouths to feed”-discourse more and more also comes to include the two billion people suffering from hidden hunger.
I’m always a bit surprised by Council references to a ‘Rights-based approach’. The right to food seems to apply solely to developing countries, whereas most EU member states have not implemented it.
Third, although the importance of private sector engagement is stressed repeatedly in the conclusions, I find them quite government centred. I know that in Holland, for example, food security policy revolves more and more about creating linkages between businesses, governments, and the academic world, not only within partner countries, but also on a global scale. Current Dutch food security policy has by some been critized for prioritizing the interests of its own businesses above effective development policies, but I think much can be gained by making use of the knowledge and expertise in the EU countries. Of course on the condition that this is done in an inclusive way.
These are my first thoughts…