Bangladesh: A Comprehensive Approach to Food Security

The afternoon session of the second day of the CFS was a review of National Initiatives for Food Security and Nutrition. There were four case studies to choose from:

  1. Bangladesh: A Comprehensive Approach to Food Security: The National Food Policy Plan of Action.
  2. Haiti:  Achieving food security in protracted crisis
  3. Rwanda: CAADP from the perspective of a country
  4. Jordan: Bets practices in safety nets nutrition, and their links to supporting local production.

I attended the first case study: Bangladesh.

Bangladesh approved their National Food Policy Plan of Action (NFP) in 2008.  The Plan includes 26 areas of intervention and 314 actions and is consistent with other policies and plans while remaining target oriented. They have adopted a twin-track (short and medium/long term strategies).  The Minister of Finance spoke of the country’s involvement of CSOs in helping with monitoring as well as the involvement of CSOs in the planning and negotiation of the Plan.

CSO participants attending the session brought up the following concerns and questions in their interventions:

  • Request to expand the institutional framework to a multi-stakeholder system and include CSO engagement and get them to participate in the development of solutions.
  • Will Right to Food Legislation be introduced in Bangladesh.
  • The discussion of increases in food production not leading to reduced hunger highlights questions is distribution and inequality.
  • What policies are in place to support small-scale producers to ensure economic viability of this work and also ensure poverty reduction at the household level?
  • Questions about job production and consultation with workers.

It is interesting to note that the US presented 4 “improvements to the Plan”

  1. Comprehensive financing plan (including gaps for funders)
  2. Beneficiary impact analysis (to be used as a baseline for monitoring and evaluation)
  3. Policy reform agenda to meet programme objectives
  4. Consultation plan for engagement with the private sector.

Here the Minister of Bangladesh replied that agriculture is the private sector and while they may not be consulting Cargill but they are working with other smaller companies and gave several examples of national companies who are involved in the process.

The presentation was very strong as were replies to questions.  This session worked well and allowed for spontaneous discussion which for those familiar with UN meetings, is not the norm.  In fact, I think the only delegation with a prepared position was the USA.

Here is a video on food security initiatives in Bangladesh that was played at the start of the session. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh3ftQCCnxU

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