4 April 2014

Africa: UN Rome-Based Agencies Reveal Food Security and Nutrition Targers for Post-2015 Agenda

press release

Rome — Liberian President and Italian Vice-Minister join high-level meeting of FAO, IFAD, WFP

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) unveiled today the results of their joint work to develop targets and indicators for a new global development paradigm for sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition. This is a critical piece in the three agencies' contribution to the ongoing intergovernmental discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The targets and indicators were presented at a high-level meeting at WFP headquarters, where the President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was guest of honour. The Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lapo Pistelli also attended the meeting.

epresentatives from the three agencies stressed the need to finish the job of the MDGs that expire in 2015, but also to broaden their scope to address deeper issues of universal relevance like malnutrition, sustainable and inclusive food systems, and their inter-linkages. The three agencies identified a list of five targets:

Access to adequate food all year round for all people.

End malnutrition in all its forms with special attention to stunting.

Make all food production systems more productive, sustainable, resilient and efficient.

Secure access for all small food producers, especially women, to adequate inputs, knowledge, productive resources and services.

More efficient post-production food systems that reduce the global rate of food loss and waste by 50 percent.

The UN Rome-based agencies emphasized that progress in these areas would have to come through innovative partnerships - among governments, with the private sector, with development institutions, and with all members of society, from producers to consumers. New governance mechanisms would also be needed to monitor impact, ensure accountability, and give different stakeholders a voice in decision-making. Attention was drawn to the important role in global food security of small-scale food producers, who need to be at the centre of new investments and new partnerships for a hunger-free world.

"The overarching priority of the post-2015 development agenda is the eradication of poverty in all its forms," said President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is co-Chair of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda. "The Common African Position drawing from the African Union's 2063 long-term agenda is a resolve to deliver on our various declarations and commitments on the social and economic integration, poverty eradication, and employment generation for our people. It aims to reorient the development paradigm away from externally-driven initiatives toward domestically-inspired and funded initiatives."

The new targets are in line with the UN Secretary-General's Zero Hunger Challenge, which envisions a world where, within our lifetime, no-one experiences chronic hunger and malnutrition. The work of the three Rome-based agencies has been consistently inspired by this shared vision.

FAO Deputy Director-General for Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo, stated that the targets would inform UN Member States currently negotiating a set of sustainable development goals. "There can be no sustainable development without eradicating hunger," she said. "We believe that incorporating these five targets in the post-2015 development agenda will ensure a more comprehensive approach to tackling hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition - to nourishing people while nurturing the planet," she noted.

Highlighting the collaboration of the UN agencies IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze said: "A future of 'zero hunger' will not be built by any one organization in isolation. We know that we are stronger and more effective when we work in partnership, including with the billions of rural women and men who work hard each day to ensure our food security."

"Food security and nutrition play a critical role in shaping a brighter tomorrow for today's most vulnerable families particularly the children. Eliminating hunger unlocks the potential of individuals, communities and nations," said WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin. "Achieving these goals will require hardwiring equity into economic growth assuring no one is left behind."

The three UN agencies stressed that successes associated with the MDGs have been substantial in some areas, such as halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, dramatically increasing the number of people with access to safe drinking water as well as boosting primary school enrolment.

But the agencies emphasized that gains were by no means universal and much work still needed to be done given that around 840 million people remain chronically hungry and that poverty continues to be pervasive in rural areas around the world.

The new development goals to be set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 should therefore be a catalyst towards the realization of the right to adequate food, improved nutrition, gender equality, focus on smallholders and sustainable and resilient food systems.

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