Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030 – HLPE report
The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) warns that the world is falling short on SDG 2 — “Zero Hunger”
A new report published calls upon governments and other actors to undertake urgent measures to radically transform food systems, to realize the right to food and ensure food security and nutrition for all — especially in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent data on food security and nutrition show that the global community is falling short on Agenda 2030 targets, especially the Sustainable Development Goal on achieving zero hunger (“SDG 2”), with an estimated (pre-COVID-19) 821 million people experiencing chronic undernourishment and with poor nutrition contributing to nearly 45 percent of the deaths in children under the age of five. “The COVID-19 pandemic makes this situation even more urgent: world hunger is projected to rise, with the most affected being the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population”, says Martin Cole, the HLPE Chairperson.
The report, entitled “Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030” is based on the analysis of food security and nutrition concepts, outcomes, drivers and critical policy directions that are vital for meeting SDG 2 targets and the entire 2030 Agenda. Cole says “the timing of this report is crucial, as the state of global food security and nutrition is alarming, with an increased number of undernourished people and the spreading of all forms of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity.” Furthermore, he adds, “it is vital that the global community seizes this moment to adopt new frameworks for food security and nutrition which are centred on the right to food and on a sustainable food systems approach”.
The report recommends FOUR POLICY SHIFTS to achieve more sustainable food systems and the realization of the right to food. They include:
1. Support a radical transformation of food systems from production to consumption, including measures that empower the most vulnerable and marginalized food system actors; promote regenerative production practices, such as agroecology; and support the development of diverse distribution networks, such as territorial markets.
2. Take into account the interconnectedness of different systems and sectors, including measures that improve coordination across sectors — such as the economy, health, environment, agriculture and food — and take interaction of food systems with other systems into account; explicitly address climate change across all aspects of food systems; and learn from crises, such as COVID-19, to build more resilient food systems.
3. Address hunger and all forms of malnutrition, including through measures that support healthy, nutritious and sustainable food choices; and address all forms of malnutrition, including hunger, obesity and overweight, and micronutrient deficiencies.
4. Develop context-specific solutions, taking local conditions and knowledge into account, including measures that tackle the distinct challenges that arise in diverse types of rural and urban contexts; and address the unique challenges posed by conflict situations.
“These policy shifts will make the radical transformation of food systems possible and will get the global community closer to achieving the SDGs, especially SDG 2”, explains Jennifer Clapp, HLPE Steering Committee’s report Team Leader. “The HLPE report outlines a set of concrete recommendations necessary to make these policy shifts possible”, Prof. Clapp adds.
In addition, the report calls for the evolution of the concept of food security and nutrition to recognize the centrality of “agency” and “sustainability”, along with the four other recognized food security dimensions of availability, access, utilization and stability. Agency, according to the report, refers to the capacity of individuals or groups to make their own decisions about what foods they eat, what foods they produce, how that food is produced, processed and distributed within food systems, and their ability to engage in processes which shape food system policies and governance. Sustainability refers to the long-term ability of food systems to provide food security and nutrition in such a way that does not compromise the economic, social and environmental bases that generate food security and nutrition for future generations.
As the world gears up for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, which will gather the world’s heads of states and governments, the HLPE calls for widespread adoption of policies to achieve sustainable food systems, which will not only be more resilient to crises, but also more equitable and inclusive, empowering and respectful, regenerative, healthy and nutritious, as well as productive and prosperous for all.
Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030