The CFS is the United Nations' forum for reviewing policies concerning world food. It is the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all relevant stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition.
23 April 2013, Rome - FAO recognizes Nicaragua's great efforts in the fight against hunger, FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva told Nicaragua's Foreign Minister Samuel Santos López today. They held a bilateral meeting at FAO headquarters during FAO's governing Council session taking place this week.
Between 1990 and 2010, Nicaragua reduced the prevalence of undernourishment in the country from 55.1% to 20.1%, thus successfully meeting Millennium Development Goal 1, which is to halve the proportion of people suffering from hunger.
22 April 2013, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today opened the FAO Council, presenting the 2014-2015 Programme of Work and Budget which calls for an increase of 1 percent of the Organization's budget in real terms to support the Organization's core work in fighting hunger and malnutrition and promoting sustainable agricultural development.
The Director-General also presented the accomplishments over the past year in cutting bureaucracy and other costs that will help the organization to operate more effectively.
13 March 2013 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will soon test a new, faster and more precise way of measuring hunger and food insecurity in four pilot countries in Africa.
The new approach relies on gathering information on the extent and severity of hunger from food-insecure people, through a carefully-designed annual survey to be conducted in collaboration with polling specialists Gallup, Inc, the agency said in a news release.
Known as the Voices of the Hungry project, the new approach will be tested beginning this month on a pilot basis in Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger. These countries have agreed to move towards the complete eradication of hunger, in line with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Zero Hunger challenge.
The plan is to then extend the survey to more than 160,000 respondents in up to 150 countries covered by the Gallup World Poll and to publish updated results on each country every year. The project will run for five years and will lead to the establishment of a new FAO-certified standard for food security monitoring that could then be easily adopted by other household surveys.
“This innovative method will be an essential tool for governments, civil society and other national and international organizations in the fight against hunger,” says Jomo Sundaram, FAO Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development.
“It will also be key to increasing the accountability of governments and in encouraging them to commit to hunger eradication.”
FAO noted that, despite recent improvements, the methodology it currently uses is not able to provide a comprehensive picture of the many dimensions of hunger. Right now, FAO is able to accurately monitor food availability at the national level, particularly in terms of potential energy intake.
The new tool will measure food access at the individual level, and will provide a clearer idea of personal experiences with food insecurity.
As part of the pilot project, nationally representative samples of 1,000 to 5,000 people, depending on the size of the country, will be selected to answer eight questions designed to reveal whether and how respondents have experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months.
They will be asked questions such as – During the last 12 months, was there a time when, because of lack of money or other resources: You were worried you would run out of food?; You were unable to eat healthy and nutritious food?; You ate only a few kinds of foods?; You had to skip a meal?
“This is an exciting new initiative for FAO because it will enable us to better understand the severity of food insecurity in a cost-effective and timely way,” says Carlo Cafiero, the FAO statistician in charge of the project. “It will also provide FAO with an affordable and methodologically consistent tool for monitoring hunger worldwide.”
Results of the surveys will be available in days rather than years, allowing FAO to take an almost real-time snapshot of a nation’s food insecurity situation.
20 February 2013 – A year after the international community launched a massive humanitarian response to the food crisis affecting Africa’s Sahel region, millions of people there are still affected by drought and require assistance, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
“This year, some nine million people across the Sahel will still require food assistance from WFP, through emergency food assistance, rural development, nutrition and education activities,” said Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director.
Ms. Cousin was the host of a high-level event in Rome bringing together leaders of humanitarian agencies, government representatives from affected countries and major donors to review the effectiveness of the assistance provided to the region.
Last year the international community helped to avert a humanitarian catastrophe by providing $1.2 billion in assistance to around 10 million people across eight countries in the Sahel, noted a news release issued by WFP.
“However, millions of people in the region are still affected by drought, with close to 1.5 million children under the age of five at risk of severe acute malnutrition,” said the agency.
Ms. Cousin emphasized that boosting food security and building resilience lies at the heart of the collective efforts to change the pattern of recurring drought and continue on the path towards a better future.
WFP says that crop prospects are currently encouraging, but there is a high risk of future shocks, due to increased rates of poverty and undernourishment, extreme weather, environmental degradation, low investment in agriculture, high prices and vulnerability to market volatility.
Also, the conflict in Mali has triggered widespread displacement in the region, uprooting half a million people and placing pressure on communities still recovering from drought.
The western part of the Sahel region, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and parts of Sudan, Cameroon and Nigeria, is facing a swathe of problems, which are not only political but also involve security, humanitarian resilience and human rights.
Last September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi as his Special Envoy for the Sahel and tasked him with shaping and mobilizing an effective UN and international response to the multiple crises facing the region.
“The focus of the United Nations strategy for the Sahel is on the people of the region, to help them address the root causes of instability, with special emphasis on marginalized communities,” said Mr. Prodi. “My role is to bring the best minds and all the resources possible around key long-term development issues that critically affect the peoples of the region.”
Today’s event also featured a short documentary film, “The Human Chain,” which chronicles the humanitarian response to last year’s Sahel crisis, illustrates various forms of assistance – including cash and vouchers, special nutrition programmes to prevent severe cases of malnutrition as well as support for smallholder farmers to improve their self-reliance in the face of difficult climatic and economic conditions.
14 February 2013, New York - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today urged the international community to adopt a specific time frame for the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty.
He told a special joint meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council and the Economic and Financial Committee of the General Assembly in New York:
"We are approaching 2015, the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.
"Reaching MDG 1 (halving extreme poverty and hunger) is possible. Let's make a final push and let's use this momentum to set a bolder goal moving into the post-2015 period.
"Let us collectively embrace the Zero Hunger Challenge and fix an established time frame to end hunger and extreme poverty."
Ban Ki-moon's challenge
The Zero Hunger challenge launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June 2012 calls for the eradication of hunger "within our lifetimes". Graziano da Silva today proposed adding a more specific objective in time.
"Setting a hunger eradication goal reflects the urgency we need and that needs to be present in post-2015," he declared.
A global, multi-stakeholder consultation held in Rome on Monday on the world development agenda on hunger beyond 2015 agreed that food security and nutrition should be the central element in future development efforts.
FAO's governing Council agreed last December to make the eradication, rather than the reduction, of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition its number one objective.
Today's New York meeting, on Food Security and Nutrition: Scaling up the Global Response, was held in collaboration with FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
14 February 2013, Rome – In acknowledgement of the importance of partnership in tackling global issues, the staff of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have today been recognized for their outstanding work together in Mozambique.
Over the past several years, the UN food agencies’ country teams have collaborated effectively to help improve the country’s food security situation.
“Staff of the three agencies in Mozambique have leveraged their comparative advantages and knowledge to achieve an impressive level of synergy, put at the service of the most vulnerable in society,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. “The programmes that they pushed forward with skill and commitment have helped thousands of small farmers and their families.”
The first Award of Excellence: Working Together in the Field was presented to Mozambique-based staff members of the three organizations at an event held in Rome during the IFAD Governing Council. The award hopes to encourage further cooperation among the agencies by recognizing excellent work already achieved.
“Where we work together, particularly on the basis of our converging objectives and mandates, our cooperation highlights the key priorities for food and nutrition security,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze.
Cited in the Mozambique teams’ nomination was a joint pilot programme that focused on improving production quality and reducing post-harvest losses for smallholder farmers. From 2008 to 2011, the programme reached 17 000 farmers from 14 farmers’ associations, some of whom saw their marketable surplus increase by as much as 30 percent.
The programme, called Building Commodity Value Chains and Market Linkages for Farmers’ Associations, has been previously recognized as one of the best examples of UN cooperation. Each agency contributed an area of expertise: WFP’s local procurement models were bolstered by FAO and IFAD’s technical capacity in boosting production, improving storage and business management and increasing access to credit.
“No single organization can solve the challenge of food security alone. The spirit of collaboration demonstrated by our agencies’ teams is essential to effectively perform the work required to help Mozambicans lift themselves out of hunger and poverty,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “We must continue working closely together; most importantly, aligning our goals and actions for the benefit of those we serve.”
Building on the success of their previous projects, the agencies are also demonstrating their cooperative efforts through a programme known as Accelerating Progress towards MDG1 in Mozambique. Under the new programme, the agencies aim to increase the demand for nutritious foods among participating farmers and fishers, thereby improving their food and nutrition security. The agencies will continue to work closely with the Government of Mozambique to ensure support for national priorities.
13 February 2013 – Nutrition and food security should be the top development goal as the international community sets its priorities beyond 2015, the target date for a achieving the globally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), senior United Nations officials have stressed.
“In line with the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, and in close collaboration with our development partners, we agree that nothing less than the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition is what we should be striving for,” said José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Opening the global consultation on hunger, food security and nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda, held in Rome on Monday, Mr. Graziano da Silva urged the international community to commit to the complete eradication of hunger in setting its development priorities beyond 2015.
Halving the proportion of hungry people in the world by 2015 was among the targets within the eight MDGs. Some 50 countries are on track to achieve this target, the Director-General noted.
Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive-Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), urged countries to continue to work together to make hunger “the world’s number one solvable problem.”
Meanwhile, Carlos Serè, Chief Development Strategist of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), emphasized that “investing in the sustainable development of rural areas and in inclusive rural growth,” with a focus on smallholder agriculture, is critical for global food security and to the whole post-2015 agenda.
The one-day consultation called for including a focus on nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda, as well as for dealing with the different dimensions of under-nutrition and the fast-growing problems of obesity and related non-communicable diseases, according to a news release issued by FAO.
It also stressed, among other things, that food security and nutrition represent the cornerstone for progress on other development fronts such as employment, education, the environment and health and in achieving a quality future for humankind, the agency reported.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Zero Hunger Challenge, first proposed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil last June, aims for a future where every individual has adequate nutrition. Its five objectives are to make sure that everyone in the world has access to enough nutritious food all year long; to end childhood stunting; to build sustainable food systems; to double the productivity and income of smallholder farmers, especially women; and to prevent food from being lost or wasted.
11 February 2013, Rome – FAO and the International Academy of Gastronomy (AIG) will combine their strengths to combat hunger and poverty, with particular emphasis on food price volatility, the promotion of sustainable food consumption, the conservation of biodiversity and the revalorization of neglected crops.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect with AIG, a non-profit organization that aims to safeguard and develop regional and national cultures and their culinary heritage.
The two parties will establish channels of communication that will facilitate the identification of opportunities to jointly promote the study and the dissemination of knowledge regarding food, including best practices in the fields of nutrition and gastronomy, with the goal of achieving sustainable food and nutrition security and to bring an end to hunger and poverty in the world.
The two partners will do this using their respective comparative advantages and accumulated experience, including synergies with other partners, such as international organizations, the private sector and civil society. FAO and AIG will work together to create educational programmes and to support awareness raising on food and nutrition, including through cooking demonstrations and tastings.
The joint activities and awareness-raising will target key events and dates throughout the year, such as World Food Day every October.
Feeding the world's hungry is a daunting task, but one that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is actively doing every day.
The WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. In emergencies, it supplies food to victims of war, civil conflict and natural disasters.
On average, WFP reaches 90 million people with food assistance in more than 73 countries.
Feeding a hungry world and what role Saskatchewan has to play in that fight were discussed at a forum hosted by the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP).
The Saskatchewan Global Food Security Forum brought together the members from the WFP, their partners and Saskatchewan agricultural enterprises.
The event provided participants an opportunity to hear the needs of the WFP, and how Saskatchewan's innovation in agriculture can be applied.
"I think the message I heard today is that it's a hungry planet and there is going to be more and more demand put on the land, and on the scientists to grow crops that are nutritious and have lots of value," said STEP president and CEO Lionel La-Belle.
Ramiro Armando de Oliveira Lopes da Silva, assistant executive director of the WFP, said it is not a question food being available.
It's a question of "connecting the food with those who need it."
"Our goal is to provide the right food, at the right time, to the right person," da Silva said.
Mary-Ellen McGroaty, deputy director of procurement for the WFP, said Saskatchewan has a number of areas of expertise that will be vital in feeding the world's hungry.
"I think there is incredible knowledge around the agro-processing sector from here," McGroaty said. "In addition to the traditional products that we buy - last year we bought over 10,000 tonnes of pulses from Canada - we are also interested in nutritionally improved products."
She said the next generation of products will be more nutritionally enriched.
"Our purchase of super cereals went up 300 per cent last year," she said, adding, "These are critical products for our emergency response."
Saskatchewan can export not just goods, but also its expertise.
"We also do a lot of exporting of knowledge," LaBelle said. "We may act as a project manager or we may bring Saskatchewan companies that have consultant services.
"And the World Food Programme does a lot of procurement outside of food," he added. "(Like) large structures for storage, grain handling equipment, grain milling equipment - we do that stuff."
After the forum STEP organized about 50 one-on-one meetings with Saskatchewan enterprises and WFP staff to see how they can become involved with the WFP.
? At the Global Food Security Forum Julian Fantino, Minister of International Co-operation, announced Canada's annual pledge under the new Food Assistance Convention, which promises to make the provision of food assistance more efficient and effective.
"Canada's support will help address the basic food and nutrition needs of millions of people facing hunger," Fantino said.
Canada has pledged to provide a minimum annual commitment of $250 million in food assistance promising to help make delivery of food more efficient.
? The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) announced the appointment of three directors to its founding board: Dallas Howe, current chair of the board of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.; Alanna Koch, Deputy Minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture; and Peter MacKinnon, former president of the University of Saskatchewan.
In addition to these founding board members, three additional directors will be nominated and appointed to the GIFS board in 2013.
5 February 2013 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called on countries to boost efforts to promote agroforestry, a practice involving the combination of trees with crop or livestock production, stressing it can help millions of people escape poverty and prevent environmental degradation, making it crucial to ensure food security in the future.
“In many countries the potential of agroforestry to enrich farmers, communities and industry has not been fully exploited,” said FAO’s Director of Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division, Eduardo Mansur.
“Despite the numerous benefits of agroforestry, the sector is largely hampered by adverse policies, legal constraints and lack of coordination between the sectors to which it contributes, namely, agriculture, forestry, rural development, environment and trade.”
Agroforestry combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more productive and sustainable systems for land use. According to FAO, the agroforestry sector is a significant source both of local commodities such as fuelwood, timber, fruit and fodder for livestock as well as global ones such as coconut, coffee, tea, rubber and gum.
In a new guide aimed at decision-makers, non-governmental organizations and governmental institutions, FAO shows how agroforestry can be integrated into national strategies and how policies can be adjusted to specific conditions.
The guide provides 10 tracks for policy action, including raising awareness of agroforestry systems among farmers and the global community; reforming unfavourable regulations in forestry, agricultural and rural codes; and clarifying land-use policy regulations.
The guide also provides examples of best practices and success stories, such as Costa Rica where more than 10,000 contracts have been signed for agroforestry over the past eight years, resulting in the planting of more than 3.5 million trees on farms.
In addition, the guide argues policymakers should create incentives to implement agroforestry. For example, farmers introducing trees on farms should be rewarded in the form of grants, tax exemptions, cost-sharing programmes, microcredits or through assistance to develop their infrastructure.
Long-term credit is also key as benefits to farmers planting trees reach them only after some years. The value of carbon sequestered and other environmental services provided by the trees could also be applied to paying the interest.
The guide was developed by FAO in cooperation with the World Agroforestry Centre, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre and the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development.