The human and economic costs of food insecurity are enormous. Currently, 925 million people are food and nutrition insecure. In other words, nearly one billion people are permanently suffering from hunger. Hungry adults will experience lethargy and diminished physical capabilities, which impacts significantly on their ability to engage in economic activities. Malnutrition alone causes the death of 2.6 million children every year. A child below the age of two suffering from hunger will experience stunting - their mental and physical capabilities will be damaged for life, affecting their prospects of future employment and general well-being.
DAC members and partner Governments are channelling increased resources into agriculture in order to help achieve food security and MDG 1 – halving hunger by 2015.
With the dramatic rise of global food prices in 2008, Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) gained a high level of political attention and has held a stronger focus among G8 and G20. A significant number of bilateral and international initiatives on food security were launched: The United Nations (UN) established a High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on the Global Food Security Crisis, the G8 agreed the Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI), which pledged USD 22bn for agriculture and food security. The FAO convened the World Summit on Food Security in Rome in 2009, at which participating governments committed to reverse the trend of declining investment in agriculture and adopted the Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security. Many DAC members have launched new strategies and programmes to fight hunger.
The success of these initiatives and the impact of external resources and efforts in improving nutrition and eradicating hunger will depend largely on the quality of policy frameworks, strategies and public expenditure programmes in partner countries.
DAC Work on Food Security and Nutrition
The DAC’s work on Food Security is intended to help identify how its members can engage with partner governments and other country-level stakeholders to strengthen and support national policies where these are weak or unsupportive of critical resourcing and actions for food security.
- Survey on DAC Member Approaches to Food Security and Nutrition. The survey is intended to provide information on how DAC members are currently engaging in policy dialogue on food security with partner Governments, how the dialogue is pursued and what it is expected to achieve. This work focuses on a results based framework for food security and nutrition, contributing to better managing for development results, improved targeting of ODA for FNS and reporting on best practices.
- A brochure on the tracking of aid for food security and agriculture; and monitoring and reporting on the delivery of the pledges made under the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) is now available. It shows initial findings, poses methodological questions and proposes further analysis and potential responses. This allows for a comparison to be made between what donors have been focusing on under AFSI, as well as their broader efforts to promote FNS. The brochure is part of a wider programme of tracking the AFSI donors’ aid for food security and nutrition. Download the brochure (.pdf, 2MB).
- Results and efficacy of food security support: The OECD DAC Network on Development Evaluation recently reviewed evidence on food security support, looking at the effectiveness and impacts of programmes aimed at increasing food production, developing value chains for food products, reforming markets and improving land security. The findings are summarised in a short policy brief: Evaluation Insights #5: Improving Food Security. Other evaluations of food security, nutrition, agriculture and related development co-operation activities can be found on the online DAC Evaluation Resource Centre (DEReC).
- Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is being promoted in the OECD across directorates. The work proposals by the Trade and Agriculture Directorate (TAD) and Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) provide the opportunity to bring together work on effectiveness, policies, ODA and PCD being done by the two directorates and to engage the DAC/Committee for Agriculture (CoAG) policy communities with developing country policy makers in a dialogue on priorities for policy reform. The proposed work will involve examining: the impacts felt in developing countries through the effects of OECD and emerging economies’ policies on global food markets; coherence of donor ODA and non-ODA policies at country level with each other and with developing countries’ own food security strategies; the projected impact of improved OECD ODA and non-ODA policy coherence on food security.
- Supporting international platforms addressing aspects of food security is also an important part of the work being undertaken. Previously, TAD and DCD have been involved in the G8/G20/AFSI by providing support to the respective presidencies on issues related to food security, food price volatility and agricultural productivity. DCD has and will continue to be involved in the United Nations High Level Task Force (UNHLTF) on food security and is also a member of the Global Donor Platform on Rural Development.
The Global Forum on Agriculture, in November 2012, will focus on policy coherence for food security in developing countries. The objectives of the Forum include: defining an agenda for future work on policy coherence for food security; assessing the role of donors and cooperation in fostering food security; assessing the current practices of donors and partner countries concerning aid for FNS discussing the need for investment in agriculture; gauging the perspectives of developing countries on areas and opportunities for OECD contributions to improved food security.