Opportunities for political progress in 2013?
In 2012 the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) announced that almost 870 million people in the world are chronically undernourished, and 100 million children under five are underweight. In Africa in particular, the number of hungry has grown in the last 20 years from 175 million to 239 million, with nearly 20 million added in the past four years.
So what are some of the key political opportunities in 2013 to ensure that action on combating hunger tops the global agenda?
From 1st January until 30th June 2013 Ireland will host the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In addition to preparation work on the post-2015 MDG framework, this presidency will also likely oversee agreement on the financing instruments on development cooperation under the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020). A new EU policy on nutrition will be agreed in the coming months. The Irish government is also hosting an international conference on hunger, nutrition and climate justice in Dublin in April 2013.
The new year has also heralded the start of the UK presidency of the G8 in 2013. The UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK’s presidency will include action to build on the Olympic Hunger Summitand the US’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition agreed in 2012, ensuring that the G8 leads the way in the battle against hunger. I will be watching with interest the further development of UK proposals.
We are yet to learn if the G20 meetings hosted by the Russian presidency of 2013 will provide a further opportunity to build on the G20 initiatives to take action on food price volatility and agriculture. This is another forum to watch in the year ahead.
2013 will also mark the ten year anniversary of the African Union’s Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security of 2003. I hope that AU member states will choose to make 2013 the year of agriculture and food security for their continent.
The UK is also playing an leading role in a UN high-level panel (HLP) to advise on post-2015 MDG agenda. Reporting to the Secretary-General in May 2013, the UK Prime Minister and his fellow co-chairs will seek to ensure a focus on three dimensions: economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability.
The UN HLP will also seek to link to the intergovernmental open working group (OWG) established to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). The OWG will present their report to the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2013. As I have long argued for a doubly green revolution that is productive, stable, resilient, and equitable, I am keen to ensure that the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of feeding the world are captured in any new targets.
There will be many opportunities for action on sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security in 2013. The outcomes of those opportunities will depend on the political will to commit and to deliver on this critical agenda. I hope you will join me in continuing to press for results in 2013.
This post was first published on Ag4Impact.