5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 21, 2013 8:19 AM by Dorothee GEORG

    Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.

    New User

      Good morning and welcome to the third dayof the online dialogue, dear Participants.


      I am Dorothee Georg, Junior Policy Analyst at the PCD Unit, and will co-moderate today’s discussion, together with my colleague Ulrike Zeigermann.


      We are also very happy and honored to have Bettina Prato, Research Coordinator at IFAD, as an external co-moderator today.


      Today, we would like to focus on the global actions needed to improve food security, and on what can be done to create an enabling environment for food security.


      In order to achieve global food security, a multitude of stakeholders need to be involved. In an era of scarcity, with finite resources and volatile prices, we have shared responsibilities.


      Research finds that there are clear gains from harmonised multilateral actions, such as trade openness, abolishment in subsidies,and sustainable distribution of resources, such as cutting illegal trade and ensuring the environmentally sustainable use of resources.


      Therefore, this Day 3 of the online dialogueis going to deal with how to improve food security at the global level and the potential gains for food security from harmonised multilateral actions.


      To start with, I recommend you this video,which shows Ken Ash, Director of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate,discussing how to build global food security through trade and investment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cPhzGKNmxk

      Ken Ash stresses that food security is closely linked to poverty that is about more than “just” about prices, supply of food or about developing any given sector, e.g. the agricultural sector. It is about the creation of long term solutions for global food security through the creation of the right enabling conditions for reaching food security. It is about creating opportunities and about getting the policy framework right, through effective structural policies in a variety of areas: health, education, agricultural sectors, etc. This is where the policy coherence lens proves helpful, to analyse the interconnectedness of policy areas and design coherent policies.


      Multilateral actions are needed to create these enabling framework conditions for food security. Policies need to realign with market realities, i.e. increase trade openness and investment in innovation. Businessas usual is not bringing us where we want to be and won’t help increase agricultural productivity.


      In order to reduce poverty around the world, to introduce structural, efficient policies reducing hunger and improving the access to food, and to further wide spread, inclusive, economic development, international barriers and subsidies should be eliminated, for instance. The cost of protectionism is much greater than the expected benefits, and to abolish these and other harmful barriers, various actors at the global, multilateral stage will need to work together.


      • What areas of global actions do you consider most important for achieving food security? What multilateral areas should be tackled first for reforms?
      • How can the strengthening of the international trading system improve food security?


      (Please note that the opinions expressed during this online dialogue are ours alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OECD)

        • Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.
          New User

          Dear Participants,


          We had a very interesting comment yesterday, made by Tiina Huvio, Coordinator for the Finnish Agri-Agency fo Food and Forest Development (FFD), on the global actions needed to improve food security, and multilateral attempts to do so.   I copy/paste it below (you can also see it by clicking here: https://community.oecd.org/thread/15893?tstart=0 and scolling down the page) and would be happy to hear your reactions to it!


          Best regards,




          "My name is Tiina Huvio and I work as a coordinator for the Finnish Agri-Agency fo Food and forest development (FFD) which supports farmer organisations in developing countries. In Finland, the Foreign Ministry organised a process analysing our possibilities to enhance policy coherence supporting food security which was an interesting process. It underlined the complexity of the theme and how there are multiple factors influencing it in different levels and with a different time-perspective. One of the most important achievements of this process for me were: i) a common vocabulary for all the stakeholders involved in the process and ii) recognition of the importance of this matter.


          At the global level, there are some major trends that in my opinion are corner stones for food security. One of the present global trends is the concentration of supply chains and a gradually appearing scarcity of raw materials. Water was already mentioned in the discussion but I'd like to point out that arable land and nutrients needed to maintain fertility of soil are probably as important. Land-grabbing is a phenomenon which will probably only increase in coming years. Therefore, I'd add land and soil nutrients and property rights linked to them as one of the key issues where surveillance is needed to ensure food security in a longer run. FAO has published voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests but I wonder if voluntary attempts are enough to guarantee a balance between rights of different stakeholder groups. Land tenure and complex property rights linked to it (including also water) require more attention in the future.


          Another issue that in my opinion receives too little attention, is access to services by smallholder farmers. I believe that the most important services for them are linked to agricultural inputs, extension and financial services. At the moment, most of smallholders are stagnated to their ancient farming methods which might have worked when the population density was lower and thus there was less pressure on natural resources, but which are becoming increasingly obsolete in front the of the new challenges. While there are reports promoting conservation agriculture as a solution for both productivity and sustainable use of natural resources (e.g. FAO and UNCTAD) as an opposite to large-scale energy-intensive agriculture, there is very little emphasis on how this very knowledge intensive shift in agricultural practices should be reached and by whom. Technology transfer requires a long -term, consistent investment which needs to lean on steady policies for agricultural inputs. If this is not in place, there is a risk that large-scale investors will remain the stakeholder group that will gain the control of food chains gradually. While it is important to have coherence in different policies influencing agriculture, one of the key determinant for successful development of agriculture is a long-term coherence of agricultural policy. In many developing countries, this still needs to be achieved. In particular, seed and fertilizer programs which surge after years of low yields and then dissappear, when donor funds are reduced, have had and continue having a detrimental impact on agriculture.


          All the best, Tiina"

          • Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.
            529980 New User

            Dear Dorothee and participants,


            first of all I would like to join the hosts in welcoming all those who will contribute to this discussion today. My name is Bettina Prato, I am Research Coordinator and Coordinator of the Post-2015 Task Force in IFAD - the International Fund for Agricultural Development (which, in case you do not know it, is the only IFI in the UN system and the only IFI in general specialized in investment in smallholder agriculture and for rural poverty reduction). I am very pleased to participate in this e-dialogue as external co-moderator today.


            Dorothee, I have followed your suggestion in this morning's initial post and went to watch Ken Ash's video on line. Thank you for the very good recommendation! Building on Ken's remarks, and considering the two questions you posed in your initial post, here's one point I would like to emphasize and offer for ideas and comments at this stage (there's more to pick up from the remarks, actually, but I will follow up later in the day). Ken very rightly says that - even assuming a more open, well functioning, equitable trade system in the coming years - a key challenge ahead of us, globally, is to establish an enabling framework for responsible public and private investment in agriculture and in the rural sector (and I would add, in a perspective of addressing not just supply issues but also access - through poverty reduction in particular - especially investment in smallholder agriculture and in the rural sector in areas with a large concentration of smallholder farmers). I think this is a critical point to highlight when we consider in what areas there is most urgent need for global action to address global food security - and with "this" I mean the area of creating incentives, policy frameworks, safeguards, and risk management tools to mobilize and align new and responsible investments in this sector. This is, incidentally, or perhaps not, also a key issue in current debates around the post-2015 agenda and how it will be implemented (an issue touched upon in this e-dialogue a couple of days ago), and of course also in the whole post-Busan development effectiveness process. The general direction of the debate seems to be towards more focus on the role of private investments in development in general - including the area of food security and improved nutrition - and how to use public policies AND public investments to mobilize the right kinds of private investments.


            This is a huge area of work and of debate, of course. OECD has also contributed quite significantly to this, but in addition to the work OECD has already done or has underway, I would also like to remind participants of the rather unique effort now underway in the context of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) to develop principles for responsible agriculture investments, through consultations involving not just member states but also members of the private sector, research institutions, civil society, and international organizations like my own. Once completed, the process should lead to a tool with great potential for use at the global level to encourage PCD in a number of areas with direct or indirect impact on investment in agriculture and in food supply chains in general. Yet, creating the tool is of course only the first step. One immediate question in the aftermath is likely to be: what sort of global mechanism (or mechanisms) are best placed to put to use this sort of tool? How can we ensure that it is actually taken up and does support progress towards PDC (among other things)? and should we worry about the global level of use and possible impact of this sort of tool in the first instance, or should we be happy with this sort of work having at best an indirect influence on global "discourses", seeking more direct impact and adaptation in different contexts and perhaps building a critical mass of new practices from the ground up? Of course, these sorts of questions are not limited to the rai - in the coming years, we may perhaps see more and more of this sort of initiative where tools that can inform PCD on a very large scale are established, but do we have the right institutional frameworks for ensuring they have an impact on actual practice? And what is the right scale to look at this question?


            This is all by way of initial reaction to Ken and to your questions for the time being... I look forward to continuing the conversation in the next few hours!




              • Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.
                New User

                Dear Bettina,


                Many thanks for your input and for raising some very important points!


                You are right in saying that a key challenge globally is to establish an enabling framework for responsible public and private investmentin agriculture and the rural sector. PCD can indeed be a helpful instrument inthat regard, as it points out to the policy interlinkages in this regard and helps identify win-win solutions - for the investor, the recipient, the countries and the regions.

                Furthermore, access for smallholder farmers to sustainable incomes and livelihoods, and access to investment are crucial for food security. They should be supported at all levels, the national, regional and global levels. Furthermore, it is very urgent to create the right incentives for investment, policy frameworks, and safeguards and risk management tools.


                The role of the private sector will indeed play animportant role here. As Ms. Janet Voûte, Global Head of Public Affairs at Nestlé, pointed out in a panel we have organised in New York in September and which you kindly moderated, farmers are at the centre of multi-stakeholder initiatives. In her perspective business success requires attention to sustainability and farming communities (nutrition, energy, and water), as these are not a separate social issues, but closely interlinked with business activities and agricultural gains. Ms. Voûte underlined that food security requires a multi-stakeholder engagement and that public private partnerships based on transparency are an instrumental vehicle for this.


                More coherent policies and collective action will play a key role in improving food security, particularly in the context of a globalised and more interconnected world economy. This requires action at all levels (globally, EU, OECD, nationally) and by different actors (governments in advanced, emerging and developing countries as well a sinternational organisations, private sector, and CSOs).

                It is great to hear about the CFS initiative and I believe that knowledge sharing and the design of frameworks, among others, will be a great way to learn about responsible business conduct and contribute to global food security!




              • Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.
                New User

                Dear participants,


                I would like to join my colleague Dorothee in welcoming you to this discussion on multilateral actions to improve food security.


                While national policies need to be in place in order to ensure people’s access to food, increase sustainability, more responsible use of food, and support stable conditions for farmers, keeping food security and agriculture high on the global development agenda is also essential for addressing the underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition.


                PCD is an important instrument to link food security not only with agriculture, trade and investment but also with health and education in order to identify complex challenges for sustainable development. It can also contribute to a better understanding of mutually beneficial and reinforcing policy areas. Coherent global actions in various policy areas do not only benefit food security, but global efforts for food security can also foster win-win across other policy areas. For instance, numerous studies find positive synergies and benefits between polices. For instance, global action for food security also increases incomes of the poorest households and benefits women within these households. At the same time, gender empowerment is an important factor, as women contribute to a sustainable use of these incomes, investing in health, education, and nutrition of their children, which can ultimately also benefit inclusive growth and lifting up global value chains.

                At the same time, sustainable agriculture differs by landscape and climate. Countries and farmers need flexibility and a variety of solutions to undertake continuous in terms of yields and usage of water, soil and energy. This in an important fact to bear in mind when acting on the multilateral stage. Important questions therefore are also:

                • How can we avoid one-size-fits-all solutions regarding PCD and global food security challenges?
                • What mechanisms do we need to balance potentially conflicting political interests, while taking into consideration local circumstances and particular needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups that have little or no access to multilateral dialogue?



                We look forward to hearing your views!

                • Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.
                  New User

                  Responsible investments (both from private and from public sector) in agriculture are an important piece of PCD, as rightly mentioned by Bettina Prato. More in general production and consumption patterns matter when shaping coherent policies for development. This is the reason why there is the need to involve  actively a broader spectrum of actors on PCD. The Governance of PCD should involve these actors and go beyond just "Governments". This is particularly relevant in the agricultural sector, where there is a complex mix of private and pubblic sector actors, with important national, and even local specificities.

                  • Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.

                    Hello. My name is Karl-Axel Lindgren, I am a recent masters graduate from City University's Centre for Food Policy in London, looking at the food policy of India, and am now working at the Centre for Equity Studies in New Delhi on food security issues.


                    Ebba Dohlman invited me to share some perspectives from India, a country in a subcontinent that will be facing incredible challenges in the 21st century as climate change, land, water and resource restraints and a growing population become more of a reality; of the 800 million food insecure people in the world, 230 million of those reside in India. I cannot speak strongly on the topic of PCD, from my understanding it is an integrated approach that seeks to involve multiple actors and stakeholders among a broad range of interconnected subjects (such as the economic, social and environmental spaces), but instead I was hoping to share the context of India within the pursuit of global food security.


                    I would first like to note that Ulrike Zeigermann's comments on avoiding a one-size-fits-all solution strikes true, particularly within the Indian context, where each state within India find varying solutions to the same problem that work best for their own situation. The state of Utter Pradesh has a larger population than Brazil, and the centralised approach in food distribution has not been successful, plagued by mismanagement, inefficiencies and corruption.


                    As Ken Ash argued, food security has much to do currently with poverty and access than production. Rather than purely increasing incomes, decreasing inequality and improving infrastructure, particularly sanitation, access to clean drinking water, as well as roads and electrical grids, are key aspects of food security. Smallholder farms need to be properly supported, arguably subsidised, to be able to increase yields in a sustainable manner while the pressures of globalisation and global trade decrease their value. Investments and research in sustainable agriculture and government incentives to move away from industrialised agriculture towards more localised production, while not conducive for global trade, are vital in ensuring local food security for the poorest, fair wages for farmers, taking down transportation costs and food waste in storage and transportation. This would also benefit in reducing the amount of nonrenewable energy utilised in the growing of food, although investments in renewable energy, particularly within agriculture, is vitally needed.


                    Women Empowerment is incredibly important within the Indian context, and increasing the responsibilities of women in the household would help prevent the waste of income on non-essential goods such as alcohol and tobacco, and increase the nutrition of children and their education. India has attempted to do this by labelling women as 'heads of households' in the context of food distribution, but much more work needs to be done on this topic. Vulnerable groups of India are ostracised for varying social, political and economic reasons, and support for them is limited to civil society.


                    Finally, and this is a topic I had not seen discussed much when reading through the last day's discussion, is food security in urban areas. The lack of ability to grow food in cities, despite ostensibly higher incomes and greater access than in rural areas, limits the abilities of the poor to ensure nutritional security, and more work needs to be done, in terms of research and development as well as investments, on urban agriculture and integrating the environment into cities. As it is, cities are teeming populations that consume resources, food and suchlike, while contributing waste and pollution. The ability of the city to feed itself will become a vital area of concern in the future.

                    • Day 3: Global actions and how to create the conditions to improve food security on a global level.
                      New User

                      Dear Paolo,


                      Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right to point out that production and consumption are also very important.

                      Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tonnes - gets lost or wasted. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes) (UNEP).

                      Therefore, individuals also have a responsibility in this area, together with countries and advocacy on a national level. We aim at discussing this further on Day 4 of this online dialogue.


                      In order to reduce poverty around the world, globally, it is important to introduce structural, efficient policies reducing hunger and improving access to food, foster responsible investment, and support wide spread, inclusive,economic development. Various actors at the multilateral stage should work together.


                      Already, there have been important changes in the global landscape. Thanks to reform of OECD country agricultural policies, for instance, some of the old concerns regarding policy “incoherence” (such as export subsidies) are now lessof an issue. However, there are new issues regarding PCD, such as emerging actors (e.g. the BRIICS) (mentioned in Day 1 of the dialogue), slow trade negotiations at the WTO, and structural shifts in world market conditions.


                      These should be tackled multilaterally and together, through, for instance,the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) which Bettina mentioned above. Multilateral actors will need to adapt to a new global world, without the traditional "developed versus developing country" divide, through knowledge sharing, linking up with new opportunities to foster development, and also facing new and emerging incoherent policies, such as export restrictions or biofuel mandates.


                      I would like to recoomend two interesting articles in this regard:


                      1.    Written by Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, describing the trade and development nexus and the potential benefits of global actions to facilitate trade, published by our partners ECDPM: http://www.ecdpm.org/Web_ECDPM/Web/Content/Navigation.nsf/index2?readform&http://www.ecdpm.org/Web_ECDPM/Web/Content/Content.nsf/0/6115D71E3A238C71C1257C24003D01C4?OpenDocument
                      2. Writen by Moïsé, E. etal. (2013), “Estimating the Constraints to Agricultural Trade of DevelopingCountries”, OECD Trade Policy Papers, No. 142, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k4c9kwfdx8r-en


                      Kind regards