Good morning and welcome to the second day of our online dialogue. My name is Carina Lindberg and I work as a Policy Analyst in the OECD’s Unit for Policy Coherence for Development. My colleague Ernesto and I will co-moderate today’s discussion together with representatives from the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). Today we will explore how PCD, as a policy tool, can be applied to address the issue of global food security.
Even in a world of unprecedented economic opportunities, over 800 million people in the developing world still suffer from hunger and undernourishment. How can this be? We know that the world produces enough food to feed everyone. Yet, more than one in seven persons still goes hungry!
This incoherence clearly shows that ensuring food security is not simply about producing enough food. Rather, building global food security requires a cross-cutting approach to PCD – one that addresses the different dimensions of food security (availability; accessibility; utilisation; and stability), as well as deals with structural conditions that constrain development.
In this vein, OECD analysis shows that the main challenge of ensuring global food security is to raise the incomes of the poor, and that both agricultural development and rural diversification are needed to foster economic growth and job opportunities. Increased productivity to close the yield gap between advanced and developing countries will require large increases in investment, including from the private sector and farmers themselves. Trade will also have an increasingly important role to play in ensuring global food security.
- In your opinion, how can we best ensure coherence between different policy areas as we strive to achieve global food security? Do you have any examples from your country or from your research that you can share with us?
We look forward to hearing your views!
Good Morning, my name is Kumiko Nada, I work as a Researcher at the Japanese Delegation to the OECD and I follow the theme of Policy Coherence for Development. First of all, I would like to thank Mrs. Dohlman's team and the IUDC-UCM for organising this online dialogue on PCD. We think that PCD on Food Security should be discussed based on the specific issues that each of the developing countries faces rather than generally, in order to produce useful policy recommendations.
Thank you for your comment! We are happy to hear that you appreciate us organising this online dialogue. However, this time around it is organised by the PCD Unit only (and not in collaboration with our Spanish friends). The dialogue is intended to lead up to an event that we are organisning in Brussels during the European Development Days next week.
We agree that PCD should take an issues-based apparoach and we feel that food security is an issue that is relevant for many developing countries. It is important to involve developing country stakeholders in the debate and we encourage their participation in the dialogue.
I am glad that you are joining us in this discussion. I agree with you, PCD should focus on the specific issues that developing countries face. But I also think that PCD should take a broader approach. Global food security provides an example where such a broader approach is needed – a “cross-cutting approach to PCD”, as my Colleague Carina has pointed out. It requires collective action at the global level, but also more specific actions by advanced economies, and by emerging and developing countries alike. Achieving global food security entails dealing with systemic conditions that constrain sustainable development. For example it would not make sense supporting a country’s agricultural development and help this country to boost its export supply capacity, while at the same blocking its exports. In this case a more transparent and well-functioning trading system that provides fair access to markets would be a necessary condition for improving food security.
It’s a pleasure forme to participate in this online dialogue as one of the co-moderators today. My name is Jeske van Seters and I’m Deputy Programme Manager Food Security at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). I fully agree with Kumiko and Carina that an issues-based approach to PCD is important. In this spirit, following on yesterday’s dialogue contributions on PCD more generally, let’s now make it more specific today by zooming in on policy coherence ‘for food security’.
In response to Carina’s invitation to share thoughts on how we can best ensure coherencebetween different policy areas as we strive to achieve global food security, I’d like to make some suggestions:
- Raise awareness and knowledge on PCD, and specifically global food security issues, among policy-makers working in areas like trade, agriculture, research etc. You may consider this an open door, something I even agree with, but worth repeating as it often lacks in practice.
- Strengthen linkages between the development cooperation and PCD agenda on food security. This may seem less obvious to you, but is also a point worth making in my view. It implies for example that concrete and specific food security objectives as defined in OECD countries’ development policies (e.g. fostering smallholder farming) should better inform PCD targets and efforts.
- Embed PCD responsibilities at a high political level. Even if food security and broader development issues are raised in early phases of policy-making, these considerations tend to disappear in higher-level political stages of the decision-making process. Firm high-level anchoring of commitments to PCD in general, and global food security more specifically, is needed.
- Assure adequate resources to analyze the impact of policy options on developing countries. This means for example that the responsibility of PCD impact assessments and PCD monitoring should not lie solely with international development departments but also belongs to sectoral departments. Measuring PCD will be further discussed in more detail in this online discussion next Friday.
Elements of these proposals, and their justification, can be found in a recently published ECDPM discussion paper that examines EU policy coherence for food security (www.ecdpm.org/dp153). We warmly welcome your reactions. Do you strongly agree or disagree with these suggestions, or have other things to add? What issues would you like to bring to the attention of the high-level panelists and audience of the European Development Days, who will discuss this topic next week in Brussels? We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your thoughts on this; I agree with your suggestions.
Equally important too is the notion that the mix of policies needed to ensure food security is likely to vary according to a country’s level of economic development and its structural circumstances, including its comparative advantage in agricultural activities.
With regard to political commitment to PCD (suggestion 3), we are working to include PCD on the policy agenda of Centres of Governments (CoGs). The OECD has a Network of Senior Officials from CoGs – representatives that provide direct support and advice to the Head of Government and the Council of Ministers. Reaching out to them could be potentially important for the promotion of PCD. It would also represent a practical follow-up to the 2008 Ministerial Declaration on PCD and the 2010 Council Recommendations on Good Institutional Practices for PCD.
What do others think?
My name is Stella Joy and I am Co Director ofActive Remedy Ltd.
There are numerous short term solutions to ensuring food security, which have to be dealt with on a country to country basis and which are often related to a fairer distribution of wealth globally.However the only long-term assurance for food security for the whole world is found in ensuring water security.
The right to food and food security along with all human rights has its basis and foundations in freshwater security. However universal access to clean drinking water and sanitation is dependent upon there being adequate quantity and supplies of available freshwater. This is impossible to realize if the very freshwater cycle itself is compromised. The U.N Water Analytical Brief released on 22/3/13 affirms:
“Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems before they become compromised is an essential component of achieving water security and reducing the potential for conflicts. The continuous pace of human development is threatening the capacity of ecosystems to adapt, raising concerns that ecosystems will reach a tipping point after which they are no longer able to provide sustaining functions and services, and will become unable to recover their integrity and functions."
2013,The International Year of Water Cooperation reflects the global recognition that freshwater is an absolute necessity for achieving Internationally agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals. These include the nexus between water security, food security, poverty eradication, gender equality, human health, equity, peace and prosperity. It also reflects the emerging global understanding that the safeguarding of ecosystems and their life-supporting functions, needs to be implemented to resolve current and future water challenges. This matter was given recognition and highlighted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference in Rio in 2012 and was ratified in the government signed document: ‘The Future We Want’. Paragraph 122 states:
"We recognize the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity andquality and support actions within the respective national boundaries to protect and sustainably manage these ecosystems."
Unlike resources such as coal, oil and gas the freshwater cycle is a renewable and regenerative one. It has the ability of being replenished. However this cycle is utterly dependent upon healthily functioning ecosystems such as mountains with their snows and glaciers, mixed mountain forests and watersheds. The critical importance of this issue was acknowledged as the central factor in achieving water security in the United Nations Water Analytical Brief. It states:
“Ensuring that ecosystems are protected and conserved is central to achieving water security – both for people and for nature. Ecosystems are vital to sustaining the quantity and quality of water available within a watershed, on which both nature and people rely. Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems is essential for supporting the diverse needs of humans, and for the sustainability of ecosystems, including protecting the water- provisioning services they provide.”
Through supporting, safeguarding and restoring the common natural environments, which the freshwater cycle is dependent upon, its long-term continuum and the possibility of an adequate quantity of freshwater for all is ensured. Food security is an issue relevant to all countries and at present we are in the position of taking actions to potentially ensure it for present and future generations. Remembering and rspecting our dependency upon Nature and helping to restore natural environmental balance worldwide will play a major part in this. Our evolution is dependent upon it.
Thank you for bringing the issue of water security into the debate! You are of course right in pointing out that food security is linked to the availability of clean freshwater.
The OECD is working to help developed and developing countries meet the water challenge, and policy coherence is essential to this end: water policies intersect with a wide array of sectors, especially energy and agriculture, and they are implemented at various geographical scales, from local to international.
However, tensions may arise from real or perceived trade-offs between various policy objectives - for instance, between food security and water productivity. Inefficiencies may result from subsidies that have negative impacts on water, as in the case of energy subsidies for groundwater abstraction by farmers. Resolving these tensions requires a global perspective. For instance, freer trade in agricultural commodities and the reform of farm support policies in OECD countries can alleviate some of the tensions between food security and water productivity at domestic level. Policy co-ordination is also required.
This is more difficult where responsibility is fragmented among various ministries, and where decision making needs to be co-ordinated at different territorial levels (e.g. national, regional, state, municipal and river basin). The linkages between the policy areas also have to be considered early on in the policy making process. For example, when countries set biofuel production targets, there is a need to factor in potential consequences for future water withdrawals. Ongoing OECD work examines the policy challenges at the intersection between water, energy and agriculture. The OECD report Policy Coherence between Water, Energy and Agriculture (forthcoming) examines how such challenges can be tackled and identifies options to enhance policy coherence.
For more about the OECD’s work on water, we invite you to check out this recent brochure.
Thanks again, Stella, for taking the time to participate in this online dialogue.
The theme at yesterday’s discussion in this online dialogue was “major trends in shaping the global development landscape and implications for PCD”. Global water scarcity is indeed a major trend of our time, and as you pointed out it is very linked to global food security. This calls for a broader approach to policy coherence for development to understand not only the environmental repercussions of this major trend, but also its social and economic implications and their interconnections. For instance, world’s growing population, emerging middle classes and changes in consumptions patterns will place pressure on scarce natural resources. According to OECD analysis (http://www.oecd.org/environment/indicators-modelling-outlooks/oecdenvironmentaloutlookto2050theconsequencesofinaction.htm), global water demand is forecast to increase by 55 percent between 2000 and 2050, with the largest increases coming from manufacturing, electricity and domestic use. Water-intensive industries, such as agriculture, food and beverages certainly have an important role to play, so the private sector will have to be part of the PCD discussions, as Jeske highlighted. Climate change also presents additional concerns about water scarcity over the coming decades. PCD, form a broader perspective can have a great potential as an instrument to anticipate future threats and reverse current trends.
I am Michael Brüntrup from German Development Institute, working on agricultural policies and food security in SSA. I am certainly supporting attempts to achieve more PCD in the area of food security. For years, me as most economists and development practitioners have called for reform of the common agricultural policy, which has become a synonymous for incoherent policy. It has finally changed somewhat, though for other reasons (WTO) and without substantially abolishing agricultural support or changing its direction.
However, we should acknowledge the limitations of the concept "PCD", since it sometimes is used quite simplistic, insinuating that a simple change of a policy here in Europe (or the omission of a policy) could easily change the state of food insecurity in the world. I have just recently written a little piece in the ETTG blog on how a "slight" change of the perspective (world food prices) leads to fundamental changes in the analysis of the impacts of our policies on World food security. Also when it comes to agricultural investments by foreign investors in poor countries, or agricultural exports from there, too often a simplistic and uniform impact chain is assumed when condemning them.
I think there is a need for a more careful use of the concept "PCD" which sometimes seems to be used as a buzzword for bashing policies which we would like to change but for very different reasons.
If you allow and wish so, I can add that blog text.
Thank you for your input. We'd be happy to read your blog and to continue the discussion tomorrow.
You also say that PCD is sometime used quite simplistic. We'd be curious to know if you agree with our updated PCD definition, see yesterday's poll here.
Have a good evening.
Water security is indeed very much linked to food security. For a discussion on interdependencies between food and water security, also in relation to energy and land use, I recommend the European Report on Development 2011/2012. Policy coherence is at the heart of this report, which argues for a more integrated approach to water, energy and land management, to increase availability and access to food in a sustainable way. One of the elements highlighted in the report, which did not really feature in the online discussion so far is the role of the private sector and civil society. It calls on policy-makers to create an enabling environment and forge partnerships to promote innovative sustainable production methods, through policy reforms inareas such as agriculture, trade, investment and research.
Thank you for joining us in this dialogue. In my view there is not only a need for more careful use of the PCD concept, but also for bringing this concept up to date in light of fast changing global realities. That is why we are adopting a broader and more proactive approach to PCD, going beyond the "do no-harm approach" and suggesting an updated definition, as my colleague Carina mentioned.
I join Carina and Ernesto in thanking you for your contribution. I’ve read the blog that you have attached and can only agree with your main argument that PCD impacts are complex and differ across and within countries as well as over time, due to changing circumstances such as global price levels. You indicate that ex-ante impact assessments to better detect incoherencies would be useful, but how about ex-post impact assessments? It seems to me that those are also needed to detect incoherencies and inform policy reforms. I’m sure this will be further debated on Friday when measuring policy coherence for food security is the topic of discussion.
A nice evening to you all.
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
Thank you for your input. We are happy to hear that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-led piloting of the OECD-PCD Policy Framework is proving useful to everyone involved. We look forward to receiving the final report in due course. We will then begin to update the Framework along the lines of Finland’s comments. That could be a good opportunity to bring in the issues you mention, e.g. land tenure, soil nutrients and property rights.
You also mention the importance of technology transfer for smallholder farmers and the need for long-term investment. The OECD has developed a Policy Framework for Investment in Agriculture, which could potentially be used to guide this process.
Land-grabbing is indeed an issue that has received much attention in recent years, including in the media. The purchase of land in for example Africa by other countries is likely to continue, however. So from a PCD perspective, it would be important to look for the synergies and make sure that both buyers and sellers of land gain in the process (win-win). In an ideal world, voluntary guidelines would be enough, but in reality these may need to be complemented with other “rules”. I’m sure this debate will continue for some time.
I like very much your comment that in addition to coherence between different policy areas, we also need to ensure coherence between various agricultural policies. This would perhaps seem obvious, but as you point out is not always the case in practice. Similarly, we need coherence at several different levels: locally, nationally, regionally, and globally.