Adopting a Territorial Approach to Food Security and Nutrition Policy

Adopting a Territorial Approach to Food Security and Nutrition Policy You or your institution have access to this content

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29 Apr 2016
9789264257108 (PDF) ;9789264257092(print)

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Food insecurity and malnutrition are major international concerns, especially in rural areas. At the global scale, they have received considerable attention and investment, but the results achieved so far have been mixed. Some countries have made progress at the national level, but still have many citizens who are food insecure, often concentrated in specific geographic areas. Food insecurity and poverty are highly interlinked and have a strong territorial dimension. To provide effective long-term solutions, policy responses must therefore be tailored to the specific challenges of each territory, taking into account a multidimensional response that includes food availability, access, utilisation and stability. This report highlights five case studies and the OECD New Rural Paradigm, presenting an effective framework for addressing food insecurity and malnutrition.

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  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    The calls for action are numerous: at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in September 2012, governments reaffirmed the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger. The same year, the UN Secretary General launched the “Zero Hunger Challenge” campaign to end hunger globally. The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, endorsed in September 2015, confirms the importance of achieving food security, and eradicating hunger is the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2).

  • Executive summary

    To date, food security and nutrition (FSN) policies have been developed mainly through traditional, “top-down” approaches; that is, they are designed and implemented at the national level, often without sufficiently taking into account the priorities and needs of local stakeholders, and without involving them in the policy-making process. This lack of co-ordination and stakeholder engagement is exacerbated when policies are the result of project-based international co-operation efforts; the short timelines and narrowly targeted nature of such projects can lead to fragmented policy and programme interventions and generate local dependency on external aid. The need for a “bottom-up” approach – where different levels of government work together – is increasingly recognised by the countries covered in this report (Cambodia, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Morocco, Niger and Peru).

  • Assessment and recommendations

    Reducing food security and nutrition (FSN) problems is a global development priority and a territorial approach is a key to making progress in addressing it. This report provides a set of lessons that can help implement this agenda. It summarises the main findings of the research project jointly implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) between 2013 and 2015 to examine the usefulness of adopting a territorial approach to addressing food security and nutrition (FSN) problems. According to the definition adopted by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), FSN “exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to food, which is safe and consumed in sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and is supported by an environment of adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life” (CFS, 2012).

  • Why a territorial perspective is useful for food security and nutrition policy

    This chapter argues that all too often, policies to combat food insecurity have neglected to take into account the territorial dimension of this issue. The nature of food insecurity varies significantly across urban and rural regions as well as across different territories. If policies are to be effective, they must also reflect regional differences. This chapter argues that food security and nutrition (FSN) is a multidimensional issue that has instead often been addressed through a sectoral, top-down and “one-size-fits-all” approach. Drawing on the OECD New Rural Paradigm, the chapter proposes a holistic territorial approach as an alternative framework for tackling this issue. A territorial approach to FSN policy is also needed to facilitate co-ordination among different sectoral policies and levels of government. This can help make the FSN policy framework broader and more flexible. Following a territorial approach is complex but crucial for policy making that connects the objectives of equity, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability – each indispensable in the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition.

  • A territorial approach to food security and nutrition policy: The case of Cambodia

    The Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to improve the food security and nutrition (FSN) situation in the country, and has put various policy mechanisms in place to deal with its multidimensional nature. Implementation has presented some challenges, most notably in ensuring that all regions and provinces benefit equally from the progress achieved to date. As things currently stand, FSN outcomes vary across regions and provinces, and the capacity to deal with territorial disparities is constrained by co-ordination failures and disconnects between various tiers of government, as well as between the many development organisations and non-governmental organisations operating in the country. Adopting a territorial approach would help to ensure that policies are delivered effectively to where they are most needed, and that policies and programmes are linked up to prevent fragmentation and duplication of efforts.

  • A territorial approach to food security and nutrition policy: The case of Colombia

    The government of Colombia aims to provide an integrated response to food security and nutrition (FSN) challenges, tackling economic, social and health dimensions through a cross-sectoral approach involving several key ministries. The country struggles with geographic disparities, and FSN issues are more severe in poor and remote rural areas, where the institutional capacity to deal with those further tends to be low. In addition, the armed conflict has put many people’s livelihoods and security at risk. It also further complicates the gathering of territorial information to support policy making to reach the food insecure (e.g. size of local communities, displaced populations, etc.). Despite these challenges, however, promising examples exist, as in the department of Antioquia, where the successful implementation of a multidimensional FSN policy inspired both national policy makers and international development organisations. This example shows the viability of territorial approaches to tackle place-specific FSN issues through local institutions.

  • A territorial approach to food security and nutrition: The case of the Côte d'Ivoire

    The Côte d’Ivoire’s approach to rural development has long been oriented towards agricultural development. Since the civil conflict, the government has relied upon a sectoral approach to food security and nutrition (FSN) and rural development. Current policies focus on the organisation, management and “institutionalisation” of a number of value chains within the agricultural sector. Food insecurity in the Côte d’Ivoire is spatially concentrated. Chronic malnutrition is highest in northern parts of the country and in the regions of Nord (39.3%), Nord Est (39.3%), Ouest (34.2%) and Nord Ouest (31.8%) in particular. The lowest levels of chronic malnutrition are found in the capital region of Abidjan (17.9%). Households that are afflicted by chronic malnutrition tend to be those reliant on subsistence farming or on the production of handicrafts, and those headed by individuals with lower levels of education. Innovative policy tools will be required to address rural development and food security in the coming decades. These tools should account for regional differences and be capable of co-ordinating actions in different sectors, focusing not only on agricultural intensity and diversification but prioritising non-farm activities.

  • A territorial approach to food security and nutrition policy: The case of Morocco

    Morocco is making a concerted effort to reduce its internal regional inequalities, and has gone some way towards “territorialising” both sectoral policies and democratic decision-making processes. Interventions aimed to improve the food security and nutrition (FSN) situation in marginalised areas range from human development to rural infrastructure provision and the promotion of endogenous development potential in local areas. The country’s political decentralisation agenda has further helped to bring decision making closer to the people, and has facilitated the formulation of policies tailored to context-specific needs and opportunities. Nevertheless, challenges remain, including weak horizontal co-ordination mechanisms across sectors, which risk leading to duplication of effort and a lack of scaled interventions. Fragmented territorial information systems further complicate implementation of the government’s continuing commitment to adopt territorial approaches. Moving forward, increased capacity at the local level, as well as the involvement of sub-national authorities in policy-making processes at all levels, will be critical.

  • A territorial approach to food security and nutrition policy: The case of Peru

    Peru has made great progress in terms of reducing poverty and improving food security, both due to sustained economic growth and the pivotal role played by the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion and its “Include for Growth” policy. One particularly innovative pilot programme promotes peer-to-peer learning among smallholder farmers to enhance their productivity, hence indirectly improving food security through increased production and incomes. While this development shows promise, some key challenges must be resolved with regards to food security and nutrition in the country. Remote, mountainous areas, as well as those associated with ethnic minorities, remain the most exposed to FSN challenges. Despite the availability of data, territorial information has not been adequately used to support the formulation of pro-growth policies.

  • Evidence from Mali and Niger
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