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Ending hunger and malnutrition

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prioritizes scaled up, transformational action to eradicate extreme poverty, end hunger and all forms of malnutrition.

SDG2 adopts a multidimensional, people-centric approach by adopting a Zero Hunger vision that emphasizes the crucial role of the rural poor, most of whom grow food, but not enough to escape poverty or hunger, as critical change agents in any effective scheme to eliminate these scourges. The SDG vision recognizes that 80 percent of those who are extremely poor live in rural areas—and that we cannot end poverty as the UN defines poverty (“SDG 1.1: “living on less than $1.25 a day”) without tackling poverty at its source: in the rural areas. Sixty percent of the rural poor also grow food. Worldwide, family farmers—including fishers, aquaculturalists, pastoralists and herders as well as indigenous peoples—are responsible for 70 percent of food production; most of these food producers are poor.

Improving off-farm employment in food production systems and other agricultural processing is also linked to increased youth employment and improved household resilience. Family farmers are responsible for maintaining 85 percent of the world’s plant and animal biodiversity for food, but are seldom recognized or compensated for their role in conservation of biodiversity or for the ecosystem services they provide in doing so. Sustainable food production systems, and improved rural productivity and incomes are critical for sustaining an agricultural transition and especially important contributors to the early stages of industrialization.

The commitments of the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action (AAAA) establish a robust universal framework to support effective national action and international cooperation by mobilizing appropriate means of implementation (MoI) to achieve the Zero Hunger vision at the heart of the SDGs. At its core, the shared objective of all SDG2-related commitments is to create an enabling environment in which the rural poor are empowered to become major contributors as well as beneficiaries of sustainable development.

Collectively, the broad array of SDG and AAAA commitments presents a comprehensive and highly ambitious agenda for concerted action. For monitoring and reporting purposes, these commitments can be clustered around five major themes, as indicated below. This summary report highlights a selection of major developments and milestones achieved to meet the SDG and AAAA commitments during 2016. 

Access of the rural poor

Commitments to adopt policies, measures, rules and regulations that ensure inclusive access of family farmers and the rural poor to productive resources, including, inter alia, women’s ownership of land, access to appropriate technology and know-how, incentives for conservation of biodiversity and protection of natural resources, and equitable rural access to finance.

Improving food and nutrition access
Agriculture’s share of government expenditures increasingly lags behind its economic contribution. Recent trends in government spending have not been favorable. The agriculture orientation index (AOI)—the agriculture share of government expenditures divided by the agriculture share of GDP—fell from 0.36 to 0.27 between 2001 and 2014 in developing countries.            
 
In view of the thematic review of SDG 9 at HLPF 2017, and to advance commitment to investment in agriculture development, the Government of Zimbabwe will host a preparatory meeting for HLPF on agri-business development in the first quarter of 2017.
 
Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP):  In early 2016, the GAFSP launched a Missing Middle Pilot Initiative (MMI) under its Public Sector Window. It aims to improve access to finance and related services for farmers through supporting producer organizations and agriculture-CSOs. In October 2016, the GAFSP Steering Committee approved five pilot projects, each in the range of USD 2.5-3.0 million.  In September 2016, GAFSP also launched its fourth call for proposals for which USD 125 to 150 million will be allocated, in addition to USD 1.2 billion already approved and under implementation.
 
Zero Post Harvest Losses: Through its Innovation Accelerator, WFP is working with a wide range of partners to scale up its Zero Post-Harvest Losses programme to sell low-cost, locally produced silos and provide training to smallholder farmers in developing countries. This project can virtually eliminate food losses that destroy up to 40 percent of a smallholder’s harvest, resulting in more than US$4 billion-worth of food being saved. The project has sold more than 65,000 silos to smallholder farmers in Uganda alone.
 
Decade of Action on Nutrition: The UN General Assembly on 1 April 2016 endorsed the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and Framework for Action adopted by the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in November 2014. In the same resolution, Member States declared 2016 to 2025 a Decade of Action on Nutrition , calling on governments to set national nutrition targets for 2025 and accompanying milestones. [Member States.] Member States requested the UN Secretary-General, FAO and WHO to provide progress reports to the UN General Assembly every two years.
 
SUN Movement: The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement announced in September 2016 the launch of its new 2016-2020 Strategy and Roadmap, the product of a consultative process spanning the 57 SUN Countries, UN and donor agencies, and hundreds of international and national NGOs and businesses. The strategy outlines the Movement’s second phase and practical steps for eliminating malnutrition by 2030. SUN Movement will focus on key outcomes, capitalizing on existing activities, in order to ensure improved country planning against malnutrition; mobilize actors, advocate and communicate for impact; strengthen national capacities for multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration; and support equity, equality and non-discrimination for all, with women and girls at the centre.
 
SCOPE: To address the rising food and nutrition needs in Somalia, WFP and UNICEF are working together through SCOPE, WFP’s cash-based transfer (CBT) management system. SCOPE technology offers the possibility of sharing data and information, and supports multiple interventions by different partners. In 2016, over 1.3 million Somalis registered biometrically with SCOPE, with 588,000 beneficiaries receiving assistance, including US$21 million in CBTs.
Participation of the rural poor in conservation, restoration and sustainable use of natural resources
Green Climate Fund (GCF):  As of November, 21 entities have been accredited to the GCF in 2016. Most, if not all, are active in food, agriculture and rural development. In 2016, 19 projects amounting to some USD one billion, have been approved as of November 2016; most of them, particularly the adaptation projects, relate to agriculture and food security.
 
New IFI Commitment: African Development Bank plans to more than triple its agricultural lending from USD 707 million in 2014 to USD 2.4 billion annually for the next 10 years, starting in 2017. Although the World Bank allocates only about 7 percent of its entire portfolio to agriculture, it remains the largest financier of the sector with over USD 3 billion annually.
Improving the incomes and nutritional status of family farmers and the landless rural poor

World Health Assembly (WHA): Delegates to the 69th WHA in May 2016 adopted two resolutions on nutrition. The first, in response to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, urges countries to make concrete policy and financial commitments to improve people’s diets. The second welcomed WHO guidance on ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children, urged regulation of marketing breast milk substitutes, and laid out key principles of how health professionals should interact with companies that market complementary foods. WHO was asked to report back in 2018 and 2020.

The International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition hosted by FAO in early December 2016 identified drivers for food system approaches leading to healthy diets and eradication of all forms of malnutrition. The symposium identified nutrition-driven food systems as key to ensuring healthy diet, eradicate malnutrition, and addressing challenges posed by non-transmittable diseases, complemented by measures targeted to consumers. Delegates also highlighted the fundamental role of women as a priority target for actions and intervention. 

Functioning of food markets
In Dec. 2015, WTO members agreed on the immediate elimination of export subsidies (with limited exceptions in terms of the timing, which mostly apply to developing countries) and on disciplines on export measures with equivalent effect, notably export credits and guarantees, exporting State Trading Enterprises (STEs) and International Food aid.
 
WTO keeps two databases on members’ import regimes:  The Integrated Data Base (IDB) for applied tariffs, and imports and the Consolidated Tariff Schedules (CTS) database for the bound duties.
 
Domestic support, namely the internal policies that relate to production, is monitored and made publicly available through annual mandatory notifications of Members to the WTO Committee on Agriculture. Other International Organizations (OECD, Inter-American Development Bank, FAO – through MAFAP – IFPRI, etc.) continue their work on measuring the policy environment providing indicators on the support provided to specific countries’ agriculture.
 
Evidence based analysis to WTO members is provided by the UN including by the FAO flagship publication State of Commodity Markets (2015/16 focuses on “Trade and Food Security”). 
 
Monthly monitoring on food prices is provided by the food price index (FAO-FPI), and analyzed in the biennial Food Outlook publication; reporting on food import bills in the quarterly publication on Crop Prospects and Food Situation. The GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) platform (composed of a price tool, webpage and monthly bulletin) provides analysis of domestic price trends of basic foods at global level and latest food market policy developments. FPMA also provides, on a monthly basis, early warnings on exceptionally high food prices (identified by the Indicator of Food Price Anomalies and GIEWS analysis) at country level that may negatively affect food security.
 
The G20 Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), with a multi-agency Secretariat hosted at FAO, provides regular market updates through a host of information products, including the AMIS Market Monitor, an online Indicator Portal and extensive market and Policy Database. AMIS reports on international food prices and price volatility, crop growing conditions, policy developments, and fertilizer and biofuel markets. AMIS also brings together key stakeholders and policy makers in meetings of the Global Food Market Information Group (twice a year) and the Rapid Response Forum (once a year).
 
The multi-stakeholder constituency of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) negotiated a set of key recommendations to address challenges and opportunities for smallholders’ access to market. In particular the recommendations address the needs, challenges and opportunities for small holders to gain full access to local and domestic markets, where they operate most, as well as factors affecting their capacity to access global markets. Recommendations cover a wide range of issues including actions supporting improved access to market information systems; enhanced market environments for smallholders, providing transparent prices, increased income and investments; incentives to innovation, access to technology, capacity building opportunities and access to financial systems tailored to smallholders’ needs; policy and institutional arrangements conducive to increased access of small holders to markets and domestic and global value chains, as well as to financial and productive resources. CFS stakeholders would promote use of the recommendations at all levels, and the UN Rome-based agencies will work at country level to support their implementation.