Welcome to the United Nations

Ending hunger and malnutrition

In support of these commitments, the AAAA recognizes that the majority of poor people live in rural areas, and emphasizes the need to revitalize the agricultural sector in order to promote rural transformation, protect biodiversity and ensure food security in a sustainable manner.  It also recognizes the need for improved nutrition in both urban and rural contexts, and calls for increased public and private financing to bring about the changes required.

The AAAA identifies actions to address critical gaps relevant to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 2, which aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030, and highlights the complex interlinkages between food security and nutrition, rural transformation and sustainable agriculture. Improving resource mobilisation is crucial to implementing the policies, instruments and programmes that are required to achieve this Goal.

Although the number of chronically undernourished people has fallen for the past decade from around 900 million in 2000, the number of people affected appears to be on the rise again. Estimates put the number of people who are chronically undernourished at 815 million in 2016, up from 777 million people in 2015. In addition, there are presently an estimated 20 million people at risk of famine in four countries. Thus, for the first time in a decade, hunger is rising. Key drivers of this trend include conflicts and climate change, the lack of resilience within food systems, inadequate investment in strengthening the livelihoods and resilience of vulnerable food system actors, and lack of access by these groups to appropriate and reliable risk management mechanisms.

To foster transformative change will require protection of biodiversity, transition to sustainable food production systems, resilient agricultural practices, secure access to land, water, technology and markets for food producers and processors, and international cooperation to foster investments in infrastructure and technology to boost agricultural productivity.

Investment needs

FAO, IFAD and WFP estimated in 2015 that additional annual investment of USD265 billion is needed to defeat extreme poverty and hunger by 2030, as compared to a “business as usual” scenario. This amount includes investment in both social protection programmes (USD67 billion) and pro-poor productive activities (USD198 billion). While Middle Income Countries can mobilize these investments out of their own resources, low-income countries will require assistance.

Public investment in building productive capacities has a key role to play in all cases. Government expenditures are essential to address market failure, improve equity, build capacity and achieve sustainability. They also help to establish appropriate enabling environments for scaled up private investment and action through the provision of public goods, including information, standards and infrastructure. However, the agriculture sector continues to face a growing lag relative to other sectors.  The agriculture orientation index (AOI) – which compares the share of central government investment in the agriculture sectors to the sectors’ contribution to GDP – shows that public investment is far below what would be expected, and has fallen from 0.38 in 2001 to 0.23 in 2016 worldwide.  The index of public expenditure in agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa fell to 0.16, or 16% of what would be expected if the share of public investment devoted to agriculture reflected the sector’s contribution to GDP. In 2016, the AOI was relatively high in Small Island Developing States (0.53), but still far below its contribution to GDP.

Total ODA directed to the agricultural sector in developing countries totalled $12.5 billion in 2016.  The share of official aid allocated to agriculture, after rising during the food crisis years, has fallen to 6 per cent of the total and represents a dramatic decline from the peak share of nearly 20 percent in the mid-1980s, the heyday of the green revolutions. Present allocations do not reflect the well-demonstrated contributions of agricultural investment to many of the priorities of the 2030 Agenda, including poverty eradication, ending hunger and malnutrition, promoting sustainable use of natural resources, improving resilience of livelihoods, and building inclusive, peaceful and equitable societies.

While ODA remains a significant source of finance for low-income countries, fragile states and states in conflict, it will not be sufficient to finance efforts to meet the requirements of the 2030 Agenda. Therefore, establishing the conditions for scaled up private investment in agriculture is essential to build and improve sustainable production.  Thus far, progress has been slow and inadequate, held back by high perceived and real investment risks, market imperfections and paucity of adequate instruments. Changing course at scale requires new ways to mobilize and to align public and private finance, with particular focus on financing for investment by small and medium enterprises who are most often the backbone of food systems and key drivers for ending poverty and malnutrition.

Agricultureal subsidies

Significant progress has been made in reducing market distorting agricultural subsidies, which were halved from $491 million in 2010 to less than $200 million in 2015.  The WTO Nairobi Decision on Export Competition (in 2015) foresees the elimination of export subsidies for developed and developing country Members.

Activities and actions taken to support the commitments since 2015

Scaling up efforts to end hunger and improve nutrition

In September 2016, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement announced the launch of its 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.

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.

On 1st of April, the General Assembly proclaimed the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition, 2016-2025.  The Nutrition Decade is a commitment of Member States to undertake ten years of sustained and coherent implementation of policies and programmes, following the recommendations and commitments of the ICN2 Framework for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


In 2017 Brazil and Ecuador became the first two countries to formalize their commitments for prioritized nutrition actions. Other countries followed, including Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, India, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria and Zambia, all of whom committed to an increase of their domestic funding for nutrition. Italy set up a national multistakeholder table for the Nutrition Decade, and Panama, Portugal and Thailand, among others, committed to eliminate trans fats. The Nutrition Decade also provides countries with mechanisms such as Action Networks for sharing experiences, promoting improved coordination and building political momentum to scale up global action. Norway committed in 2017 as first country to establish a global action network on Sustainable Food from the Oceans and Inland Waters for Food Security and Nutrition under the umbrella of the Nutrition Decade and as a direct follow-up to the SDGs.

Regional action networks are being established on healthy food environments (Chile), ending childhood obesity in the Pacific (Fiji), promotion of food-based dietary guidelines for the prevention of obesity and reduction of non-communicable diseases (Brazil and Uruguay), reducing sodium consumption in order to prevent and control cardiovascular diseases (Brazil, Costa Rica and Colombia), food and nutrition security governance (Brazil), public purchases of family farming-produced food (Brazil), sustainable school feeding (Brazil) and nutrition labelling (France and Australia).

Increasing public and private investment in financing research, infrastructure and pro-poor initiatives

At present, there is global demand for USD 200 billion in smallholder finance, but the supply is USD50 billion due to a variety of factors, including market fragmentation. The finances to correct this shortfall will need to come from private and public financing sources. A wide variety of investments from and for many different types of actors are required to fill the gap.

To date, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has contributed US$19.7 billion in loans and grants, and mobilized an additional US$27.1 billion in co-financing and domestic sources. In 2017, around half of these funds went to Africa and over a third were designated for countries with fragile situations.  In 2017, the Consultation on the Eleventh Replenishment of IFAD's Resources expanded the resources of the Fund by US$100 million per year. In combination with changes to the business model, the increased financing will enable IFAD to increase its outreach from almost 100 million poor rural people today, to 120 million by the end of 2021 and achieve greater impact across a range of the SDGs – from improved incomes, resilience and nutrition to increased agricultural production and market access.

Established in 2017, IFAD's Smallholder Agri-food SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN) brings together private, public and philanthropic sectors and rural farmers and enterprises to resolve rural financing challenges with coordinated action and investment.

IFAD's Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC) is a forthcoming impact investment fund for smallholder farmers and rural small and medium-sized enterprises. It will enable partners to direct financing toward priority target groups, including rural youth, and will include a Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) to provide pre- and post-investment technical assistance to SIF investees and incubate young entrepreneurs, and support the SIF in monitoring and evaluation to enhance impact.

The Global Environment Facility was established in 1992 and is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues. Between 2014 and 2018 (GEF 6), the Facility has disbursed USD 4.43 billion dollars in 39 donor countries. Through partnership with IFAD, GEF-funded projects invest in smallholder food systems to promote the judicious use of natural resources and address growing land and water constraints.

In 2016, GEF and IFAD partnered to develop the Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP) on food security. The programme is a joint effort to address food security, natural resource management and climate change in a holistic way. Twelve African countries will participate in the USD120 million programme, which aims to conserve ten million hectares of land, and sequester ten million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

In early 2016, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (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.

IFAD established the International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), endorsed by the UN General Assembly on 16 June in 2015. It recognizes the efforts of migrant workers globally and seeks to strengthen current partnerships and create new synergies among sectors that promote the development impact of remittances worldwide. In 2016 over eighty money transfer operators, mobile operators, savings banks and private sector entities across the world. The day is supported by the 22 UN organizations within the Global Migration Group (GMG), individually by IOM and by several member states.


Strengthening efforts to enhance food security and nutrition, with a focus on smallholder farmers and women farmers, agricultural cooperatives and farmers' networks

IFAD has developed the world’s largest climate adaptation programme dedicated to supporting poor smallholder farmers, the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). During the first phase of ASAP, from 2012 to 2017, IFAD programmed US$305 million in ASAP grants in 41 countries, expecting to reach more than 5 million vulnerable smallholders to cope with the impacts of climate change and build more resilient livelihoods.  As of 2017, the climate change adaptation fund will receive an additional USD 15 million increase, and will run until 2025 and benefit 10 million smallholders.

The UN Decade of Family Farming was declared by the UNGA in December 2017, and will begin in 2019. Led by FAO and IFAD, the decade will continue the work of the Year of Family Farming (2014) which sought to internationally mobilize rural civil society organisations, in particular family farmers organizations of Africa, Asia, and South America.

Coordinating to improve access to markets, create domestic and international enabling environments, and strengthen national and regional initiatives

The Platform for Agricultural Risk Management is a four year (2013-2017) multi-donor partnership between IFAD, the European Commission (EC), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Italian Development Cooperation (DGCS), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and other development partners to make risk management an integral part of policy planning and implementation in the agricultural sector.

In 2016, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed a set of recommendations on Connecting Smallholders to Markets which ensure smallholders can continue to contribute to global food production as well as their own food security and nutrition. These recommendations are intended to support governments’ efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with particular attention to food security and nutrition and the promotion of sustainable agriculture. They also focus on the reduction of inequalities by addressing the challenges behind unequal access to markets, land and other natural resources.

In 2017-2018, the CFS will prepare its contribution to the 2019 HLPF review under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. An evidence-based report from the CFS High Level Panel of Experts on “Multistakeholder Partnerships to Finance and Improve Food Security and Nutrition in the Framework of the 2030 Agenda” has been published with direct relevance to SDGs 2 and 17. In response to its independent evaluation in 2017, CFS has also developed a strategic multiyear programme of work that is aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Committing to significantly reduce post-harvest food loss and waste

Launched in 2016, the WFP Innovation Accelerator identifies, supports and scales high-potential solutions to hunger worldwide. Through the 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.

Correcting and preventing trade restrictions and distortions, and ensuring proper functioning of food commodity markets.

In 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 continues to 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.

Monthly monitoring on food prices is provided by the food price index (FAO-FPI), and analyzed in the 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, continues to provide monthly 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).

Domestic internal production policies are monitored and made publicly available through annual mandatory notifications of Members to the WTO Committee on Agriculture. Other International Organizations (including the OECD, Inter-American Development Bank, FAO) 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”).