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NGO Nutrition Coalition: Recommendations for a Future Global Partnership on Agriculture & Food Security

A joint statement by Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, CARE, Concern Worldwide, & Tearfund to the High Level Meeting On Food Security For All

The G8 made the commitment in July 2008 to address the food crisis through the creation of a "Global Partnership”, which is now known as the "Global Partnership on Agriculture and Food Security” (GPAFS), which would take forward the Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA).

One of the key objectives of the Madrid Conference is to officially launch a consultative and inclusive process which will lead to the creation of the Partnership.

As key stakeholders, we make the following recommendations which we see as critical to an effective GPAFS:

1. Address Nutrition along with Agriculture & Food Security

The GPAFS must explicitly include nutrition in its objectives. For millions of the poorest families in developing countries, soaring food prices have exposed the lack of attention and adequate response to malnutrition. Millions of people could not afford a nutritious diet before prices went up. Soaring food prices may have increased the number of malnourished children by 44%.

Malnutrition in childhood has permanent and irreversible consequences—it puts children at risk of disease and death, it damages their brain development making them less likely to succeed in school. When people spend more on staple foods they cut back on foods with higher nutritional value, which are crucial for children.

Whilst food security and nutrition are linked, simply ensuring access adequate quantity of food does not guarantee adequate nutrition, particularly adequate intake of essential micronutrients.

The Comprehensive Framework refers to the impact of food price rises on “food and nutrition security”. The GPAFS must conceptualize and address nutrition as an issue in its own right and linked to agriculture and food security.

2. A Right To Food Based Framework For GPAFS

The overarching framework of the future global partnership must be grounded in the human right to food. This will ensure that key elements of the right to food, currently absent from the CFA, such as gender, access to land, participation and non-discrimination, are integrated into the response to the crisis.

3. Additional, Predictable & Long-Term Funding

Since the onset of the global food price crisis, the FAO estimates that hunger has increased by over 100 million to 963 million in 2008—to nearly a billion people. The UN estimates that US$25-40 billion per year in additional funding is required to resolve the global food crisis. Word leaders pledged US$12.3bn to tackle the food crisis, but actual disbursements to date are very far from this target.

There is currently no extra funding provided for the proposed GPAFS and the CFA’s implementation is running the risk of failing due to lack of financing. Donors must commit to additional funding to support the new GPAFS and ensure that the framework for action actually delivers on its objectives by reflecting the funding needs identified.

4. Accountability & Transparency

The GPAF should promote accountability, particularly mutual accountability between donors of aid to agriculture and their partners, in accordance with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. Such accountability should ensure that strategies are not donor-driven, but needs-driven, and that they are aligned with strategies developed at the level of the partner country.

The future partnership must set out clear and comprehensive monitoring indicators including at the global level in relation to the disbursement of funds pledged by donors. The indicators/benchmarks should be based on the key elements of the right to food and measure the impact of national, regional and international policies on affected and vulnerable groups.

5. Formal Mechanism Ensuring Meaningful Role for Civil Society

In order to be fully inclusive, civil society actors—including farmer organizations and representatives from the right to food community—must be meaningfully engaged in the development, implementation and monitoring of GPAFS at global, regional and national levels.

Current proposals fail to acknowledge the role of civil society in the GPAFS. The Madrid conference provides a key opportunity for civil society to take part in the consultation process from the start. GPAFS will fail to meet its ambitions without this involvement as civil society brings, in particular:

  1. The voice of people who are ultimately affected by the policy decisions made at national and international levels
  2. Innovation in the best approaches to tackle hunger which can then be replicated for maximum impact
  3. An independence from government objectives which will allow critical review and feedback on the process.
  4. A collective reach which is diverse in its constituency and extensive in its geography adding relevance and legitimacy to the GPAFS decision making processes
  5. An ability to respond quickly and effectively to support people affected by crises even in the most insecure settings

Such involvement must take place both in the North and in the South, and within the GPAFS management structures. National and international civil society engagement must also be secured by the provision of extra financial resources.

6. Learn From And Build On Existing Mechanisms

A number of initiatives such as the International Alliance Against Hunger (IAAH), policy frameworks such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), regional food and agriculture policies such as ECOWAP, and technical mechanisms such as the FAO and World Bank-sponsored International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) and the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC), are already in place. They all provide elements and address issues to be tackled by GPAFS.

The future partnership must therefore identify existing initiatives and mechanisms and determine how to build on them and bring together policy, techniques and finances for a more effective fight against hunger.

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