The Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO), one of the ten co-organizers for the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, recently released a publication entitled Towards the Future We Want: End hunger and make the transition to sustainable agricultural and food systems. The priorities highlighted in the report reflect the need to consider people, food, and nature to reach goals of sustainable development. Within the recommendations, the importance of integrated approaches to meet multiple objective and the need for multi-stakeholder processes is made clear.
The report draws attention to three major actions that must be taken in order to achieve universal food and nutrition security, responsible environmental stewardship, and fairness in food management. For the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio +20, these messages must be emphasized:
- Sustainable Development cannot be realized unless hunger and malnutrition are eradicated;
- Both food consumption and production systems must achieve more with less;
- The transition to a sustainable future requires fundamental changes in the governance of food and agriculture and an equitable distribution of the transition costs and benefits.
FAO identifies the strong connection between sustainable development and hunger eradication, each issue having a clear impact on the other. While this interdependent relationship is vital for the participants of Rio +20 to understand, seemingly more important is how central governance and policy action is to working towards a future of global food security and healthy ecosystems. As sound policies are necessary or sustainable management of both food and agricultural systems, FAO urges Rio participants to adopt new resolve to work together for implementing the steps needed to achieve their goals. Beyond simply calling for increased cooperation as there continues to be “growing pressure on the world’s agricultural and food systems”, FAO implores Rio Participants to make six commitments in efforts to ensure action and not just planning.
- Accelerating the pace of reducing hunger and malnutrition with a view to eradicating these in the near future.
- Using the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security as the overarching frameworks for achieving food security and equitable sustainable development.
- Supporting the efforts of all stakeholders working in food and agriculture, especially in developing and least developed countries, to implement technical and policy approaches to agricultural development that integrate food security and environmental objectives.
- Ensuring an equitable distribution of costs and benefits from the transition to sustainable agricultural consumption and production, and that people’s livelihoods and access to resources are protected.
- Adopting integrated approaches to managing multiple objectives and linking financing sources for achieving sustainable agricultural and food systems.
- Implementing governance reforms based on the principles of transparency, participation and accountability to ensure policies are carried out and commitments are fulfilled. The Committee on World Food Security can serve as a model for these reforms.
In putting forth these commitments, FAO continues their fight for “all people at all times to have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food… for an active and healthy life.” (FAO, 1996)
Read the entire report online.