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Food systems and nutrition

Handbook for parliamentarians N°32

IPU and FAO, 2021. Food systems and nutrition. Handbook for parliamentarians No. 32. Rome.

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    Book (stand-alone)
    Responsible investments in agriculture and food systems – A practical handbook for parliamentarians and parliamentary advisors 2020
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    This Practical Handbook is directed to Members of Parliament and Parliamentary Advisors, who are considered “change agents”. It provides a comprehensive and systematic overview of the role that Parliamentarians can play in the creation of reliable, coherent, and transparent “enabling environments” in the range of areas related to investment in agriculture and food systems. The Handbook does so, not through a catalog of prescriptions, but through guidance notes, examples of good practices, and very practical indications. It does not aim to provide a blueprint to be implemented by each Parliament but rather it sets out key stages of processes and mechanisms for MPs and advisors to consider while promoting responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. Part 1 of the Handbook presents the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems and explains:
    • why there is an urgent need to enhance responsible investment in agriculture and food systems: high levels of malnutrition and poverty (exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic), population growth and urbanization, increasing demand for more resource-intensive diets, climate change, and its severe impacts;
    • what is responsible investment in agriculture and food systems: “Responsible investment in agriculture and food systems contributes to sustainable development by generating positive socio-economic and environmental impacts, enhancing food security and nutrition. It requires progressively respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights”;
    • and how can it contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and national development plans - scaling up support to small scale farmers, engaging and empowering youth, closing the gender gap, and improving access to infrastructure, public services, and agricultural finance, and, in general, investing in the sustainable production of safe and nutritious food while contributing to improving inclusion in the food system, prioritizing vulnerable populations and adopting a human rights-based approach to food security, in line with the SDGs spirit of addressing inequalities and ensuring that no one is left behind.
    In Part 2, through specific Guidance Notes, Parliamentarians and advisors are guided through concrete actions they can implement in their countries to improve and increase investments, actions such as: executing a national policy, legislative, and institutional frameworks assessment; ensuring consistency in the legal and policy framework; advocating to reform existing laws and/or adopt new laws; ensuring adequate financing for the implementation of laws related to responsible investments in agriculture and food systems and ensuring effective parliamentary oversight are detailed throughout.
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    Enabling Parliamentarian Action to Ending Hunger and Malnutrition in Eastern Africa - TCP/SFE/3703 2022
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    Food insecurity and malnutrition remain major public health and socio economic development challenges in Africa, most particularly in Eastern Africa subregion Close to half of the total undernourished population of the African continent resides in Eastern Africa approximately 28 million people in the subregion are severely food insecure according to recent data The critical role of Members of Parliament ( in advancing national and regional food and nutrition agendas makes them important partners in achieving food and nutrition security in Eastern Africa subregion Building on global and regional momentum to mobilize MPs in the fight to end hunger and malnutrition, FAO and the Pan African Parliament ( signed a memorandum of understanding MoU for the establishment of a PAP alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (PAPA FSN) in 2016 At a subsequent meeting, held in Kigali in 2017 commitments were made to establish national Parliamentary Alliances for Food and Nutrition Security in Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda The agenda of this meeting focused on the role of lawmakers in ensuring Food Security and Nutrition ( and the importance of MPs’ support to ending hunger and malnutrition in the subregion This resulted in MPs’ further commitment to forming a subregional platform to promote learning and experience sharing Participating MPs also called on continuous support from FAO in their efforts to establish and operationalize national and regional alliances Events such as the Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture ( Biennial Conference, both held in 2018 continued to strengthen commitments by MPs to intensify their efforts to fight hunger in a transformational way For example, the Global Parliamentary Summit invited Parliaments where parliamentary alliances against hunger and malnutrition do not exist, to create them and to strengthen them as a political commitment and to contribute to achieving a world free from hunger in 2030 This project, which was developed upon request of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development ( supports the formation of parliamentarian alliances in Eastern African countries and builds the capacity of parliamentarians to advocate, generate political commitment, strengthen legislative and policy environments and improve budget allocation for FSN issues.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Virtual parliamentary dialogues: food security and nutrition in the time of COVID-19
    March-September 2021
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    Parliamentarians from around 50 countries and nine parliamentary networks gathered in the context of the Virtual Parliamentary Dialogues on Food Security and Nutrition in the time of COVID-19. From March to September 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), pledged to put food security and nutrition at the forefront of national, regional, and global agendas and to take proactive steps to address the consequences of the pandemic. In their legislative, budgetary, and oversight responsibilities, parliaments are strategically positioned to strengthen food security, nutrition, and inclusion initiatives to combat COVID-19. Therefore, they must get involved in these unprecedented times. During one of the most challenging periods in our generation, parliamentarians and parliamentary networks came together virtually during a series of dialogues. Despite their differences, they built political will to address the impact of the pandemic on agri-food systems and protect the most vulnerable in our society. Additionally, they reaffirmed their commitment to continue these efforts after COVID. Thus, it will be possible to consolidate their work and further advance the achievement of the SDGs and leave no one behind by highlighting the relevance of bringing these experiences for further discussion at a Second Global Parliamentary Summit.

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