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Imagine a future where new generations and ecosystems thrive

Making the national pathways to sustainable food systems the accelerator for SDGs, 13 October 2022










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    Article
    Post-2015 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals: Where Are We Now? Global Opportunities to Address Malnutrition in all Its Forms, Including Hidden Hunger 2018
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    Combatting malnutrition in all its forms - undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight, and obesity - is one of the greatest challenges that countries are facing. Much has happened in less than 10 years to redefine the international nutrition landscape and place nutrition at the heart of global development efforts. The food crises of 2008 and the Lancet first series on maternal and child undernutrition helped galvanize world attention. The enormous health and economic consequences of malnutrition were recognized, and far more attention began to be paid to the multiple burdens of malnutrition. In 2014, the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) endorsed 2 outcome documents, committing world leaders to establishing national policies aimed at eliminating malnutrition in all its forms, including hidden hunger, and transforming food systems to make nutritious diets available to all. In 2015, 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global objectives to guide the actions of the international community over the next 15 years (2016-2030). Member States placed high priority on addressing malnutrition in all its forms by committing, under SDG 2, to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” However, nutrition has also a role to play in achieving other goals of the 2030 Agenda, including goals related to poverty, health, education, social protection, gender, water, work, growth, inequality, and climate change. In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the ICN2 outcome documents and proclaimed the years 2016-2025 as the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition. The Nutrition Decade reaffirmed the commitments under the ICN2 and the 2030 Agenda to end malnutrition in all its forms. Together, the ICN2, the 2030 Agenda, and the Nutrition Decade have placed nutrition firmly at the heart of the development agenda with the recognition that transformed food systems have a fundamental role to play in promoting healthy diets and improving nutrition. This paper reviews the major international nutrition system changes called for, and provides an analysis of recent governance initiatives to address malnutrition in all its forms, including hidden hunger problems. See also https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/484334
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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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    Book (series)
    Negotiated territorial development in a multi-stakeholders participatory Resource Planning approach: an initial sustainable framework for the Near east Region 2016
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    Throughout the Near East, land and water shortages, land degradation, out of date land tenure systems and food insecurity are compounded by asymmetries in gender roles and power, by severe imbalances in the political-military structures within and between countries, by flagrant deficiencies in land and water management and control systems, and by the incessant increases in demand driven by high rates of population growth and urbanization. This interplay of forces and dynamics form a complex hydr o socio-political web that governs the allocation land and water and who benefits from their availability and their ultimate sustainability. The current allocation arrangements of the region's three major river basins - the Nile, the Euphrates-Tigris and the Jordan - are nascent sources of tension, and potential sources of conflict and violence. Political instability that characterizes the Near East continues to intensify scarcity, suppresses growth and engenders poverty and is being increasingl y exacerbated by the impending consequences of climate change. The Middle East is one of the most water poor and water stressed regions of the globe. While the region is home to 5.1% of the people of the world, it has about only 1% of the world renewable fresh water. Today's annual per capita availability of fresh water in the region is only one seventh of its 1960 level, falling from 3,300 cubic metres per person in 1960 to less than 500 cubic metres in 2015. This is the lowest per capita wat er availability in the world. The current land tenure systems are failing to address long-standing problems that include smallholder farmers, landless households and most marginalized groups such as women continue to compete for shrinking natural recourses, while pastoralists are losing control of their traditional grazing areas. Use, management and access to land and water are becoming extremely sensitive matters as the number of users grows. Governments and local actors have often perceived these major issues differently. This requires effort to be made to ensure a participatory approach to decision-making that effectively involves all the local actors concerned in an equitable and balanced manner. About 90% of the land area in this Region is subject to land degradation in different forms and over 45% of land suitable to farming is exposed to various types of land degradation which include soil nutrient depletion, salinity and wind and water erosion. Per capita arable land availa bility in the region is among the lowest in the world where many countries in the region show levels that are exceptionally low (on average less than 0.123 hectares per person) and the range varies between 0.01 hectares per person (Oman, Qatar, Palestine, Kuwait and Bahrain) to 0.34 hectares in the Sudan in 2015. Arable land as a percentage of land area in the region is very low ranging between 0.1% in Oman to 18.4% in Tunisia in 2013. Most of the countries in the region show shares below 10%. O nly Morocco, Tunisia, and Iraq sow percentages above 10%. Irrigated land areas in the region also represent a small share of total arable land areas. In many of the countries in the region these shares are way below the world average. Only Iran (17.4%) and the UAE (12.5%) show high relative shares in the period 2011-2015. The Region’s critical shortage of water and cultivable land, including the increasing pressure on these resources and their degradation makes their efficient management a pa ramount task. It will be necessary in this regard to promote the engagement of all concerned stakeholders in planning and managing land, water and agrobiodiversity. Actual physical scarcity of land and water, even in the Middle East region, is not the only key issue. Conditions of economic scarcity seem to be equally pressing; there is perhaps enough land and water to meet society's need, but there are few incentives for wise, efficient and egalitarian use of these critical resources. Climate change will impinge on this region’s fragile water balances, suitable land for cultivation, grazing land and food production capacities and will exacerbate the problems and issues of food security. Measures, policies, strategies and institutional capacities to mitigate the impending catastrophic consequences of climate change and to improve the societies’ resilience and adaptation to its consequences are needed now. The sooner the regulatory and institutional setups are put in place the easier the task to deal with climate and other risks. It is necessary and vital to rise up to this challenge by enlisting the stakeholders in the initiatives to promote sustainability and efficiency of land and water use and the management of food security issues. An active engagement of concerned stakeholders in planning and managing water, land and agrobiodiversity necessitates first and foremost the engagement of and participation of particularly women and girls and marginalized groups in all wate r and food aspects as they constitute the main agricultural labour force and the most deprived segments of society. Gender and the water and land nexus in the Arab region is an area where there is still relative little information. There is little systematic knowledge about the many means by which women and men manage water and land in the region. Evidence shows that while women in Egypt have a significant role to play in water use in the process of food production by controlling and managi ng water flows in the fields and supervising workers during irrigation, they rarely own the land they cultivate. Rural women in Yemen spend huge amounts of time collecting and transporting water, often up and down steep slopes and coordinate water allocation and distribution for the various needs of the family and the household but they are rarely involved in decision making and management councils that govern land and water uses. Women everywhere in the Middle East evaluate water quantity and q uality and prioritize water for drinking and health and sanitation purposes but they rarely share equally in the benefits of their labor or in the ownership of the land and water resources. This is why an integrated water and land management system anchored on a genuine participation of stakeholders will be crucial in determining whether the Arab world achieves the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aspirations for reducing poverty and enhancing shared prosperity. Water and land are the c ommon currency which links nearly every SDG, and it will be a critical determinant of success. Abundant water supplies and cultivable land are vital for the production of food and will be essential to attaining SDG 2 on food security; clean and safe drinking water and sanitation systems are necessary for health as called for in SDGs 3 and 6; and water is needed for powering industries and creating the new jobs identified in SDGs 7 and 8. None of this is achievable without adequate and safe water and sufficient suitable land to nourish the planet’s life-sustaining ecosystem services identified in SDGs 13, 14 and 15.

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