Declaration on Global Food Security Planning


The Food Security Strategy Group’s Declaration on Global Food Security Planning articulates the linkages between strategic security-related factors and recognized food security priorities as a core strategy for communicating top level insights to leading policy- and decision-makers in both the public and private sectors who:  a) do not yet recognize their own interests in food security and/or b) have not yet assumed active leadership on national and global food security. The goal of the FSSG Declaration is to help bring increasing focus to the security-related orientation of global food security planning priorities.


Declaration on Global Food Security Planning:
From the Aspen Food Security Strategy Group (FSSG)


We, the members of the Aspen Institute Food Security Strategy Group, understand global food security to be governed by two levels of influence:


  • Strategic security-related factors that encompass political stability, national security, economic growth, and environmental security; and


  • Global food security planning priorities relating to food production, financing, storage and distribution (including access and nutrition), which are necessary but not sufficient for meeting the growing demand for food.


The 1996 World Food Summit definition of food security provides a strong framework for understanding the various relevant factors on the ground: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” This includes food availability on a consistent basis, physical and economic access to nutritiously adequate foods, and appropriate use of foods (including quality and safety, nutrition, water and sanitation aspects).


Increasingly, global food markets face volatility caused by changes in food markets across the globe; changes in financial, energy or other markets; and other types of shocks introduced to the system, from political instability to climate change. Given this new norm of volatility, the food security community and global leaders must focus on developing “shock absorbers” at the national and international levels that will build both food security and resilience over the long term. Beyond meeting the food and nutrition needs of populations around the world, food security strategies will meet other security priorities faced by global leaders, including political stability and national security, environmental security, and economic growth.

We believe that reaching food security will require a closely coordinated effort at the highest levels of leadership in the public and private sectors, to develop and sustain the integration of these bottom-up food security priorities into the top-down architecture of strategic planning around trade, national security, economic development, and climate change.


We believe that global leaders and decision makers in the public and private sectors should now authoritatively endorse the critical role of strategic security-related factors influencing global food security priorities. Importantly, national governments can achieve significant tangible benefits from investment in food security, by unlocking opportunities for economic growth, climate resilience, and innovation. By linking strategic influences to known food security issues and emerging approaches (such as investing in smallholder farmers, developing storage and distribution capacity, and building gender equity), governments and the global food security community can better incorporate long-term food security planning into national security-related policy priorities.


We believe that these linkages should play a central role in the food security community’s communications going forward, as a vehicle for articulating top level insights that encourage leading policy- and decision-makers to recognize their own interests in global and national food security and assume active leadership.


Recognition of the political, economic, and security risks posed by food insecurity is growing. This is evident in the inclusion of food security and nutrition principles in the G7 agenda and action plan, and the elevation of climate change by Pope Francis as a global policy issue to the highest levels of strategic and moral priority. It is also seen in the growing recognition of the need for a public-private sector approach to advance top-down and bottom-up solutions on food security and to translate the current language on feeding an expected 9 billion people into a clear action plan for high-level investment and political support. With the formal adoption of new sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 193 member states at the September 2015 UN General Assembly, we see this as a critical moment to elevate the issue of global food security by framing food security in contexts relevant to global decision makers.


We recognize that agriculture and food production are complex subjects. Farming operations differ in size from smallholder farmers—the majority being women farmers in the developing world—to larger more complex farming and agribusiness ventures. We also recognize that there is no single solution when it comes to issues challenging food security, agricultural self-sufficiency and the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition. Climate and weather patterns, soil types, plant and animal differences, governance, availability of modern infrastructure, availability of traditional and more modern technologies, and culture and regional considerations have much to do with the success of strategies aimed at these priorities.These variations must be taken into account at the national level throughout the implementation of recommended international food security planning priorities.