2. Strengthen governance and the responsibility to ensure food security.

 

Over 7,000 children around the world die each day from causes related to malnutrition. To develop food security in regions countries with underdeveloped and undercapitalized agriculture systems, the Strategy Group strongly recommends that national governments prioritize agriculture and rural development policies that would enable greater investment opportunities and food systems development as a matter of utmost moral responsibility.

 

Prioritize rule of law, sanctity of contract, property rights and corruption prevention.

 

To minimize investor risk, emphasis must be placed in the coming decades on rule of law, sanctity of contract, property rights and corruption prevention, particularly for nations with significant food insecurity. Given that most food produced today is being consumed by the nation in which it is produced (global food trade accounting for less than a fifth of global annual food consumption), government activities that prevent this trade—such as subsidies, protectionism, and importantly, lack of sanctity of contract—can directly threaten national food security. Maintaining contract sanctity is necessary for stable export and import of key commodities, and allows buyers and sellers to depend on their commercial commitments while reducing their exposure to financial risk.

 

One of the most important elements to launching new public-private partnerships (PPPs) brokered by the UN is the policy environment. Private investors, even with UN agency encouragement, are generally unwilling to invest in discouraging policy environments. Where governments have been interested in reducing obstacles to private investment—such as Rwanda, Uganda, and Burkina Faso—          the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has successfully stepped in to assess investor quality and finance parallel public sector development. In Africa, weak civil and criminal justice systems or arbitrary and corrupt governmental administration have tended in the past to discourage private investment.

Reform trade through transparency, traceability and reduced subsidies.

 

Given the important role of global trade in stabilizing food prices and distributing resources across food deficit and food surplus regions, greater transparency is needed in the multilateral trading system. In the past, trade barriers erected to protect domestic security have cause volatility in global food markets and distorted prices.

 

Reducing these barriers will aid in stabilizing global food prices. However, we have seen significant increase in agriculture subsidies within the BRICs nations, distorting agriculture markets. Supply chain transparency focused on sustainable agriculture development is also needed to ensure long-term food security.

 

Protect land rights over time, including for smallholder farmers and women.

 

Maintain land rights over time particularly addresses the food security of at risk groups, and helps to increase the implementation of environmentally sustainable practices, as farmers will more likely prioritize soil protection, etc. on their own land. To address the importance of land tenure security, land valuation, agriculture investments, landowner access to justice, and state land management, etc., the FAO published the “Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security” in 2012.

 

Women are an especially important group on which national leaders should be focusing, as they comprise more than 60% of smallholder farmers, while lacking access to key elements of success, such as legal rights, property rights, and financing. In these examples, the moral imperative extends to both negative rights (e.g. freedom from hunger) and positive rights (e.g. the right of current and future generations to food). As most hungry people today are women, and most farmers are also women, our moral duty is to ensure women's access to land.

 

Governments should develop a transparent approach to foreign investment in land and natural resources, to make officials accountable for their actions, as they may influence their country’s people. The rule of law must be enforced at all levels, and applicable to citizens at all levels of the value chain and government.