1. Advance international coordination in the global food system.
In order to enhance international coordination of food security efforts, the FSSG recommends an increased focus on 1) strategic planning on trade agreements and national capacity building in several scenarios; 2) deepening coordination between multilateral institutions and the private sector; and 3) linking with existing initiatives.
Prioritize strategic planning for a post-Doha Round scenario with a special focus on developing pathways for influencing resulting regional trade frameworks.
Given the dim prospects for a successful completion of the Doha Round, the clearest alternative is advancing through current regional trade negotiations. The past focus on the ‘global food system’ has shifted to reflect greater granularity at the regional level and a broader appreciation of needs and priorities in the ‘global north’ and the ‘global south.’ While regional Free Trade Agreements will remain an important component of the food security equation, they must be matched by corresponding capacity-building at the national level to maximize their full potential.
There is significant value in reducing and eliminating tariff barriers, yet attention should also be given not only to national capacity building but also to shaping the processes and products of major international trade agreements. In many cases, regional trade integration is only as valuable as the quality of the agriculture-related infrastructure (both hard and soft) at the national level. The consistency of rule of law is especially important when it comes to driving implementation of regional trade agreements in the developing world.
The global private sector must be embedded in public market discussions to increase the adoption and viability of their findings.
Alongside the many public sector initiatives on food security (from local to global), there are private sector initiatives that are operating in parallel silos. Further, the private sector must be embedded into public-sector discussions on food security along the entire length of the global food value chain, from smallholder farmers, through country agriculture and finance ministries, and upward to the regional and global levels. While the challenge of embedding the private sector more deeply in these initiatives is not trivial, it is important to recognize that the ultimate success of any demand-driven food security solution is only as viable as the market that supports it.
Existing food security initiatives should be better linked with each other.
To enhance international coordination in the food security space, existing food security initiatives should be better linked with each other, rather than developing new solutions “from scratch” in each geography. The food security universe is crowded and, in many ways, uncoordinated. New initiatives at the global and local levels often exacerbate this problem. To address this issue, the FSSG recommends establishing connections with existing initiatives that can offer opportunities to articulate a food security agenda that emphasizes the cross-sector and cross-issue platform of the FSSG. Coordination will also play a key role in ensuring that needed investments are made.
At a regional level, the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) has driven collaborative and national efforts for more than a decade. Combined with African participation in the G-8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and many countries’ participation in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, there are new opportunities to improve the alignment of existing networks and institutional arrangements in Africa, as a region still experiencing low agricultural growth and poor nutrition.
Finally, the FSSG recommends exploring opportunities to bring in new stakeholders into the global food security conversation, including city-level and regional administration, to create additional linkages at different levels of government.
Photo credit: flickr@Johnny Goldstein.