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Food Security Panacea to Success of Sustainable Development Goals

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has stressed the need for stronger commitment to food and nutrition security to facilitate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new development agenda which was adopted by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last September.

The SDGs are a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) whose implementation ended this year.

“The world needs agriculture to be climate-smart and also nutrition-smart”, he stated.

He was speaking as a panel member and co-chair at a side event organised by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition at the ongoing climate change conference in Paris, France.

So far, only 24 out of the 156 parties  have submitted their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) refer to nutrition, and even fewer note the links between nutrition policies and climate action.

“The parties at COP 21 need to show stronger commitment to nutrition security to see progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition believes that solutions are needed to address climate change, agriculture, and food goals simultaneously”, he stressed.

The Global Panel outlined some policy recommendations needed to spur agriculture and nutrition onto a positive path.

They include diet quality goals in adaptation targets proposed for climate action, diversification of agricultural investments, factoring in the local realities of ecological sustainability.

Others are support for greater food system efficiency so that outputs per unit of water, energy, land and other inputs are optimised and the footprint of agriculture and non-farm activities are better managed to meet both food demand and higher-quality diets. There should also be the integration of measures to improve climate change resilience and the nutritional value of crop and livestock products along the value chain, from production to marketing.

The rest are protecting the quality of the diet of the poor in the face of supply shocks and growing food demand; the promotion of the generation and use of rigorous evidence on appropriate investments along food value chains which are resilient to climate change, and the delivery of positive dietary outcomes and support improved nutrition.

Ms Rachel Kyte, a Global Panel member and World Bank Climate Change Envoy said, “climate change is creating the conditions in which we have to find a way to provide nutrition to an expanding global population. This means that we need to come together as an agriculture, nutrition and public-health community to find solutions to what is becoming a growing problem.”