Towards a Post-2015 Development Agenda on Food and Nutrition Security

As the 2015 deadline of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals fast approaches, the goal of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger is not on track. While significant progress has been made, nearly 870 million individuals remain undernourished and more than 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.

I recently participated in the third and final phase of the thematic consultation on food and nutrition security “High-Level Consultation on Hunger, Food Security, and Nutrition in the Post-2015 Development Agenda” on April 4, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.

The meeting was hosted by the Governments of Spain and Colombia, led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme, and brought together members from governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and the private sector.

The purpose of the consultation was to discuss and inform the design of a post-2015 development agenda as it relates to global food and nutrition security. Momentum for this agenda is fast building up. In addition to the consultations, other major initiatives, including the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, the Rio+20 “The Future We Want” Resolution, and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, are charting the way forward.

The post-2015 development agenda must focus on poor people while pursuing sustainable development goals. As I discussed during the meeting, with proper planning, investments, and actions, it is possible to end hunger sustainably by 2025—a point which was well received. Ending hunger by the year 2025 is ambitious and precise, but it is also achievable as shown in many countries including Brazil, China, Ghana, Mexico, and Vietnam.

In addition, the post-2015 agenda must redefine hunger to also link it to dietary quality and nutrition. This must be done through a comprehensive approach which includes linking smallholder farmers’ production to markets and ensuring their produce leads to better nutrition, as well as scaling up social protection for improved nutrition and human capital outcomes.