Need food system overhaul to combat global hunger: Report

Promoting consumption model and regenerative production practices, supporting development of diverse distribution market networks is need of the hour

By Vineet Kumar
Published: Thursday 02 July 2020

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has brought global hunger — and the need to address it urgently — under scrutiny. To bring countries closer to the goal of eliminating hunger, there is a need to steer policy shifts towards sustainable food systems and bringing in a consumption model instead of a production one.

These were some recommendations from the United Nations Committee on World Food Security’s High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE). The report, published on June 25, 2020, assumes significance in the backdrop of another UN report indicating abysmal state of global food security and nutrition. 

The committee called for sustainable food systems to ensure the availability and access of sufficient food to all, but particularly the poor and marginalised; agency for all people and groups; and stability in the face of shocks and crises. 

The committee identified actions that governments needed to take eliminate hunger by 2030. Some of them are:

  • Regenerative production practices such as agroecology
  • Supporting development of diverse distribution market networks were among them
  • Improving coordination across sectors such as the economy, health, environment, agriculture and food.
  • Building more resilient systems and address climate change across food systems

“The COVID-19 pandemic makes the situation urgent. World hunger is projected to rise, with the most affected being the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population. It is vital that the global community seizes this moment to adopt new frameworks for food security and nutrition centred on right to food,” said Martin Cole, chairperson, HLPE.

He added that such measures were important to help mitigate challenges of climate change and natural resource degradation. 

The report also shared examples of agroecology initiatives from countries such as Nicargua, Mexico and Malawi. Agro-ecology initiatives promote regenerative, diverse and resource efficient production practices that are carbon absorbing. They also help build and protect agricultural biodiversity, it said.

Agro-ecology is known to promote nutritional diets and helps achieve sustainable development goals, it added.

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