Rome-based agencies propose post-2015 targets for sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition

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Rome-based agencies propose post-2015 targets for sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition

ROME, 9 April 2014 – During a high-level dialogue held in Rome last week, the three Rome-based United Nations agencies presented a suggested set of targets and indicators to address sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition in the post-2015 global agenda for sustainable development.

The three agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, IFAD and the World Food Programme – have distinct but complementary mandates. Inspired by the holistic vision of the United Nations Secretary-General's Zero Hunger Challenge, the suggested targets build on the agencies' experience and expertise, and on proposals made by many others in the past several months.

Eradicating poverty in all its forms
Nobel Peace Prize winner President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Republic of Liberia was guest of honour at the 4 April dialogue, and the Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lapo Pistelli, took part in the meeting as well.

"The overarching priority of the post-2015 development agenda is the eradication of poverty in all its forms," said President Johnson Sirleaf, who is co-Chair of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons working on that agenda.

As Africa's first female president, she also reminded the meeting of women's important role in food production. "It is impossible to speak about agriculture without speaking about women," she said. "They comprise 70 per cent of agricultural workers in Africa and 80 per cent of those in the food chain."

Comprehensive, holistic action
The Rome-based agencies see the challenges ahead – ensuring a sustainable supply of nutritious food, preserving the environment and promoting the economic empowerment of rural women and men – as closely interwoven. These challenges require comprehensive, holistic action, with strong links to all parts of the post-2015 development agenda.

To that end, five targets have been proposed:

  • Ensure access to food at all times for all people
  • End malnutrition in all its forms, with special attention to stunting
  • Make food production systems more productive, sustainable, resilient and efficient
  • Ensure that all small food producers, especially women, have secure access to inputs, knowledge, productive resources and services to increase productivity and improve their income and resilience
  • Reduce global food loss and waste by half.

Strength in partnership
IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze underlined the cooperation of the Rome-based agencies. "A future of ‘zero hunger' will not be built by any one organization in isolation," he said. "We know that we are stronger and more effective when we work in partnership, including with the billions of rural women and men who work hard each day to ensure our food security."

The three agencies' joint efforts informed the work of UN Member States on the post-2015 development agenda through the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals, which began its deliberations in spring 2013.

The agencies will continue to refine their work in response to the evolving debate. In addition, they will continue testing and refining indicators in critical areas where data collection and data availability are currently weak. This will include building country capacity to gather and elaborate data, particularly in the key area of smallholder access to services, assets and markets.

Greater investment in rural people
IFAD will also continue to work on elaborating possible targets in other areas highlighted in its policy briefs on the post-2015 process, including:

These areas resonate strongly with the ongoing debate in the OWG, and serve as entry point for IFAD to contribute to the elaboration of a new development agenda that promotes greater investment in rural people and in the rural sector. IFAD will ensure that its own strategic vision and programmes are aligned with the outcome of the post-2015 process and contribute to its own strategic vision and programmes are aligned with the outcome of the post-2015 process and contribute to its implementation and achievement.