FOOD SECURITY SPECIAL SECTION
“What the EU is, and should be, doing to address world hunger”
Europe may not be threatened by malnutrition in the way that some regions of the world are, but the EU is nevertheless committed to finding sustainable, long-term solutions to the escalating problem of world hunger. That is why the EU has been an active participant in recent international initiatives on food security that include the G8’s L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, the reform of the Committee on Food Security (CFS), the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, the G20’s Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture and the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
To remain at the forefront of the fight against hunger, the EU’s future contributions to global food security should include agricultural innovation, international cooperation and knowledge-sharing, particularly through the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research. EU investment in agriculture should place a special emphasis on smallholder farmers, while the Union should also help to develop innovative financial mechanisms to increase food security.
The search for long-term solutions must not, of course, detract from short-term assistance to the world’s most vulnerable people, such as the pilot project for regional emergency food reserves being led by the Economic Community of Western African States. But the EU should play to its strengths by promoting sustainable agricultural production systems and sustainable patterns of consumption. Trade and market systems that increase food security are another important area for EU action, while new models are also required to minimise waste and maximise resource efficiency. These new models should incorporate greater use of renewable energy, an issue highlighted at the UN’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.
Another sphere where the EU has a particular contribution to make is market transparency. This can be increased through the use of such tools as the Agricultural Market Information System. EU support for mechanisms such as the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management is also important to mitigate commodity price instability.
Sujiro Seam is the Deputy Director for Global Public Goods at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs