The FAO, OECD and UNCDF launched a joint multi-year initiative to assess Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) policies from a territorial perspective. This joint initiative aimed to assess, scale up, and pilot innovative policy approaches and governance mechanisms to improve food security and nutrition in rural areas, in both emerging and developing countries. This initiative comprises several phases and modules. The first phase is to develop a vision and an operational framework for a territorial approach to food security and nutrition policies. In particular, it will gathered evidence with selected case studies conducted in Cambodia, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, and Peru, in 2015.
The international conference “A Territorial Approach to Food Security and Nutrition Policy” presented the results of the project and delegates discussed and exchanged experiences among international organisations, policy makers, developed and developing countries and academia on the potential effectiveness of a territorial approach to address food insecurity. This conference was organised with the support of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany, in collaboration with the Municipality of Milan and the Scientific Committee of Expo 2015, and within the framework of Expo 2015.
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The research shed light on the need to adopt a broader and more flexible policy framework, able to to reflect the multidimensionality of food security and nutrition and enhance the synergies between the social and competitiveness dimensions of policies aimed at achieving food security and nutrition outcomes. In many instances, regional disparities within emerging and developing countries are widening . This is despite the substantive progress achieved in the reduction of poverty and hunger and the high rates of economic growth experienced by these countries over the past decades. Poverty and hunger usually overlap, and are concentrated in the most disadvantaged rural areas and vulnerable natural resource-based livelihoods.
In this context, “one-size-fits-all” policies that implement the same approach and tools in all regions and territories, including in urban and rural areas do not achieve a sustainable solution. Regional disparities and territorial differences need to be dealt with by a holistic and integrated approach, capable of mobilising untapped resources and involving sub-national governments and relevant stakeholders in the FSN policy-cycle.
A territorial approach to FSN policy is needed to facilitate co-ordination among different sectoral policies and levels of government to make the FSN policy framework broader and more flexible. For instance, there is a need to integrate policy that promotes equity, such as conditional cash transfers or direct transfers of foodstuffs, with policies promoting competitiveness and income generation opportunities at the local and regional levels. This requires better multi-level governance systems and the capacity to scale up local and regional experiences – good practices – implemented at the community level by connecting them with the national FSN policy framework.
The conference provided an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences among practitioners, policymakers, researchers, international organisations with the objective of promoting evidence-based policy dialogues for more effective FSN policies. Best practices from developed countries were also presented (e.g. the case of Italy’s Inner Areas initiative for the development of marginalised areas).
Finally, a roundtable discussion took place between the high-level representatives from the selected countries, international organisations, policymakers and other development partners, to assess options to expand practical applications of the territorial approach.
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