On 12-13 September, the G7 Food Security Working Group (FSWG) met in Ottawa to review progress in implementing the 2015 Broad Food Security and Nutrition Development Approach and to review methodological changes to financial reporting on food security and nutrition.
Food security and nutrition is an issue that is pertinent to all five main themes for Canada’s G7 Presidency, and the Canadian Chair highlighted in particular the opportunities for achieving greater development impact through a greater focus on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. Canada also outlined the key features of its new Feminist International Assistance Policy and how this is beginning to drive a new approach to its food security and nutrition initiatives.
FSWG members took note of rising levels of global hunger as reported in the 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report (2018 SOFI), which estimates there were 821 million undernourished people in the world in 2017. This is the second year in which global hunger has increased, and it is at its highest level since 2009. FSWG members are concerned with the high number of food insecure people in the world and with the reversal of previously positive trends on global hunger and malnutrition.
FSWG members considered G7 efforts to date to respond to the 2015 Elmau commitment of lifting 500 million people out of hunger by 2030. They also discussed how the new global frameworks – such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the three Rio UN Conventions, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction – are informing G7 member efforts to enhance food security and nutrition. G7 members acknowledged the particular importance of leaving no one behind working to achieve Sustainable Development Goal #2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
The G7 FSWG 2018 Financial Report shows continuing significant G7 commitment to global food security as demonstrated by the US$10.8 billion disbursed as direct assistance in support of global food security and nutrition in 2016, as well as the US $5.2 billion for agricultural development. Furthermore, the report highlights overall improvements in G7 commitments to several of the Elmau indicators from 2015 to 2016. This report also presents significant G7 investments through multilateral channels, underlining the important role of the UN Rome-based agencies as well as other multilateral actors committed to achieving SDG2.
FSWG members recognized the need to ensure G7 food security efforts effectively respond to existing challenges of climate change and conflict that compound the impact on global hunger and malnutrition. Thematic discussions identified opportunities to better respond to these challenges in ongoing efforts of the G7 and others to end global hunger.
Supporting the empowerment of rural women in agriculture and food systems, as presented in the Ise-Shima Vision for Action, remains of central importance. G7 members highlighted their efforts to deepen work on decent employment for women in the value chain, women’s empowerment in agriculture, and truly gender-transformative approaches that address the root causes of discrimination against women.
FSWG members explored how to collaborate more effectively on these approaches, both at headquarters and the field-level. Countries or regions with significant food insecurity and malnutrition – in particular Neglected Areas and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – were highlighted as needing specific approaches largely linked to climate change and resilience building, including those which support the fisheries sector, in order to leave no one behind.
FSWG members appreciated an exchange with selected members of the Civil Society G7 Task Force regarding the use of common global reporting frameworks to improve accountability, and on participation in international forums such as the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Civil society representatives identified the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), as an effective and inclusive multilateral mechanism to provide funds to country-led agriculture and food security programs and to pro-poor agribusiness projects. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard was also highlighted in discussions as an effective means for aid providers to share information on current food security activities with all stakeholders.
FSWG members agreed to continue to communicate through the Financial Report on Food Security and Nutrition and to collaborate among G7 members and other development actors in an effort to foster new partnerships and innovative financing and approaches to address global food security challenges.
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