Launch of DfID’s new strategy paper on eliminating hunger
Summary of Publication1
The Department for International Development in the UK (DfID) recently launched a strategy paper (May 2002) 'Eliminating Hunger; Strategy for Achieving the Millennium Development Goal on Hunger.' The Millennium Development Goal referred to in the title of the paper is to halve extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. The paper highlights the main areas which the UK sees as important to international efforts to tackle hunger, as well as areas in which DfID will place its own resources.
The main points to emerge from the paper are as follows:
- Poverty reduction is essential to eliminating hunger.
- There is relative optimism about the capacity of the world to produce enough food to keep up with population growth - but only if we pursue appropriate policies, maintain adequate investment in research and work to ensure environmental sustainability.
- Globalisation and trade liberalisation brings both benefits and risks for poor people and for hunger reduction.
- Appropriate government policies in a range of sectors allied with overall good governance are critical for creating an environment in which people can obtain enough food.
- Food security is an overriding priority for poor people who lack assets and depend for their survival on a wide range of resources for both consumption and sale.
- Nutritional status is determined by the amount and quality of food consumed and by health status. These factors are in turn influenced by household food security, intra-household food distribution, care practices, environmental factors and health services. Communicable diseases, and HIV/AIDs in particular, have adverse effects on both nutritional status and food security.
- Conflict, drought and other disasters are playing a major part in slowing global and national progress towards the Millennium Development Goal. Food aid has been an important way of responding to crises, but the flow of aid has often had more to do with food surpluses in OECD countries than with actual needs. Food aid has had only limited success in alleviating food insecurity and malnutrition and it can also depress local prices and local production.
If the Millennium Development Goal is to be achieved the following actions and improvements will be necessary:
- trade reforms that improve the food security of poor people;
- investment in agriculture more precisely targeted at reducing poverty and hunger;
- multi-sectoral interventions to tackle malnutrition both in emergencies and stable situations;
- better systems to cope with the impact of conflict and natural disaster;
- more effective ways of using and monitoring food aid;
- more effective ways of dealing with risk to poor people;
- more effective ways of measuring progress towards the Millennium Development Goal on Hunger.
Ongoing and new areas of work by DfID which it is hoped will lead to better responses to drought, conflict and emergencies are as follows. Ongoing Initiatives:
- support the inclusion of conflict reduction measures into national, regional and global strategies;
- support the development of policies and programmes that strengthen drought resilience and contingency planning;
- encourage the untying of food aid programmes from domestic agricultural surpluses in the EU and under the Food Aid Convention;
- help build the capacity of the World Food Programme to deliver food aid effectively, particularly during humanitarian responses;
- support efforts to improve needs assessment in emergencies and to use monitoring of the impact of food aid to inform planning;
- promote the use of the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response to improve quality and accountability in humanitarian responses.
New areas of work:
- review with other signatories the performance of the Food Aid Convention and make recommendations about its future role;
- together with other development agencies, review the impact of school feeding programmes on food security and nutrition and on educational objectives, and identify under what conditions school feeding is most effective as social protection;
- update internal guidance on food aid objectives and programming.
1A copy of the paper can be obtained from: DfID, 1 Palace St London, SW1E 5HE.Website: www.dfid.gov.uk. Public Enquiry point: 0845 3004100
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Reference this page
Launch of DfID’s new strategy paper on eliminating hunger. Field Exchange 16, August 2002. p15. www.ennonline.net/fex/16/launch