Food and nutrition security - international relations

Food and nutrition security - international relations

Food and nutrition security - international relations

Global action is needed to address global challenges such as hunger and undernutrition. The EU has taken on a leading role in this drive. It cooperates with a wide variety of actors and donors and supports international processes aimed at boosting food and nutrition security around the world.

Sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security are priorities in EU development policy. As outlined in the Agenda for Change, a great emphasis is placed on sustainable agriculture and food security as engines of growth, along with the vital role to be played by the private sector.

The EU participates in policy discussions on agriculture and food and nutrition security at global, continental and regional levels and contributes to keeping these issues on the international development agenda. This involvement goes hand in hand with bilateral discussions and cooperation with partner countries.

Cooperating with the Rome-based UN agencies

The EU and the Rome-based agencies of the United Nations (UN) are partners in the fight against undernutrition amongst the world's poorest and in the promotion of global food and nutrition security. These agencies are the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The 2010 policy framework on food security clearly identifies improved coherence of the international governance system on food and nutrition security as an important condition for the maximisation of the effectiveness of EU and EU member state investments in food security. It particularly highlights the need for strengthened dialogue and closer collaboration with the three agencies.

The EU and the FAO, in particular, are cooperating even more closely than before. Partnership has strengthened both organisations in achieving their shared goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. By working together on the ground in developing countries worldwide, meeting to discuss policy issues and sharing know-how and information, the EU and the FAO foster global food security and help to promote sustainable rural development and management of natural resources.

The EU draws on this fruitful interaction with the FAO to deliver quality programmes throughout the world. It is the largest single source of voluntary funding to FAO.

The current FAO reform aims to strengthen the organisation institutionally in order to enhance the delivery at country level and focus the agency’s work on five strategic objectives. It is also designed to assure better value for money. The EU supports the FAO’s transformational change both politically and financially. In addition, it is a strong supporter of the work and reform process of the FAO Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

Coordinating with the G8 and the G20

In 2012, food security was back at the top of the development agenda of the G8 Summit in Camp David, USA, where leaders launched a New Alliance to improve food security and nutrition. The New Alliance is a partnership between partner governments of developing countries, G8 countries and the private sector to lift 50 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years. The EU is making a prominent contribution to this initiative.

In 2013, G8 leaders agreed to move nutrition up on their development agenda. The European Commission is at the forefront of this process: with the 2013 EU policy framework on nutrition, it committed to working with partner governments and international actors to improve collective efforts and ensure that the challenge of undernutrition can be met.

Similarly, at the 2012 G20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, nutrition emerged as one of the priorities of world leaders.

Scaling Up Nutrition: the SUN movement

Since 2009, the EU has been active in bringing together donors and partner countries to boost their commitment to improving nutrition. Such efforts have been key in contributing to coordinating global efforts, mainly through the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement. This international initiative aims to respond to the continuing high levels of undernutrition. It involves governments, academia, research institutions, civil society, private companies, development agencies, UN organisations and the World Bank.