FACTSHEET: EU Food Security and Food Facility Policy
1. What do we mean by food security and food facility?
Food security: situation in which all people at all times have physical and economic access to enough safe and nutritious food in order to cover their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (World Food Summit Declaration, Rome, 1996)
Food security is a multidisciplinary concept which includes economic, political, demographic, social, cultural and technical aspects. This concept is set up on four pillars:
· The physical availability of food for everyone.
· Economic and physical access to food involving such as stable markets, affordable prices, decent incomes,
· The utilization of food and of related resources. This involves supplying an adequate and balanced diet in a way thats atisfies the physiological needs (nutrition) of population and enables people to healthy and active lives.
· The Stability of food supply over time involving access to food either from the emergence of sudden shocks or cyclical events. Close linkage between humanitarian and development actors and instruments is essential and should be promoted using Linking Relief Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD) principles.
Food facility: Tool operating from January2009 to 31 December 2011 within the context of the recently established UN High Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis (HLTF) in July 2008 and envisaged asa short-medium term measure to provide a rapid response to soaring food prices in developing countries.
The EU’s Euros 1 billions Food facility running for 3 years is a swift and specific measure to help people in the worst-affected countries complementing the others development programme. Since it was supposed to act against the effects of a crisis, the process needed to be extremely quick, yet it was necessary to pass through all the formal steps foreseen by the Community legislative procedures.
This programme bridges the gap between providing emergency relief and long term development support (food security). But it does not address the structural causes of hunger.
The concept of food security should not be confused with the following notions:
- Food aid is a rapid and specific response mechanism used during a humanitarian crisis or disaster. Its purpose is to provide populations with adequate food and attempts tore-establish food security for affected people in specific context.
- Food safety involves the regulation and control of food supply chains in order to monitor food hygiene,toxicity and traceability
- Food sovereignty concerns the right of States to implement the most appropriate agricultural
2. What is the EU Doing?
For several years the European Commission has been a prominent international actor in terms of food security.
Food aid and special operations in support of food security are an important instrument of the EU development policy. The EC adopted a Communication addressing the food security challenges in March 2010.
The Red Cross/EU Office with support from IFRC, Danish and French RC had the opportunity to provide input during the consultation process of stakeholders early 2010. The first Communication, entitled “An EU policy framework to assist developing countries in addressing food security challenges” addresses food security in long-term situations; the second one entitled “Humanitarian Food Assistance” is meant to complement the first one, by focusing on food security in emergency and recovery situations, as well on prevention of subsequent crises.
Which developing countries targeted by the EU? All developing countries.
However a particular attention should be made on those food insecure countries most off-track in reaching MDG1. This is particularly the case in Africa, but also in South Asia and elsewhere (some parts of Asia, Pacific, Caribbean and Latin America).
SPOTLIGHT ON THE NEWS
EU Policy on Food security (March 2010)
· It can contribute toward achieving the Millennium Development Goal 1 (MDG) on eliminating poverty and hunger and maximising the effectiveness of humanitarian support in crises where food insecurity threatens lives.
· It should guide the EU position on food security at the UN Summit in New York on the MDGs in September2010.
· It doesn’t work aloneand it is part of a wider package of thematic papers on other MDG issues – health, education, gender, taxation as well as the 2010 “spring development package”or so called April Package.
· It is articulated onthe 4 pillars: of food security availability, access, utilization and stability (mentioned in theprevious section)
· It is based on thefive Rome Principles on Food Security agreed upon in the World Summit 2009, inparticular it recognises that Food Security strategies need to be country ownedand country specific, elaborating an appropriate balance between support tonational production and covering food needs through trade.
· It concentratesinvestments in the agriculture smallholder sector though enhancing the income of smallholder farmers, strengthening their productivity and the resilience of rural communities.
Since 1996, €4 900m has allocated through theFood Security and Food Aid Budget Line alone. In addition, food aid has alsobeen delivered through the Humanitarian Instrument (roughly from €50m to €100m peryear) and longer-term development assistance provided through geographicalinstruments, clustered together with rural and agricultural development (€650mfrom the 9th EDF A allocation).
The European Commission also contributes almost €3 billion in 2010-2012 within the initiative on global food security agreed at the G8 summit of world leaders in2009.It is a great opportunity to implement the key principles of the aid effectiveness agenda- ownership, harmonization, alignment and mutual accountability.
3. Challenges ahead in development: the fight against hunger
Food security is one of the priorities of the European Policy for Development (see the factsheet on this issue) and the fight against poverty. In coherence with other thematic such as education, health,gender or migration, the EU has the capacity to provide a common policy framework in the fight against world hunger and malnutrition and therefore contributing toward achieving MDG 1 “eradicateextreme poverty and hunger”.
The overarching MDG goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015 is still within reach on the basis of current projections. Worldwide, extreme poverty decreased, in terms of people affected, from 1.8billion to 1.4 billion between 1990 and 2005, though there are strong regional disparities.
4. A right to food
The right to food is protected under international human rights and humanitarian law .The right to adequate food is explicitly recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 and in the International UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted in 1966.
Right to adequate food is realized “when every man, women and child alone or in community with others has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement () States have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger even in time of natural or other disasters”.
The Right to food implies being guaranteed the rights to feed oneself which requires that the food i:
· Available(sufficient production for the population)
· Accessible(each household has the means to produce its own food or has sufficient purchasing power to buy the food it needs)
The right to food implies three types of state obligations:
· to respect: governments should not take any measures that arbitrarily deprive people of their right to food
· to protect: states should enforce appropriate laws and take other relevant measures to prevent third parties
· to fulfil: governments must pro-actively engage in activities intended to strengthen people’s access to and utilization of resources so as to facilitate their ability to feed themselves.
Red Cross Factsheet on EU Food Security Policy,December 2010 (pdf format)
EC Communication on Food security, March 2010