As the COVID-19 crisis brings the world to a standstill, and as many observers consider the possibility of an impending food crisis, IATP urged the U.N. Committee on Food Security (CFS) in our comments last week to consider the unusual situation we are in, as the CFS develops policy recommendation on ensuring sustainability of the global food systems and nutritional security through agroecological and other innovative approaches.
It is ever more clear that what is most important (in conjunction with access to affordable health care) is the resilience of our food systems to address not only national level food security, but also community level and individual level food security. Even in countries such as the U.S., which has surplus production to “feed” the world, the current crisis is showing the vulnerabilities of the systems in place. In normal times, 9.5 million U.S. families with children are on supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP); they are under or barely above poverty line. The situation is even worse in some other countries especially for migrantsand refugees.
Pre-existing inequities are exacerbated in times of crisis, and food insecurity is a real issue in every country. In many regions people are going back to rural communities and local food systems. As we address the immediate crisis at hand, we must ensure that the actions we take today contribute towards building resilient communities capable of handling crises, and this includes not only resilient food systems, but also access to better public infrastructure. In this context we appreciate a recent message from CFS chair that said, “In addition to saving lives and meeting immediate needs through emergency responses, we need to start planning for longer-term solutions to support recovery, strengthen preparedness, build resilience, and promote sustainable socio-economic development.”
Thus, in IATP’s comment we pointed out that the CFS’s recommendations to decisionmakers need to be situated in our new reality of the upcoming — if not yet already here — food crisis; as we contribute to the planning for the immediate CFS response to the crisis, it must benefit from the insights we have learned from the HLPE Report on Agroecological and other innovative approaches.
IATP’s comment stated that it is urgent that we “look not only for top-down solutions and not just ahead, but also reconsider if we have ignored paths that may lead us to a more sustainable, fairer, healthier and resilient food systems,” such as the agroecological knowledge systems that are built on the strong foundations of indigenous knowledge paired with evidence-based contributions from scientific community.
Download the full IATP comment on the Zero Draft — CFS Policy Recommendations on "Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable food systems that ensure food security and nutrition,” sent electronically to CFS@fao.org.