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À la Une

Preparing the post-MDGs development agenda

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In this position paper, ACF’s first claim is that the indicators used to measure hunger in the MDGs framework are not optimum. We notably argue that, instead of considering only the prevalence of underweight in children under five as it is currently the case, the next framework should also take into account stunting and wasting. Computing the three indicators is the only way of comprehensively reflecting the various aspects of childhood undernutrition, and in turn designing effective policies to tackle it.

Today, challenges such as food price volatility and climate change related shocks increase the vulnerability of food-insecure populations. These challenges further enforce the need for the post-2015 agenda to make a larger room to undernutrition, and to build the long-term resilience of communities at risk from recurring hunger crises.

However, it must be emphasized that nutrition is determined by a large variety of factors that goes far beyond food security, among which are women’s education and income, child care practices, access to quality health services, family planning, coverage of vaccination, availability and access to clean water sources and to adequate sanitation facilities, etc.

ACF hence advocates for adopting a cross-disciplinary approach and developing a nutrition-sensitive agriculture, so that agricultural interventions translate to significant improvements in nutrition outcomes in addition of raising smallholder farmers’ productivity and income.

In the last part of the paper, ACF takes a critical look at the set of objectives put forward by the UN Secretary-General under Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC):

a.    100% access to adequate food all year round

b.    Zero stunted children less than 2 years old

c.    All food systems are sustainable

d.    100% increase in smallholder productivity and income

e.    Zero loss or waste of food

Although the ZHC admittedly sets an interesting frame for universal objectives and proposes a holistic vision on hunger, it appears more like a wishful thinking than a seriously defined, realistic time-bound set of objectives. These should be modified so as to be achievable on the medium-term timeframe, and discrete targets should be determined through national consultations gathering all stakeholders, notably farmers’ organizations.

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