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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Bulgaria and Croatia

22-24 May 2013

Food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, desertification, land degradation and drought

Key Notes on behalf of CROATIA and BULGARIA

Statement by Nancy Butijer
Head of Department for Economic Multilateral Relations, Economic and Social Issues
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia

Mr. Co-Chair,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour to make this statement on behalf of Croatia and Bulgaria.

Inception of the MDGs has drawn global attention to hunger and undernutrition. We have made progress towards the MDG1 target of halving the proportion of hungry people and achieving the MDG1 by 2015 is still in reach. Strong interconnection between eradicating poverty and hunger, as embedded in MDG1, has reflected the fact that hunger and undernutrition are the essential bottom lines under which no person should fall if minimum living standards are to be secured. However, eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition are not only building blocks to live a decent life, but indeed – to live. This is what brings this thematic discussion on the agenda of this Open Working Group to the very center of our attention, since it is critical for achievement of inclusive and people-centered ambition of sustainable development, while still continues to be among major global challenges.

Based on positive impacts of the MDGs on reduction of hunger and undernutrition and recognizing the changes that have taken place since their inception, which addresses not only the multidimensionality of these concerns and the need for a comprehensive approach towards important cross-cutting issues related to them, but also widely agreed assumption that food insecurity and malnutrition are preventable and the causes and solutions are basically recognized, we would like to extract some of the main aspects of food security and nutrition that might be of importance for our future work.

A call for universality and right-based approach in a global agenda for sustainable development in relation to food security and nutrition is recognized under international law and the outcomes of numerous thematic international conferences and internationally negotiated documents. Thus, a firm basis is set to anchor essential right to a life free from hunger and malnutrition into SDGs framework.

There is a strong consensus among stakeholders that nutrition should be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda in all of its forms. Thus, further attention is about to be given on nutrition along whit parallel concerns of undernutrition and overconsumption in a broadest context of their impacts. Particular attention should also be given to especially vulnerable individuals with specific nutritional needs – such a young children and women. It is a widely understood that these are important elements that were missed out in the MDG process.

Transformational change, as an overall ambition for framing durable solutions for sustainable development path, needs to ensure a comprehensive food security and nutrition approach. It might capture, in a holistic perspective, the cross-sectoral strategies as the enablers for sustainable food and nutrition security. To this respect, a multidimensionality of food and nutrition related concerns, such a food availability, access, utilization and stability, should be further deliberated and properly included into future development framework. To this respect, we would like to recall the UN SG Zero Hunger Challenge initiative, which has called for progress and coherent global action across sectors towards food and nutrition goals, included the importance of governance systems, accountability, policy coherence and stakeholder participation across sectors and at all levels.

Interconnectedness of some of important mutually supportive development issues in direct relation to food and nutrition security, being their drivers or barriers, such as access to safe water or health services, employment, inclusive growth, community resilience, social protection systems, empowerment of women, and many others which will be discussed by this Group, call for proper positioning of these issues in relation to food security and nutrition context. At the same time, we should ensure a consistent Post-2015 framework, with no overlapping targets structured within different thematic priorities. Revitalized agricultural sector and food production systems approach, economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and with responsible and climate sensitive investments, fostering the achievement of food and nutrition goals, makes a prominent part of these considerations.

Let us emphasize that food security has been identified by 80% of the responding countries to the UNDESA questionnaire on SDGs, as a thematic priority. In line with key recommendations from global thematic consultations and initiatives on food security and nutrition, we should acknowledge a strong call for a stand alone and prominent time bond SDG on food security and nutrition. The goal might be structured around specific targets related to main multidimensional and interconnected aspects of food and nutrition concerns and followed by indicators that capture short and long terms impacts of policy measures and progress.

Recognizing the centrality of these issues in the framework of the Post-2015 development agenda, we believe there is a prominent ground for setting up a specific goal on the realization of food and nutrition security “within a generation”. We also believe there is already promising level of convergence between identification of basic building blocks for such a goal and basic principles that should be captured, as discussed during our Second Session. Thus, we believe we are already on the right path to move forward in an inclusive and constructive manner in framing food and nutrition concerns into the post-2015 development agenda.

Thank you.