UNCDF presented its innovative approaches to partnering with the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in their response to food insecurity today at the Fourth Annual Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo). The GSSD Expo is taking place in Rome this week, where more than 600 delegates from 150 countries are convening to exchange and scale-up best practices and innovative solutions to complex food security challenges.
The majority of the almost 1 billion people who are food insecure are small-scale farmers living in rural areas, women and children. Worldwide, there is an estimated 500 million small-scale farmers that support more than 2 billion people - one third of the world’s population. Most of the rural poor are smallholder farmers whose capacities to benefit from high food prices are severely constrained by lack of inputs, investment and access to markets. Particularly in Africa and Asia, these farmers (the majority of which are women) produce 80% of the food consumed. In these countries, persistent governance constraints and continuing institutional challenges at the national and local levels can undermine any efforts to achieve food security. These efforts are also impeded by the lack of integration between national policies and implementation mechanisms at the local level, nascent administrative and fiscal decentralization processes and weak legal frameworks.
“The innovation of UNCDF approach is to bring the local authorities to work with all stakeholders to identify the most relevant interventions based on the local conditions”, said Ms. Chrisitne Roth, UNCDF’s Deputy Executive Secretary opening the Mini-Forum. “As well, we make sure that the funding mechanisms used for the implementation of action aimed at reducing food insecurity are alighned with the national plans that ensures greater sustainability.”
The distingushed panel of speakers moderated by Ms. Roth, was composed of Mr. Stuart M. Ligomeka, Principal Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development of Malawi, Mr. Patrick Mutabwire, Director Local Government Administration, Ministry of Local Government of Uganda and Mr. Theofiel Baert, Head of the Belgian Fund for Food Security of Belgium.
“UNCDF provided key resources for the implementation of infrastructure development in Malawi that allowed local governments to put in place basic infrastrucutre such as roads, said M. Ligomeka. “These roads provide comminuties with access to markets where they can sell and buy food, alllowing a continuous access to nutrition.“
During his intervention, Mr. Mutabwire highlighted that “working with the local authorities has largely contributed to success of UNCDF’s interventions in Uganda. UNCDF helped strengthen their systems to plan, budget and manage local development processes, including the local economic development, which enabled the local governments to address the issues of food security in their communities more effectively.”, added Mr. Mutabwire.
“Food security should be tackled on a local scale, said Mr. Baert in his statement. “It is important to have the appropriate national policy in place, however the key actions need to be taken at the local level. Many of the young local governments in Africa lack experience in planning, administration and procurement, that offen restrains their response to the challenges of food insecurity. UNCDF’s expertise, combined with innovation and relevancy of its approach, is vital in enabling these governments to strengthen their processes and to efficiently address the immediate needs of their communities related to food security.”, remarked Mr. Baert.
In her closing remarks, following the dynamic and vibrant discussion of the Mini-Forum, Ms. Roth concluded “UNCDF’s interventions are catalytic, they generate larger capital flows through private sector, NGOs and other development partners for maximum impact towards the MDGs. In the area of food security, partnership with the Belgian Fund for Food Security has been instrumental in making these interventions a success. We are pleased we could present our successful cases using the forum of the South-South exchange and will continue to share our experiences and best practices in response to food insecurity at the local level.”