Motion for a resolution - B8-1042/2016Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the next steps towards attaining global goals and EU commitments on nutrition and food security in the world

28.9.2016 - (2016/2705(RSP))

further to Question for Oral Answer B8‑0717/2016
pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

Linda McAvan on behalf of the Committee on Development

Procedure : 2016/2705(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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European Parliament resolution on the next steps towards attaining global goals and EU commitments on nutrition and food security in the world


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, in particular Article 25 thereof, which recognises the right to food as part of the right to an adequate standard of living,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in particular Article 11 thereof, which recognises the right to ‘an adequate standard of living […], including adequate food’ and the ‘fundamental right […] to be free from hunger’,

–  having regard to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted in 2008, which makes the right to food enforceable at international level,

–  having regard to the Rome Declaration on World Food Security, adopted at the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),

–  having regard to the Right to Food Guidelines, adopted in 2004 by the FAO, which offer guidance to states on how to implement their obligations as regards the right to food,

–  having regard to the FAO study entitled ‘Global food losses and food waste’, published in 2011, which provides accurate information on the amount of food wasted and lost every year,

–  having regard to the Second International Conference on Nutrition, held in Rome from 19 to 21 November 2014, and its Outcome Documents, namely the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises,

–  having regard to the G8 L’Aquila Food Security Initiative of 2009,

–  having regard to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, which seeks to harness the capability and willingness of international stakeholders to support national government-led initiatives and priorities to tackle undernutrition,

–  having regard to World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution No 65.6 of 2012 on a ‘Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition’,

–  having regard to the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, launched at Rio+20, calling on governments, civil society, faith communities, the private sector and research institutions to unite to end hunger and eliminate the worst forms of malnutrition,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/259 of 1 April 2016, entitled ‘United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025)’, which aims to trigger intensified action to end hunger and eradicate malnutrition worldwide, and ensure universal access to healthier and more sustainable diets – for all people, whoever they are and wherever they live,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015, entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’,

–  having regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their interconnected and integrated nature, in particular SDG 1 (to end poverty in all its forms everywhere), SDG 2 (to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture), and SDG 12 (to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns),

–  having regard to the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation of 1 December 2011[1], in particular paragraph 32 thereof, which refers to the need to ‘recognise the central role of the private sector in advancing innovation, creating wealth, income and jobs, mobilising domestic resources and in turn contributing to poverty reduction’ (SDG 1),

–  having regard to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that EU external action must contribute to sustainable development goals, human rights and gender equality,

–  having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which reaffirms that the Union must take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries,

–  having regard to the Food Assistance Convention, which was ratified by the European Union on 13 November 2013,

–  having regard to the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, endorsed at the Nutrition for Growth Summit in London on 8 June 2013,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 October 2012 entitled ‘The EU approach to resilience: learning from food security crises’ (COM(2012)0586),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 March 2013 entitled ‘Enhancing Maternal and Child Nutrition in External Assistance: an EU Policy Framework’ (COM(2013)0141), and to the Council Conclusions on Food and Nutrition Security in external assistance of 28 May 2013,

–  having regard to the Action Plan on Nutrition – Reducing the number of stunted children under five by 7 million by 2025[2], adopted by the Commission in 2014,

–  having regard to the first progress report on the Commission’s Action Plan on Nutrition,

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 2 December 2014, entitled ‘Implementing EU food and nutrition security policy commitments: first biennial report’ (COM(2014)0712),

–  having regard to the joint EU, FAO and World Food Programme (WFP) global assessment of March 2016, entitled ‘Global analysis of food and nutrition security situation in food crisis hotspots’,

–  having regard to the Committee on World Food Security’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security of 11 May 2012,

–  having regard to the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (FFA)[3],

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition[4],

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2011 on an EU policy framework to assist developing countries in addressing food security challenges[5],

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 November 2014 on child undernutrition and malnutrition in developing countries[6],

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 April 2015 on Milano Expo 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life[7],

–  having regard to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact of 15 October 2015[8], as put forward by Milan City Council and signed by 113 cities around the world, which was submitted to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and illustrates the key role played by cities in food policy-making,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the next steps towards attaining global goals and EU commitments on nutrition and food security in the world (O-000099/2016 – B8‑0717/2016),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on Development,

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas SDG 2 and its associated targets aim at ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030, notably by securing opportunities for and increasing the productivity of smallholders, and achieving sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture and food systems, which are capable of feeding an expected global population of 8.5 billion by 2030 while protecting biodiversity, the environment, and smallholders’ interests and wellbeing;

B.  whereas smallholder farmers, through their investments and production, constitute the biggest private sector actor in the field of agriculture, food security and nutrition;

C.  whereas the human right to food can only be fully achieved when poverty and inequality are drastically reduced, equality is ensured and resilience to shocks is enhanced, in particular by setting up rights-based social safety nets and ensuring the full participation of vulnerable groups and secure access to and control of land, and management of resources and other productive assets, for smallholders and pastoralist communities;

D.  whereas progress in reducing malnutrition has been made but remains too slow and uneven, and whereas 795 million people in the world currently do not get enough food to lead a decent, active life; whereas one in three people are malnourished in one form or another;

E.  whereas in 2012 the WHA endorsed a set of six global nutrition targets for 2025, namely to achieve a 40 % reduction in the number of children under five who are stunted, a 50 % reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age, a 30 % reduction in low birth weight, prevention of an increase in childhood overweight, an increase in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of at least 50 % and a reduction in childhood wasting to less than 5 %;

F.  whereas breastfeeding is the most natural and the best food supply for newborn babies and young children, especially in developing countries, but ignorance of the practice and cultural reservations still result in insufficient numbers of babies being breastfed;

G.  whereas at the Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2013, the EU committed to reducing stunting by at least 7 million by 2025 and pledged EUR 3.5 billion for the 2014-2020 period to achieve this target;

H.  whereas inadequate nutritious intakes during the first 1 000 days of a child’s life has crucial health, social and economic consequences, and whereas one in six children in the world is underweight, 41 million children under five are overweight or obese, and malnutrition is the cause of around 45 % of under-five deaths, which translates to the unnecessary loss of about 3 million young lives a year; whereas chronic undernutrition affects around 161 million children in the world;

I.  whereas women are often more vulnerable to nutrient deficiency, with several severe consequences, which include undermining their productivity and ability to provide for their families, thus perpetuating the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition;

J.  whereas the world population is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030;

K.  whereas effective measures to combat land grabbing in developing countries, including through concrete options to ensure land tenure security, are essential for attaining global goals and EU commitments on nutrition and food security in the world;

L.  whereas undernutrition and poor diet are by far the largest risk factors responsible for the global burden of disease;

M.  whereas combating malnutrition entails developing a sustainable agricultural policy that privileges diversification of crops, with a view to supplying nutritious food and diversifying diets; whereas, to this end, control, ownership and affordability of seeds are essential to the food security resilience of smallholders and family farmers;

N.  whereas the fulfilment of the right to food depends, among other things, on access to land and other productive resources;

O.  whereas investment trade agreements could have a detrimental effect on food security and malnutrition if the leasing or selling off of arable land to private investors results in local populations being deprived of access to productive resources indispensable to their livelihoods, or if it results in large portions of food being exported and sold on international markets, thereby making the exporting host state more dependent on – and more vulnerable to – the fluctuation of commodity prices on international markets;

P.  whereas biofuel production has introduced a new pressure into the global food system, providing competition for land and water;

Q.  whereas the unsustainable production of meat impacts negatively on food security; whereas one third of the world’s cereals are being used as animal feed, while the expansion of pastures and food crops is a major source of deforestation, especially in South America[9];

R.  whereas 240 million people across 45 low income countries and/or conflict-affected countries are suffering from food and water stress and 80 million are affected by a food crisis, including 41.7 million due to the 2016 El Niño, the strongest observed in decades;

S.  whereas according to UNICEF, 2 000 children aged under five are already dying every day of illnesses caused by water pollution, and whereas half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from illnesses caused by the poor quality of drinking water;

T.  whereas by 2050, 70 % of the world’s population will live in cities and a combined global and local approach to nutrition will be more vital than ever before;

U.  whereas nutrition security is a crucial precondition of sustainable and inclusive growth, as the economic consequences of malnutrition may represent losses of around 10 % of GDP annually, and whereas, according to the 2015 Global Nutrition Report by the FAO, every dollar spent on scaling up nutrition interventions yields a return of 16 dollars;

V.  whereas privatisation of seeds through IPR clauses and GMOs threaten countries’ food sovereignty;

1.  Reaffirms the importance of genuinely coordinated and accelerated actions among global, national, local, governmental, non-governmental and private actors, including scientific and industrial research bodies, and among donors, to address malnutrition in order to fulfil the 2030 Agenda and to attain SDG 2 to end hunger;

2.  Notes that children in developing countries who are breastfed by their mothers are 15 times less likely to die of pneumonia and 11 times less likely to die of diarrhoea than children who have not been breastfed;

3.  Calls on the Commission, the Council, the Member States and the international community, as well as on developing countries’ governments to mobilise, forthwith, long-term financial investments for food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture, and to enhance food security and nutrition through improved governance and accountability and systemic policies on food and nutrition, which are rights-based and take into account, on the one hand, the gender dimension, sustainable agriculture, natural resource use and access, public water, public sanitation and hygiene, and, on the other, the creation and expansion of inclusive, entitlement-based social safety nets, in particular targeting the most vulnerable and marginal groups;

4.  Stresses the need to tackle the systemic problems that generate poor nutrition in all its forms; notes with concern that, in the past, promotion of export-led agriculture operated at the expense of family farms producing food crops for local consumption; deems that reinvestment in local food production, focused in particular on small-scale food producers and agroecological practices, is a key condition for the success of nutrition strategies; deems it equally essential to establish social protection schemes to ensure that all individuals have access to nutritious food at all times;

5.  Notes with concern that one third of the food produced worldwide – some 1.3 billion tonnes – is wasted; observes that the largest quantity is wasted in North America and Oceania, where nearly 300 kg of food per person goes to waste; notes that in total the EU produces 88 million tonnes of food waste per annum, while worldwide 842 million people – 12 % of the world’s population – go hungry; stresses the need to adapt all food systems to eliminate loss or wastage of food;

6.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to pay attention to Policy Coherence for Development in their activities and, accordingly, to consider the ramifications of their policies on trade, agriculture, energy, etc. for global food security;

7.  Calls on the international community and the EU to work with countries to support the definition and implementation of context-specific, feasible and robust national nutrition targets in line with the SDGs, in order to reduce stunting and malnutrition; urges the Commission and the EU Delegations to promote coordinated country-led nutrition and food-security strategies and approaches and to encourage improvement of the monitoring and accountability of these by partner countries;

8.  Calls on the EU and the international community to promote a worldwide ‘right to breastfeed’ and to highlight the importance of breastfeeding in information campaigns on maternal and child health;

9.  Calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to make every effort to raise European public awareness of the persistent worldwide problem of undernutrition, which affects children and women in particular;

10.  Underlines that local food production should be given priority in actions against undernutrition, and stresses the importance of supporting smallholder and female farmers as food producers; calls on the EU to assist developing countries and smallholder farmers in the development of and access to local markets, local value chains and local food processing facilities, combined with trade policies that support such efforts, as part of its global nutrition strategy;

11.  Points out that, in a context where conventional farming is characterised by monocropping, the shift from diversified cropping systems to simplified cereal-based systems has contributed to micronutrient malnutrition in many developing countries; calls for the EU to commit, in line with the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, to a fundamental shift towards agroecology as a way for countries to feed themselves and improve nutrition, while addressing climate and poverty challenges; in particular, calls on the EU and the governments of developing countries to support crop genetic diversity, i.e. through the setting-up of local seed exchange systems, and seed regulations consistent with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and to invest in a wide variety of nutritious, local and seasonal food crops consistent with cultural values;

12.  Recalls the paramount importance for food sovereignty of ensuring peoples’ access to land; underlines that land grabbing which results from large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries represents a new threat to food security and nutrition; requests that the Commission take concrete measures to combat land grabbing and to develop an action plan to combat land grabbing and ensure the effective implementation of the FAO Tenure Guidelines;

13.  Deplores the fact that the EU biofuels policy is encouraging speculation on arable land, particularly land that is the most fertile and located near to ports or roads; urges the EU to remove, in line with the principle of Policy Coherence for Development, public incentives for the production of crop-based biofuels;

14.  Stresses that the level of investment in nutrition remains essentially inadequate, with nutrition-specific interventions receiving only 0.57 % of global official development assistance in 2014, thus meeting only 1.4 % of the total needs;

15.  Looks to the Commission to honour its commitment to invest EUR 3.5 billion in order to reduce stunting by at least 7 million by 2025; points out that of the EUR 3.5 billion pledged, only EUR 400 million are dedicated to supporting nutrition-specific interventions, while the remaining EUR 3.1 billion are foreseen for nutrition-sensitive interventions, which address related issues such as agriculture, food security, gender, water, sanitation, hygiene and education, but do not necessarily directly address the immediate causes of child undernutrition;

16.  Underlines that stunting, measured as a child being too short for its age and occurring when chronic inadequate nutrition and repeated infections during the first 1 000 days of life prevents normal growth and development, is one of the most significant impediments to human development;

17.  Calls on the Commission and the Council, ahead of the second High-Level Summit on Nutrition that will be held in Brazil in August 2016, to ensure EU political leadership and promote at global and regional level the attainment of internationally agreed nutrition targets that are clear and ambitious; urges the EU Delegations and the Commission to promote coordinated country-led nutrition and food-security strategies, while integrating, in cooperation with partner countries, the global nutrition targets into all relevant development programmes and country strategies;

18.  Calls on the EU to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, to ensure prevention of trade distortions in world agricultural markets in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round, and to integrate the most affected countries into the global trade market in order to tackle food insecurity;

19.  Considers that the review of the EU’s financial framework should take into account the fact that food safety and security will be challenges in the coming years, given the increased pressure on resources; points out that this could be used to tackle malnutrition trends in countries outside the EU as well as in Member States;

20.  Recognises that besides stunting, other manifestations of malnutrition such as wasting (low weight for height) and micronutrient deficiencies also need to be addressed through sustainable agricultural policies and health systems; points out that the prevalence of wasting in South Asia is so severe, at just under 15 %, that it is approaching the level of a critical public health problem;

21.  Stresses that humanitarian aid addressing the problem of wasting needs to be complemented by Commission strategies linking humanitarian and development interventions; urges the Commission to define a contribution from development programmes to a newly specified commitment and target in order to tackle wasting in children under five immediately and effectively;

22.  Stresses the importance of promoting nutrition education programmes in schools and local communities;

23.  Calls on the Commission to set out a clear policy framework for increasing support to national social safety nets, in line with national, regional and international commitments, which have proven, in a number of countries, to be a crucial means of increasing resilience and reducing undernutrition;

24.  Stresses that an estimated additional investment of USD 7 billion per year is needed to reach the global targets on stunting, anaemia in women and breastfeeding, and that such investment would result in 3.7 million child lives saved, at least 65 million fewer stunted children and 265 million fewer women suffering from anaemia than in 2015;

25.  Calls on the Commission to take on a stronger leadership in the field of food security and nutrition, by scaling up its commitments through an additional commitment of EUR 1 billion addressing nutrition-specific interventions in order to meet the nutrition targets of the WHA and the SDGs, and by developing a clear strategy for how it plans to implement and integrate these targets into its plans and policies, as well as providing a clear roadmap for the allocation of the pledged funds for the period 2016-2020;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) donors to continue to report regularly on progress made under the nutrition for growth commitments, using a common resource-tracking methodological approach as agreed at the 2013 SUN Network meeting in Lusaka;

27.  Stresses the need for all EU policies to be aligned with the principle of Policy Coherence for Development; calls, therefore, for EU trade and development policy to respect the political and economic policy space of developing countries in order for them to establish the necessary policies to promote sustainable development and dignity for their people, including food sovereignty;

28.  Calls for the development of specific indicators for the implementation of the EU action plan, including indicators for tracking nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific spending, by refining the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s (DAC) basic nutrition code and developing a DAC marker for nutrition-sensitive interventions; insists, in this regard, on the need to set rigorous monitoring and accountability measures, thereby ensuring transparency and effective progress-tracking;

29.  Calls on the Commission to support smallholder farmers in experimenting with and adopting more resilient and productive agricultural practices (those that meet the criteria of being ‘climate smart’ and agroecologically sound) that help to reverse environmental degradation and improve the reliability and adequacy of agricultural livelihoods, a necessary condition for improved food security and nutrition;

30.  Stresses that the right to water goes hand-in-hand with the right to food and that the UN resolution of 2010 has not yet resulted in decisive action to establish the right to water as a human right;

31.  Invites the Commission and other donors and bodies to improve nutrition-sensitive disaggregated and comprehensive data collection so as to better target future action;

32.  Insists on the need to take a holistic approach to the challenge of undernutrition, which requires action in a wide range of economic and social sectors; stresses, therefore, the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and the essential role of the private sector in improving food security and scaling up nutrition-specific interventions, notably by innovating and investing in sustainable agriculture, and improving social, economic and environmental practices in farming and food systems;

33.  Calls on the Commission to continue to act as a champion among donors in the eradication of malnutrition by accelerating its efforts to meet its commitments and by lending its voice and support to ensure that there is a moment to check in on progress made against 2013 Nutrition for Growth commitments and for additional pledges to be made to fill the nutrition funding gap;

34.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the African Union, the FAO and the World Health Organisation.