Seven principles for ending hunger:

Recasting of policies and institutions

 

Seventh principle: Recasting of policies and institutions




Recasting policies and institutions, at national, regional and global level 


As hunger is a consequence of our actions, and as our actions are largely influenced by economic policies and institutions in place, to solve the issue of hunger, it will be necessary to recast policies and institutions.



Recasting economic policies


Policies can be defined by one or several objectives to be achieved by using a number of policy instruments (rules defining the mode of operation of the economy and of public action, taxes and subsidies, public investments, programmes and services).


At national level, the objective of reducing or eradicating hunger is often mentioned in official government documents, but in reality in many cases it suffers from the counterproductive effect that actions implemented to achieve other objectives (e.g. maximising growth, increasing exports, reducing the cost of food, modernising agriculture, etc.) may have, or these other actions may be given priority in resource allocation. To give top priority to hunger reduction means ensuring that none of the policies in place act against this objective and that the maximum effort is made to mobilise the resources needed to achieve it. In a poor country where hunger affects an important part of the population, this typically means:


  1. Simplifying procedures for creating associations of the hungry and for their official registration (first principle) and mobilising the resources required for supporting them (training of leaders and members of associations, support their establishment and efforts for making them fully functional, etc.)

  2. Establishing and ensuring operations of programmes required to enable the undernourished to access adequate food (second principle)

  3. Support investment in food harvesting and storage equipment and facilities (third principle)

  4. Strengthen and decentralise the research system and integrate in its governance system the participation of disadvantaged population groups and their organisations. Increase public funding for programmes to develop sustainable technologies accessible to the poor (fourth principle)

  5. Implement tariffs on imported commodities subsidised in trading partner countries and effectively enforce regulations for fairer trade, through model contracts between producers and their organisations and foreign trade partners (fifth principle)

  6. Pass laws and related regulations for the recognition of the rights of rural communities over natural resources and the application of the right of food and ensure their effective enforcement (sixth principle)

  7. Analyse incentive policies, subsidies and taxes on agricultural commodities, inputs and equipments to serve as a basis for recasting to favour the development of a sustainable food and agriculture system.



Policies such as tariffs adjustments, strengthening and reorientation of agricultural research or maintenance of food security stocks can also be implemented at regional level in the framework of regional economic organisations. These organisations can also help to better coordinate the policies of their members.






Recasting institutions


At the international level, the reform of the CFS should be pursued further and it should be given greater power to coordinate and unify the recasting of national policies and anti-hunger efforts at the international level, as they are unfortunately, for the time being, rather uncoordinated [read]. Further strengthening the role of the CFS will require member countries to accept giving up some of their sovereignty, as they accepted to do in the case of the WTO at the time of creation of its Dispute Settlement Body. This will allow for smooth progress in the recasting of national policies and avoid any negative impact on their foreign trade, as it is important to avoid that these reforms cause trade diversion away from the reforming countries to those that would not accept to reform. The CFS should also have the authority to control and sanction those countries who do not respect international conventions and commitments in the area of food and agriculture.


As the content of policies is largely influenced by the institutions that guide their production, it will be indispensable at national level to strengthen the participation in the policy process of population groups who suffer from chronic hunger and of their organisations. Only an institutional change that gives them a stronger voice in the political debate will make sure that the recasting of policies has a long-lasting result.


 



Materne Maetz

(October 2013)

 

Last update:    October 2013

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