||Why is a Global Action Programme needed?
The Global Action Programme on Food Security and Nutrition in Small Island Developing States (GAP) aims to accelerate action on food security and nutrition to support the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It is intended as a concrete, tangible contribution to the integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is a direct response to the call in paragraph 61 of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway for an action programme to address the food security and nutrition challenges facing SIDS.
The SAMOA Pathway acknowledges the processes underway towards implementation of multilateral commitments for the sustainable development of SIDS while underscoring the need for a more integrated approach to sustainable development. It calls for strengthened international cooperation and partnerships to address the persistent development challenges of SIDS and to achieve internationally agreed goals.
Food security and nutrition are complex multifaceted challenges that cut across the 2030 Agenda, with most of the SDGs containing targets that are linked, either directly or indirectly, to food security and nutrition. Actions to end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition are crucial investments in human health and wellbeing and poverty reduction, they reduce inequality and improve gender equality, foster economic growth, yield benefits across generations, and will be central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda as a whole.
What are the food security and nutrition challenges facing SIDS?
The SAMOA Pathway reflects a number of challenges shared by Small Island Developing States that make them uniquely vulnerable to food insecurity and which magnify the importance of taking a truly cross sectoral approach to improving the food security and nutrition status of SIDS. These challenges include: limited land mass and population; fragile natural environments and lack of arable land; high vulnerability to climate change, external economic shocks, and natural disasters; high dependence on food imports; dependence on a limited number of economic sectors; and distance from global markets.
The majority of SIDS face a “triple burden” of malnutrition, in which undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity coexist within the same population, communities, households, and, at times, within the same individual over the life course. While undernutrition has fallen over the past three decades, progress has been slow and levels of stunting still exceed 20% in children in the poorest SIDS. At the same time, levels of obesity, particularly among women have increased sharply, with obesity in Caribbean countries averaging one third of adults, and over 40% in many of the AIMS.
In the Pacific, 75% of adult deaths are due to non- communicable diseases to which poor nutrition is a major contributor. In addition to the direct health consequences, malnutrition imposes considerable social and economic costs on individuals, families, communities, and societies, is often linked to poverty in a vicious cycle, and can exacerbate inequities by disproportionately affecting disadvantaged groups, including women and children.
What is the Global Action Programme?
The GAP recommends a series of indicative actions at local, national, regional, and global levels to achieve three interconnected and mutually- reinforcing objectives.
Objective 1: Enabling environments for food security and nutrition
Building an enabling environment for food security and nutrition requires strong, sustained political commitment; effective governance and institutional arrangements including meaningful opportunities for civil society to engage and to hold governments to account; the alignment of processes, policies, legislation, systems, regulations, and investments across sectors and levels; the building and mobilisation of sufficient capacity and resources; and the generation and dissemination of reliable and timely knowledge and evidence.
Actions in support of strengthened enabling environments are proposed under three components:
1.1 Political commitment and governance
1.2 Capacity and resources
1.3 Knowledge and evidence generation, dissemination and use
Objective 2: Sustainable, resilient, and nutrition-sensitive food systems
Despite significant improvements in the efficiency of food systems in delivering increasing quantities of food to growing populations, developments in these systems have created numerous challenges, including increased barriers to the participation of vulnerable groups, whether as producers, employees and consumers; growing malnutrition and health costs due to the emergence of and preference for more energy dense and convenient processed foods; significant levels of food loss and waste; increased incidence of food safety issues and trans boundary diseases; and environmental and natural resource degradation.
Actions in support of sustainable, resilient and nutrition-sensitive food systems will need to be addressed in a coherent and joined up fashion. The importance of moving from traditional approaches of supporting sector specific technological interventions towards a more programmatic and holistic approach to strengthening food systems will be critical in meeting this objective. For ease of articulation, the objective is structured around five components – the first three are primary sector specific, one covers post-production value chain development and another includes actions required to ensure improved resilience of these systems:
2.1 Sustainable management and use of oceans and seas and their resources for food security and nutrition
2.2 Sustainable management and use of freshwater resources for food security and nutrition
2.3 Sustainable management and use of terrestrial resources for food security and nutrition
2.4 Inclusive and efficient nutrition-sensitive value chains
2.5 Climate adaptation and resilience for food security and nutrition
Objective 3: Empowered people and communities for improved food security and nutrition
Pro-poor policies and strategies are needed to increase the ability of vulnerable groups to take advantage of, and benefit from, the opportunities created by the GAP. These include measures that target and address key sources of vulnerability and deprivation, to strengthen adaptive capabilities, and to provide social protection. Targeted interventions and programmes are also needed to address food insecurity and malnutrition, and their determinants, in vulnerable groups, by providing specific nutrition interventions; supporting their rights and access to natural resources; by enhancing their access to land, services and markets and by supporting their participation in policy and governance processes, including social protection.
The objective comprises three components:
3.1 Social and economic empowerment
3.2 Nutrition-sensitive social protection programmes
3.3 Targeted community-based interventions and services to prevent and treat malnutrition
In assisting SIDS to achieve these three interrelated objectives, the GAP’s structure is intended to facilitate and guide a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to identifying and implementing priority actions to achieve food security and improved nutrition in SIDS.
How will the GAP be implemented?
The GAP is a global guidance document intended to strengthen the coherence and coordination of global and regional support for food security, nutrition and sustainable development in SIDS, as well as to support SIDS governments in strengthening their national approaches and ensuring that their needs and priorities are met in relevant global and regional policy processes.
Its primary audience is SIDS governments and their development partners, including international and regional organizations, donor agencies, and other actors working on food security, nutrition and sustainable development in SIDS. The active engagement of private sector actors, civil society and other non-state actors including community groups, local authorities, the scientific and academic communities will be critical for the effective implementation of the GAP.
The GAP has been developed to align with existing global, regional and national strategies aimed at improving food security, nutrition and sustainable development in SIDS. It builds on these strategies and initiatives by consolidating the multiple existing global and regional recommendations and commitments relating to food security, nutrition and sustainable development into an integrated framework that addresses the specific vulnerabilities, needs and priorities of SIDS and facilitates the translation of these strategies at the national level. At the global level, these strategies include the Rome Declaration and Framework for Action on Nutrition as the two main outcome documents of the Second International Conference on Nutrition.
At the regional level, the GAP is aligned with key regional food security, nutrition, and sustainable development strategies and action plans including the Framework for Action on Food Security in the Pacific: Towards a Food Secure Pacific; the WHO Action Plan to Reduce the Double Burden of Malnutrition in the Western Pacific Region; the CARICOM Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework; the CARICOM Regional Food and Nutrition Security Action Plan (RFNSAP); and the Indian Ocean Regional Programme for Food Security and Nutrition (PRESAN).
The development of detailed implementation roadmaps at the regional, national and agency level, based on this GAP, but taking into account regional and national priorities, needs and conditions is encouraged. It is expected that these implementation roadmaps will identify specific priorities, modalities of collaboration and partnerships, roles, accountabilities, governance, and resourcing opportunities.
How will the achievements of the GAP be monitored?
As with the 2030 Agenda, the focus of reporting for the GAP will be at the national level where each country will have the primary responsibility for collecting and making data on the SDG indicators available, with support from UN agencies and other global and regional partners. Monitoring and reporting on a core set of indicators, to be reported on by all SIDS, will be important to ensure comparability and a harmonized approach. This core set of indicators will be kept to a minimum, and reflect the shared challenges and priorities of all SIDS. In addition to minimizing the monitoring and reporting burden, this approach will ensure that actions taken on the GAP fully support the efforts of SIDS to achieve internationally agreed goals and targets under the 2030 Agenda, as well as the World Health Assembly global nutrition and NCD targets.