Recent Dutch policy developments on food and nutrition security
Food and nutrition security is one of the main themes in Dutch development policy. The Dutch government believes that the Netherlands can make a significant contribution to global food security due to the extensive knowledge on farming, the innovative business sector and the ambitions of Dutch civil society and knowledge institute partners that play a vital role.
In September 2015, new global targets for food and nutrition security were set as part of the UN’s post-2015 agenda. Goal two of these international objectives is to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030. The formulated Dutch ambitions aim to be proportionate contributions to these global goals.
This news item aims to update our readers on the current developments of the Dutch food and nutrition security policy. It highlights the Dutch policy framework on food security, policy results from 2014, recent responses and future directions.
Recently, a report was released (in Dutch) which describes the results and progress of Dutch development cooperation in 2014. Amongst others, the results of Dutch efforts in the field of food and nutrition security were presented. The report shows that for target one of the Dutch policy – to reduce malnutrition – the Netherlands reached nearly eight million undernourished people worldwide in 2014, one quarter of its goal of 32 million as part of the 2030 ambition. Furthermore, the Netherlands contributed through interventions with a more extensive approach to safety nets and community nutrition programmes that directly reduces malnutrition. For target two – promote smallholder agriculture – the Netherlands reached nearly 4.5 million smallholdings worldwide, more than half of the 2030 goal of eight million. This is the area in which the Netherlands performed the best in 2014. For target three in creating ecologically sustainable food systems, Dutch interventions contributed to sustainable management of 1.4 million hectares of land worldwide, which is one fifth of the 2030 goal of 7.5 million. This included 1.2 million hectares of land in Sub-Saharan Africa, a quarter of the goal of 5.25 million.
These results are intended to sharpen the framework for the Netherlands’ contribution to global food security of the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation and the Minister for Agriculture, presented in November 2014. Their letter to Parliament that presented this framework outlined the work by the Dutch government and partners and highlights important developments. It explains the focus of Dutch policy in all dimensions of food security (people, planet and profit) with three main targets: 1) Eradicating hunger and malnutrition; 2) Promoting inclusive and sustainable growth in the agricultural sector; and 3) Achieving ecologically sustainable food systems.
As a reflection on the results, in the coming year the ambition of the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation is to strengthen the focus on agricultural development with more emphasis on tackling nutrition and sustainability in food systems. Furthermore, the Netherlands wants to focus more on women and youth in order for them to have better opportunities in generating income from the agricultural sector.
In addition, the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) had recommended in its report ‘Towards a Food Policy’ (2014) that the Netherlands should make a shift from agricultural policy to a food policy with a focus on the resilience of the food system. In October 2015, the Dutch State Secretary Dijksma of Economic Affairs and Minister Schippers of Health, Welfare and Sport sent a letter to Parliament (in Dutch) to respond to this report. The brief states that the Dutch government underlined adjustments are needed in food systems in order to guarantee sufficient long term sustainable and healthy food both in the Netherlands and worldwide. Therefore, the governments is aiming for a comprehensive food policy where health, ecological sustainability and a robust food system are central.
On Wednesday January 27, 2016, a new debate on the Dutch food policy will be held where the 2014 letter to Parliament, a reply to CFS report on food wastage and a record of the interview with Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the Right to the United Nations Food will be discussed.