Access to food: the SDC's commitment to sustainable food systems

Sufficient and adequate food is a human right, yet over 800 million people remain chronically undernourished. The SDC works at various levels to ensure that every person in the world has access to sufficient and adequate food.  

A woman stacking apples in a market with a rich selection of fruits and vegetables
The SDC is committed to diversified production and food systems and access to fruit and vegetables for all. © SDC

The SDC's focus

The SDC aims to achieve sustainable food security for all. That is why it promotes agriculture, markets and food policies that guarantee secure access to adequate food even for the poorest and most disadvantaged sections of the population. In its work, the SDC considers all aspects of the entire food system, 'from farm to fork', which affect food availability and quality.

While direct food aid deliveries play an important role during acute crises, the SDC is increasingly supporting projects that prioritise sustainable and balanced long-term nutrition and functioning local markets. In the event of a crisis, food aid can thus be delivered much more efficiently by focusing on those most in need.

The SDC focuses in particular on the role of women and young people in food production and nutrition. It works to ensure that they have access to resources and education. Young people often seek opportunities in the agriculture or food sector, both in the rural and in urban areas. By providing sound training endeavours in organic farming as well as start-up opportunities for food retailers in towns and cities, the SDC helps to boost economic prospects while also strengthening food systems.

To improve access for all, especially disadvantaged groups, the SDC is active in the following areas:

Right to food

The SDC was actively involved in drafting the UN's Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realisation of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security, adopted in 2004, and has since been working to ensure their implementation. A number of countries have subsequently adjusted their policies, legislation and institutions in accordance with the Guidelines. The SDC is also working to ensure that civil society organisations and other stakeholders can monitor compliance with the right to adequate food and tell governments where there is potential for improvement.

Balanced nutrition

The SDC works to ensure that, in addition to staple foods, people also have access to a varied diet. To this end, it supports diversified agricultural production and food systems. Information and awareness-raising work, education, access to safe drinking water, healthcare and proper processing and storage of food also play an important role.

Crop forecasting and insurance

The SDC uses new technologies such as satellite data with radar technology to establish crop forecasting and agricultural micro-insurance. Among other things, crop forecasts facilitate the early detection of food crises, enabling timely intervention to prevent food emergencies and famine. In partnership with the private sector, the SDC develops micro-insurance products for smallholder farmers as well as insurance for countries, against flooding and drought for example. This is important to prevent more people falling even deeper into poverty.

Background

Hunger and malnutrition are major challenges. While the proportion of hungry people in the world fell from 23% to 12% between 1992 and 2015, according to the UN approximately 821 million people were chronically undernourished in 2017.

Sufficient and nutritious food is especially important during the first 1,000 days of an infant's life, otherwise the child can suffer permanent damage. According to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, over 240 million children under the age of five are affected by chronic or acute malnutrition and more than 2 billion people are suffering from vitamin or mineral deficiency. To counter this problem, food can be enriched with micronutrients. However, a sounder approach would be to promote diversified agricultural production that provides access to a wider range of foods.

The right to adequate food is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) made this right legally binding. In Switzerland, the ICESCR came into force in 1992.

To improve the overall quality of food systems, the SDC draws particularly on innovations developed by Swiss universities and private companies. Such partnerships range from research into sustainable cropping systems and scientific consolidation of practical experience from the food industry through to the development and application of technological solutions. The SDC helps to disseminate these approaches through international policy dialogue, drawing on its own decades of experience, as well as that of Swiss non-governmental development organisations in agricultural projects and from collaborative work with farmers' organisations.

Documents

Current projects

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OVCI - Improving nutritional condition of most vulnerable groups in Juba

01.03.2019 - 31.01.2021

Malnutrition among children and other vulnerable groups remains worse as a result of the prevailing food insecurity situation in South Sudan. According to the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for South Sudan, some 1.8 million people – the majority of which are children under five years - face malnutrition. Through this project, Volunteers Organization for International Co-operation (OVCI) intends to address malnutrition of vulnerable children, pregnant and lactating mothers and other destitute persons in Juba County by improving their dietary intake.


Yemen Pledging Conference 2019

20.02.2019 - 30.04.2019

In support of the Humanitarian Response Plan and to reduce the suffering of the Yemeni population, Switzerland will organize a high-level pledging conference on 26 February 2019 together with Sweden and the United Nations for the third time. Since the escalation of the conflict in mid-March 2015, Yemen faced enormous levels of humanitarian needs stemming from years of poverty, intermittent conflict and weak rule of law. Entering the 5th year of war have exacerbated these chronic vulnerabilities, leaving more than 24 million people – more than 80% of the population - in need of humanitarian aid.


Accès aux populations vulnérables grâce au soutien au Service Aérien Humanitaire des Nations Unies (UNHAS)

01.01.2019 - 30.11.2024

L’UNHAS est le service aérien des Nations Unies qui appuie la mise en œuvre d’interventions humanitaires ainsi que du développement économique et social en faveur des populations les plus vulnérables et marginalisées du Niger. L'UNHAS facilite et sécurise au Niger l'essentiel des déplacements des agents des programmes respectifs, leur permettant de rejoindre les régions reculées du pays et leurs populations rapidement et en toute sécurité.


Mali : ACF-E - Projet d'amélioration de la Sécurité Nutritionnelle dans le cercle de Tombouctou - PASEN

01.12.2018 - 28.02.2021

Au Mali, 34 % des cas de mortalité infantile sont associés à la sous-nutrition. Ce taux est encore plus critique à Tombouctou, où la précarité climatique et économique est couplée à l'insécurité. C'est pourquoi, la Suède et la Suisse joignent leurs efforts pour assurer la prise en charge des besoins nutritionnels urgents d'enfants malnutris et pour renforcer les actions de prévention. Pour assurer la durabilité des interventions, le projet prévoit également une implication plus importante des communautés et des institutions locales dans la prise en char e et révention de la malnutrition.


Projet de réponse d’urgence et de renforcement de la résilience des populations affectées par la crise alimentaire et pastorale de 2018 au Burkina Faso (PRACAP)

15.05.2018 - 31.07.2020

Au Burkina Faso, la baisse de 11% de la production agricole 2017/18 a entrainé environ 1 million de personnes dans une crise alimentaire. Cette situation est exacerbée par la crise pastorale et la dégradation du contexte sécuritaire, en particulier dans les régions du Sahel et du Centre Nord. Le Gouvernement a sollicité l’aide des partenaires pour une assistance aux personnes vulnérables et la Suisse y contribuera à travers la FAO et le PAM. 


Additional Contribution 2018 to WFP’s Emergency Response in Madagascar

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2018

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.



Cameroun: CRf-Accès aux soins et résilience

01.08.2017 - 28.02.2018

Par son appui financier au projet de la Croix-Rouge française, la DDC contribue au renforcement des capacités de résilience des populations affectées par le conflit (hôtes, personnes déplacées internes, réfugiées et retournées) les plus vulnérables socio économiquement tout en garanttissant un accès aux soins de qualité pour les enfants de moins de 5 ans et les femmes enceintes et femmes allaitantes. 





Nutrition Emergency Assistance to the Drought Affected Pastoralist Communities in Doolo Zone of Somali National Regional State, VSF-CH, Ethiopia

15.05.2017 - 14.08.2018

The failure of two consecutive rain seasons is having devastating effects on the mostly pastoralist population of Ethiopia’s southern arid and semi-arid areas. The number of people in need is dramatically increasing, with the drought affecting multiple aspects of human life. The Doolo Zone, where pastoralism is the main livelihood, is one of the most severely affected. By supporting VSF-CH, Switzerland will contribute to improve the nutritional status of the affected population.

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