Perspectives on relevant concepts related to food and nutrition security
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Wageningen :Foodsecure, 2012
Foodsecure Working paper ; 1
The food price spikes of 2007/08 have revived global awareness of the persistent problem of hunger and food insecurity all over the world, and turned the spotlight back onto the critical importance of food and nutritional security for economic development and political stability. Accordingly, interest of major donors, policymakers and research organizations in food security issues has grown in recent years. However, the exact definition of 'food security' remains vague and is subject to interpretation. To be able to monitor progress in global food security, a clear definition of the concept is required as well as a set of quantifiable indicators, which are generally accepted. This first working paper in the FoodSecure project investigates the different proposed definitions for the concept of 'food security', explores their legacy and relates concepts of food and nutrition security to other standard ones. The paper presents operational indicators to measure 'food security', discusses the integration of it in international law and policies (e.g. WTO) as well as the implementation in domestic policies. In their conclusion part the authors argue that food security and the right to food do not impose a specific policy that must be followed to achieve food security. They explain the varying choices of domestic policymakers to follow a policy of food self-sufficiency or food sovereignty instead of a policy of food self-reliance. The food sovereignty movement proposes that adequate food prices should be ensured by protection-based food self-sufficiency as long as the condition of free and perfect food markets is not fulfilled. Under the condition of free and prefect markets, it is economically optimal to pursue a policy of food self-reliance.