Timeline

Food & Sustainability

We promote informed and balanced discussion about what agricultural systems are best suited to different circumstances and needs.
October 2017

QUNO moderates panel on "Trade, investment and food security" at CFS 44

In October, Representative Susan Bragdon moderated a panel entitled "Trade, investment and food security: designing rules for sustainable food systems" at the 44th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 44). The session was organized by the Columbia University Law School, the Institute for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. 

Susan introduced the subject by describing how trade and investment rules have evolved over the last 25+ years to reach ever more into the domestic sphere of governance, limiting the flexibility of Member States in designing national rules to support food and nutrition security.  Speakers with experience in Central America, the Mekong region, and Ghana described specific national experience, while researchers from the organizers of the panel described current trends and possible future directions. The side event was well-attended and a lively discussion ensued from the background and presentations.

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October 2017

QUNO co-hosts a Food Security and Sustaining Peace side-event at the World Committee on Food Security

QUNO co-hosted a side-event “Contributing to sustaining peace and conflict prevention: perspectives from agriculture, food security and nutrition” at the World Committee on Food Security (CFS) on 9 October.  Other co-hosts were the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Food Programme and the Netherlands. The standing-room-only attendance of over 70 indicated people’s broad interest in the the nexus between peace and food and nutrition security.  Nora Meier, who just finished her position as a Programme Assistant in QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Programme is now a consultant to FAO in an FAO-QUNO research project on the role of farmers’ seeds systems in sustaining peace. Nora presented her hypothesis and initial findings and noted that she would welcome input from the expertise at the CFS. After a lively discussion, delegates stayed to offer further information and encouragement to Nora and to Food & Sustainability Representative, Susan Bragdon.

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August 2017

Statement at the High Level Political Forum in New York in July 2017

From July 10-19, 2017, the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place in New York. The HLPF is the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme of this year’s HLPF was ‘Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World’ and included the review of SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14, and 17.

At the HLPF session on the review of SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), Susan H. Bragdon, QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Programme Representative, made a statement on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Cluster of the NGO Major Working Group. The latter is one of nine sectors of society working as main channels to facilitate broad participation in UN activities related to sustainable development. 

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July 2017

QUNO participation at YMG 2017 in Warwick

QUNO was excited to join Friends at Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) 2017 in Warwick. YMG is a week-long event held every three years by Quakers in Britain, that brings together Quakers, friends and families for an exciting week of community and movement-building. QUNO was represented at YMG by Lindsey Fielder Cook, Andrew Tomlinson, Laurel Townhead and Jonathan Woolley, and participated in four workshops, as well as both nights of the Groups Fair. 

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July 2017

New Publication on Reinvigorating the Public Sector: The Case of Food Security, Small-Scale Farmers, Trade and Intellectual Property Rules

In this recently published paper in the Society for International Development (2017), QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Representative Susan H. Bragdon explores the two interlinked trends of using market-based solutions to end hunger and the weakening of the public sector in ensuring local and global food security. She argues that both of these phenomena play an important role in the creation of a modern food system that is harming the health of people and planet. Therefore, she calls upon governments to define and assert their appropriate roles in the protecting the public interest in food security and emphasizes the need for a revitalized public sector. 

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July 2017

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

QUNO's July 2017 issue of the Geneva Reporter newsletter is now available online. The latest issue features: an update from our Human Rights & Refugees Representative on the new “global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration,” news about the inter-faith meetings QUNO helped to organize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a brief overview on our recent cross-cutting work on sustaining peace and climate change, and a QUNO Q&A  with Carolan Redfearn.

The full publication is available below.

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June 2017

QUNO Co-hosted Preliminary Meeting to Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Development Goal 2

On Sunday 11, prior to the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2), QUNO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), co-hosted a preliminary meeting with about 20 experts on the subjects. SDG 2, which aims to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,’ will be reviewed at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) this July, together with SDGs 1, 3, 5, 9, 14, and 17. The HLPF is the central United Nations (UN) platform for the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Agenda 2030 was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015.  FAO is one of three Rome based agencies, along with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), working on SDG 2.

For many civil society organizations from Rome, it was the first-time learning about the United Nations (UN) processes in New York. The preliminary meeting, hosted at Quaker House New York, allowed both New York and Europe-based agencies to learn from one another about the different approaches and dynamics between the different UN locations, to understand the specific concerns of those attending, and to find ways to complement and support each other where appropriate.

The meeting was very successful, with people leaving feeling a real sense of comradery and support. The positive effect on the running of the EGM of this pre-meeting was clear. QUNO Geneva is grateful to Andrew Tomlinson and his staff at QUNO New York for allowing Susan Bragdon to use Quaker House on such short notice and is looking forward to further collaboration during the HLPF as well as beyond. 

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June 2017

Susan Bragdon Nominated to Attend Expert Group Meeting on Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 2

QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Representative Susan Bragdon was one of 100 experts nominated to participate in an expert group meeting (EGM) intended to measure the progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of Goals agreed to in Agenda 2030 in September 2015.

This EGM, which was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP), took place on June 12-13, 2017 at the UN headquarters in New York. The two-day EGM was convened in preparation for the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and brought together a diverse group of experts and stakeholders in an interactive dialogue to assess progress made in reaching the targets of SDG 2, to identify challenges at the national and international levels, and to produce key political messages and policy recommendations in advance of the HLPF.

QUNO is welcoming the opportunity to be part of this process and is looking forward to collaborate with UN agencies as well as civil society organizations and the private sector in order to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.’

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April 2017

QUNO Food & Sustainability Programme Attended the ECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

On April 25, 2017, Food & Sustainability Programme Assistant Nora Meier attended the UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (RFSD). One day prior to that event, she also followed the preparatory civil society consultation at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, where she was able to connect with organizations from the region.

The RFSD followed up on and reviewed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UNECE region while focusing on practical value-added and peer learning. During the one-day event, states, civil society and the private sector shared policy solutions, best practices and challenges from their experiences in SDG implementation and helped identifying major regional and subregional trends. The meeting also convened three roundtables on national and local adaptation of SDGs; subregional cooperation for SDG implementation; and on data and monitoring.

In light of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to be taking place in July in New York, QUNO was interested to learn about the progresses made and processes implemented, in particular as they relate to SDGs 1, 2, 3, 13, 15, and 16.  

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March 2017

QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Releases Three New Publications

Programme Representative Susan H. Bragdon authored three new publications, which were published in March 2017 and are now available online as well as in hard copy.

Are Small-scale Farmers at the Table? Reflections on Small-scale Farmers’ Participation in Global and National Decision-Making provides background and perspective on small-scale farmer representation in international discussions related to food and nutrition security, innovation, climate change, human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals; and makes six recommendations for how multilateral institutions that host negotiations or dialogues can encourage and facilitate the participation of small-scale farmers.

The Foundations of Food Security – Ensuring Support to Small-scale Farmers Managing Agricultural Biodiversity argues that the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) agreements established by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Convention on Biological Diversity, or the Nagoya Protocol are, and will continue to be, insufficient for generating the benefit necessary to support the innovative activities of small-scale farmers in conserving, managing, and actively developing the majority of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. 

The Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities over Agricultural Biodiversity explores the concerns driving relevant international instruments with the goal of increasing the understanding needed to achieve coherence and mutual support. The paper concludes with suggestions on how to create a system that supports the critical role that agricultural biodiversity plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

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March 2017

The Time is Ripe for Governments to Strengthen Sustainable and Food-Secure Farming

In November 2016, QUNO hosted an expert consultation on the role of the public sector in supporting small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity. Over 15 participants from around the world, representing a variety of professional backgrounds, convened to discuss how best to assist governments in determining their roles in ensuring food security and to develop tools for the public sector to create national food policies with small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity at their center. 

One of the outputs of this consultation is The Time is Ripe for Governments to Strengthen Sustainable and Food-Secure Farming, a call-to-action for the international community to mobilize resources for a more proactive role of the public sector in supporting small-scale farmers, their seed systems and the protection of agricultural biodiversity. Furthermore, the paper calls upon national governments to engage in consultation with small-scale farmers to identify what they require in order to effectively engage in activities to support the conversation and sustainable use of biodiversity and to achieve secure livelihoods.

QUNO would like to thank all the participants for their valuable contributions in making this collaborative effort possible. 

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March 2017

QUNO Submits Written Input to the Berlin Charter on Rural Development and Food Security

In March, QUNO submitted a written contribution to The Berlin Charter on rural development and food security that emphasized the importance of small-scale farmers as an agent of change. Support for small-scall farmers is particularly important in the context of rural development and the need to make rural life and the activities of small-scale farmers an attractive option to youth. The Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) invited an international group of high-level experts to develop the The Berlin Charter, which will be presented as an input to the BMZ International Conference on Rural Development entitled One Hunger, Future of the Rural World. This conference will be held in Berlin on April 27-28, 2017.

The Berlin Charter highlights major global trends, challenges and in particular arising opportunities for rural areas. Its aim is to portray a modern and innovation-driven development vision of the rural world, closing with a call for action to the international development community. The Charter is intended to motivate decision-makers to step up to support rural development. More broadly, the Charter is supposed to serve as a roadmap and an inspiration and finally as a reminder of how important rural development is for achieving sustainable global development.

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March 2017

QUNO Submits Written Input to Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in Humanitarian Contexts

In March 2017, QUNO attended an informal discussion on the Right to Food in humanitarian contexts organized by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms. Hilal Elver. Our Food & Sustainability and Peace and Disarmament programmes submitted a joint statement emphasizing the importance of agricultural biodiversity, small-scale farmers, and informal seed systems in humanitarian contexts. QUNO highlighted that resilience is central to any sustained response to food insecurity in crises or crises-prone situations and small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity are central to resilience. Therefore, thoughtful and targeted rehabilitation is necessary to build and consolidate peace while contributing to food security and rural development after a humanitarian crisis has subsided. The full statement is available below.

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March 2017

QUNO Food & Sustainability Programme Delivers Oral Statement at Human Rights Council

The Clustered Interactive Dialogue (ID) on Sustainable Environment and on the Right to Food was held at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. During the event, both the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr. John Knox, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms. Hilal Elver, presented their findings.

In an oral statement, delivered by Nora Meier, Programme Assistant for Food & Sustainability at the Interactive Dialogue, we commended Mr. Knox for his report and thanked him for recognizing the explicit connection between agricultural biodiversity and global food and nutrition security and the ability to adapt to climate change and other abiotic and biotic stressors. Furthermore, we highlighted that industrial agriculture is the largest driver of biodiversity loss and causing harm to the health of people and our planet. We ended our oral statement by asking Mr. Knox: “What action should States take separately and jointly to support the role of small-scale farmers in managing agricultural biodiversity in order to mitigate and prevent the negative impact on enjoyment of human rights arising from loss of biodiversity?”

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March 2017

QUNO Review March 2017 now available

Our new, March 2017 edition of the QUNO Review is now available for download. The annual report provides a brief introduction to QUNO and our way of working, as well as an overview of each of our programme areas. Learn more about our past year of our work and see where we are headed in 2017.

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February 2017

QUNO Attends 33rd IGC on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore at WIPO

In February 2017, QUNO attended the opening of the 33rd session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. While the last two sessions were concerned with Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge respectively, this week’s meeting will focus on Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs). In particular, the member states will be debating the development of an international legal framework to protect TCEs and will intend to narrow existing gaps and reach common understanding on core issues. This includes the continuing negotiations around policy objectives, beneficiaries, scope of protection, administration of rights, and exceptions and limitations.  

QUNO welcomes the opportunity to be part of this session and will continue to monitor the progress of the negotiations this week. It supports the statements made by the Chair and the Indigenous Caucus, which called on member states to contribute to the Voluntary Fund, which depends on voluntary contributions of member states, has been depleted since 2014. Therefore, the IGC has not been able to provide direct funding for representatives of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to participate in the IGC sessions.

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February 2017

QUNO contributed to GAFSP Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

In February 2017, QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Programme was asked to contribute to the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) document, which is intended to serve as a reference to all Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) stakeholders. The updated plan will guide all new projects in the GAFSP portfolio going forward: on what is required at each stage of the project cycle, including applying and reporting against the GAFSP indicators. GAFSP emphasizes the role of monitoring and evaluation and learning on their website (see link below). Their M&E Plan reflects the strong results-oriented nature of GAFSP fund.

QUNO commends GAFSP for its transparency in seeking input from a wide range of interested parties at this early stage in developing its plan. In her written contribution submitted to the Working Group, Programme Representative Susan H. Bragdon voiced concern with “using [crop] yields as an indicator with no modifier […].”   Industrial agriculture may have increased the yield of some crops but this has come with high environmental costs. Susan therefore suggested “if increase in yields is an indicator, it needs to be yield per units of water and energy and environmental externalities” […], such as Greenhouse Gas emissions, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss. Furthermore, Susan emphasized the importance of including “impact on diversity grown and consumed […]” Susan noted this is of particular importance in light of dietary simplification being a cause of ‘hidden hunger’ and the nutrition transition that underpins obesity. Throughout the M&E report, Susan also highlighted the need to explicitly include agricultural biodiversity, in-situ and on-farm, as being critical to the long-term sustainability of any intervention for food and nutrition security.

QUNO is looking forward to the publication of the finalized report and welcomed the opportunity to contribute. 

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February 2017

QUNO contributes to CFS report on "Multistakeholder Partnerships"

During the 43rd Plenary Session in October 2016, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested that the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) produce a report on “Multistakeholder Partnerships to Finance and Improve Food Security and Nutrition in the Framework of the 2030 Agenda”. This report will be presented at the CFS 45 Plenary session in October 2018.

Before the report’s publication in the coming year, the expert panel has launched an ‘e-consultation’ process to gather views and comments on eight questions built around the scope and building blocks of the report, as proposed by the HLPE Steering Committee.

QUNO appreciates the opportunity to participate in the e-consultation and commented on the questions related to Multistakeholder Partnerships and the respective roles and responsibilities of public and private stakeholders and civil society in such partnerships and the questions relating to stakeholders and farmers’ participation.  

In particular, Programme Representative Susan Bragdon and Programme Assistant Nora Meier cautioned the HLPE to further study Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the area of food security before advocating for their use. While QUNO is emphasizing that “the issue is not pro-private sector and anti-public sector or vice versa,” it states that “it is about the appropriate roles and boundaries of each.” Therefore, first and foremost, there is a need for a better understanding of the role of the public sector, in particular as a provider of goods and services in food security as well as the role of the private sector in providing food security. In its statement, QUNO also asked to see “a reflection that governments play a critical, unique role in sustainable, national food systems and need to have both the space and capacity to act in the public interest.”

Furthermore, QUNO voiced their concern about the use of the term ‘stakeholder’ and the need to make sure that clear and rigorous definitions are understood and applied. In particular, “not every stakeholder has an equal stake” – for a small-scale farmer, decisions can be life and death, while for a corporation or company the “stake” may be in profits accrued or lost. 

Finally, QUNO commented on the need for farmer participation and stated that “we would therefore like the HPLE to consider the need to more experimentation, experience and information sharing on the practicalities of how to secure the input of highly diverse farmer groups, and in particular small-scale farmers.”

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January 2017

QUNO attends Global Donor Platform for Rural Development in Brussels

QUNO’s Food and Sustainability (F&S) programme representative Susan H. Bragdon attended the AGA this year to discuss the Agenda 2030 and how the new framework of global development priorities can be supported to achieve food and nutrition security for all.

Today, half the world’s food is produced by 1.5 billion small-scale farmers. However, while small-scale farmers contribute so much to global food security, they are often poor or very poor, and food insecure themselves. Of the hundreds of millions that go hungry daily (almost 1 billion), millions are rural, poor small-scale farmers. Decline in small-scale farmer livelihoods has increased rural-urban migration rates, as 54 percent of the world population now lives in urban areas, which is reducing food production and eroding food security (UNDESA, 2014).

QUNO therefore appreciated the opportunity to participate in the AGA, in particular in the discussions around the role of agriculture considering the new SDGs and the challenges of climate change as they relate to food security, small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity. 

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January 2017

QUNO Attended 16th Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Rome 30 January – 3 February 2017

QUNO’s Food and Sustainability (F&S) programme representative Susan H. Bragdon attended the 16th regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture at the FAO headquarters in Rome from 30 January to 3 February 2017. She closely followed the session, regional consultations, and side events as well as the one-day special event on the Contribution of Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture to Resilience.

The F&S programme team welcomed the opportunity to attend this event and was encouraged by the cross-sectorial work that has been done as well as by the reports and plans of action on plant genetic resources that have been produced.  

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