2012 G20 Watch
Date: Mon, 2012-06-18
Location: Los Cabos, Mexico
Hosting organization: The Government of Mexico
PMNCH Partners' blog
For food security and nutrition at G20, some progress but much more needed
PMNCH partners report from the G20: By Kate Eardley of World Vision and David J. Olson, Consultant and G8/G20 Global Task Force
LOS CABOS, Mexico — For those of us advocating greater attention to and concrete action on food security and nutrition, the 2012 G20 Mexico was the best in recent years: Our issue got plenty of attention and some concrete action, but much more is needed, particularly in nutrition and strengthening accountability to ensure that commitments are delivered.
The attention to food security came from the very top — Mexican President Felipe Calderón wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times this past Monday entitled: “Why food security comes first: "We will have failed if we manage to get the richest nations back on track while the poorest still experience famine,” he wrote. “That is why my country insisted on placing food security at the top of the G20 agenda, alongside the restoration of economic growth and global financial reform.”
For the NGO partners of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, our goal here at Los Cabos has been to ensure that nutrition security was addressed as well as food security. We have been saying that it is not enough the food production be increased — as important as that is — but also to ensure that the most vulnerable, especially women and children, have access to more and better food for improved nutritional status. G20 leaders took some initial steps in that direction, and we are optimistic that now that the issue has been raised on the international stage, more progress will come in the future.
The final G20 Communiqué devoted much more attention to food security, commodity price volatility and other development issues than was the case in the 2011 Cannes G20 Communiqué. What we need now is to see the leaders take this promising beginning to a new level.
On Monday, the G20 announced an innovative initiative called AgResults to enhance global food security and improve livelihoods. AgResults will utilize a results-driven funding model that rewards innovators through prizes and other market-based incentives. The initiative aims “to achieve significant improvements in the well-being of the poor and vulnerable in developing countries with a fund of up to $100 million. It will be administered by the World Bank and funded by Australia, Canada, Italy, United Kingdom, the U.S. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
International civil society active on the G20 were looking for progress on policy change; safety nets and food reserves; a focus on women, children and small-scale producers, support for Scaling Up Nutrition, direct nutritional interventions and progress to adapt agriculture to climate change among other things.
So which of those did we get in the final Communiqué on 19th June?
- The launch of AgResults addresses several, including a focus on women, children and small-scale producers, albeit in a very limited way.
- The communiqué expressed support for the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and “encourages wider involvement of G20 members” in it.
- The leaders said they recognize the need to adapt agriculture to climate change but made no real commitments.
Beyond AgResults, the G20 made no new commitments, not that we expected any. And it made no mention of eliminating biofuels, an important issue for many of our NGO colleagues. However, Ambassador Rogelio Granguillome Morfin, chair of the G20 Development Working Group, said that the Mexican presidency of the G20 continues until the end of the year and that his government will continue to work with civil society and the B20 and make further progress on food security.
Although the World Health Organization was not one of the official participants in the G20, we were pleased to see that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan was invited to speak at the "Rethinking G20" session organized by President Calderón on Saturday
This was the most inclusive and transparent G8 or G20 summit ever, and we had unprecedented opportunities to contribute to the G20 agenda at different points in the process. We also had good access to the summit, including daily briefings by the Mexican Sherpa’s office. That is due to the leadership of President Calderón and his administration.
We hope that we can build on that dialogue with the Russian government when the G20 is held in St. Petersburg in 2013.