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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Partnership Fund for a Resilient Ukraine 2 (PFRU-2)

01.08.2024 - 31.12.2027

The Partnership Fund for a Resilient Ukraine (PFRU) unites eight development partners (UK, US, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands) and the Government of Ukraine to strengthen communities and government legitimacy through improved services, economic recovery and strengthened civil society. With its contribution, Switzerland can shape the development and deployment of an innovative multi-donor financing instrument in Ukraine to support its resilience and early recovery.


Responsible Business Fund Plus (RBF+)

01.07.2024 - 30.06.2028

Myanmar’s post-coup conflict escalation and economic turmoil has led to financial and economic instability and destabilised the agrifood industry. Also, extreme weather and climate change further impact farmers and agricultural processors. The Responsible Business Fund Plus project aims to support agrifood businesses while reducing their environmental impact and thus deepening Switzerland's commitment to private sector engagement and an inclusive green economy.


Kenya: Empowering refugees and host communities in Dadaab through market-led solutions (EMPOWER)

01.07.2024 - 30.06.2028

The project envisages to unlock the potential of displacement-affected communities (DACs) by providing access to capital, skills development, market opportunities and entrepreneur-friendly policies. The project aims to deliver on long-term economic growth, self-reliance and decreased dependency of DACs on aid. This sustainable approach offers a pathway out of poverty and towards thriving entrepreneurial livelihoods in Kenya.


Résilience pastorale Niger 2024-2025

01.07.2024 - 31.08.2025

Au Niger, les déficits fourragers et l’insécurité entrainent une perte de bétail pour 80% de la population qui pratique l’élevage. L’aide alimentaire n’est pas suffisante et non adaptée dans le temps. La Suisse contribue à couvrir les besoins alimentaires des populations pastorales en cette période de soudure pastorale 2024 et à asseoir les bases pour le renforcement de la résilience via la société civile pastorale.


Futuro Microbank

15.05.2024 - 31.12.2027

The microfinance institution Futuro Mcb, SA currently provides financial services (loans, savings, insurance) to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) mainly in and around Nampula city. Switzerland will continue to support Futuro with a grant for technical assistance that will help the bank to expand its impact by providing financial services to more low-income entrepreneurs in more regions in Northern Mozambique, thus allowing them to enhance their income and create more jobs.


Scaling Up Youth Employment in Agriculture Initiative

01.05.2024 - 30.04.2028

In Zambia and Zimbabwe, due to a mismatch between the skills they have and those in demand, youth cannot access or create economic opportunities and overlook those available. The project builds skills and matches youth with firms, markets and finance to create more and better (self)-employment in agri-food, renewable energy and emerging sectors, contributing to Swiss priorities on human and economic development and climate change. This is a contribution implemented by SNV.



Restoring livelihoods and revitalizing rural communities affected by mines and explosive remnants of war

01.03.2024 - 31.12.2027

Humanitarian demining is one of the priorities of Swiss international cooperation program. The Federal Council decided that a total of CHF 100 million will be earmarked for humanitarian demining for 2024-2027. SDC will contribute to the restoration of agricultural livelihood activities in areas severely impacted by the war to reduce the need for external support for rural households, small-scale farmers and local producers in three focal oblasts: Kharkivska, Mykolaivska and Khersonska.


UNHAS - Accès aux bénéficiaires en Afrique de l’Ouest

01.03.2024 - 31.12.2027

Dans un contexte d’insécurité alimentaire croissante et d’accès humanitaire précaire au Sahel, le service aérien humanitaire des Nations Unies (UNHAS) permet d’accéder aux populations dans le besoin grâce à un transport sûr et rapide de personnes et de biens. La contribution à UNHAS permettra d’atteindre les populations vulnérables dans les régions reculées ou enclavées et d’assurer le suivi des programmes suisses.


Climate & Socially Resilient Livelihoods’ Support (CSRLS)

01.02.2024 - 30.04.2028

The climatic challenges exacerbate Afghanistan's already fragile socio-economic condition. The project by the Afghan NGO, The Liaison Office, aims to sustainably improve lives and livelihoods of the poorest households in selected provinces by strengthening the natural resource base, climate change resilient and diversified livelihoods, relationships within and between communities, as well as joint climate action.


Accelerating the implementation of international commitments towards locally led humanitarian action 2024-2025

01.02.2024 - 30.06.2025

Locally led humanitarian action, development and peacebuilding (LLHDP) receives greater attention in international cooperation. Switzerland has a long tradition in working on LLHDP but lacks a coherent approach in taking this further. Through initiatives under this credit proposal SDC is making a meaningful contribution to the implementation of international commitments and efforts on LLHDP. This includes greater goal setting and progress on LLHDP, action-oriented research and catalytic actions to address specific blockages across the sector.


CABI PlantwisePlus

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2027

PlantwisePlus is a global programme that is supporting countries and farmers to predict, prevent and prepare themselves for plant health threats in a changing climate. This will allow farmers to reduce their crop losses and produce more and safer food using agroecological and climate-smart practices that safeguard human health and biodiversity. The programme is implemented by CABI, a leading intergovernmental research and development organization in plant health, with research facilities in Switzerland.

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