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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Scaling Up Youth Employment in Agriculture Initiative

01.08.2018 - 31.10.2023

Education systems in Southern Africa do not prepare youth for work; they cannot access or create economic opportunities and ignore the available options. The project will scale up in Southern Africa a model already tested by Switzerland in Tanzania. It will improve (self)-employment of 20’000 young women and men in Zimbabwe and Zambia by strengthening their skills and matching them with existing job opportunities, thereby contributing to the implementation of youth policies in-country and regionally.


Clean Air Project in India (CAP India)

01.07.2018 - 30.09.2023

India is one of the most severely affected countries by air pollution in the world. This project will respond to a demand for support raised in India’s new National Clean Air Programme, with the aim to improve air quality with co-benefits on public health, environment and climate change. Capacity building and technical assistance through Swiss expertise will support data measurement and analysis, city level clean air action plans and awareness raising campaigns to take precautionary measures and mitigate air pollution.


Reducing Food Losses through Improved Post Harvest Management in Ethiopia

01.07.2018 - 31.12.2022

Ethiopia continues to experience high post-harvest losses around 30% annually due to inappropriate use of technologies and mal-practices. Building up on the success stories and knowledge gained from SDC’s long-term engagement in post-harvest management and lessons learnt from the first phase, the second phase aims at promoting affordable and effective on-farm storage technologies and management practices to reduce post-harvest losses for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.


Programme de Développement des Infrastructures Économiques et Marchandes au Bénin (PDIEM)

01.07.2018 - 30.06.2022

La phase 1 du PDIEM a rénové 6 infrastructures économiques et marchandes d’importance nationale/régionale, pour dynamiser l’économie locale. Le gouvernement a demandé de répliquer ce projet à d’autres endroits. En cofinancement avec les communes et l’Etat, la phase 2 rénove 4 autres infrastructures, intégrant la gestion des déchets. Les revenus contribueront à entretenir les marchés, les taxes générées seront réinvesties pour des services publics améliorant les conditions de vie.


Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) Phase 2

01.07.2018 - 31.12.2022

Land governance remains at the centre of development challenges in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), and land expropriation is a key driver of new poverty and food insecurity. The governments in the region have begun to turn their attention to legal and policy issues on land governance. This creates an opportunity for MRLG and the Reform Actors it brings together, to contribute to improvements in policies and practices regarding land tenure security for family farmers.


Climate Resilience of IFAD Programmes

01.07.2018 - 31.12.2022

The International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD is a key partner for Switzerland in the efforts to lift smallholder farmers out of poverty. However, climate change is putting the success of the IFAD’s development programmes at risk. Switzerland supports the integration in all IFAD projects of measures that respond to potential climate threats into all IFAD projects. As a result, farmers become more resilient and Swiss investments through IFAD more sustainable.


Backstopping SDC Climate Change and Environment (CC&E) Network

01.07.2018 - 31.12.2023

A climate smart development cooperation requires continuous knowledge management and a sound thematic expertise. The next phase of the Backstopping Support Mandate (BSM) will help to capitalize on SDC’s key learnings, stimulate capacity building, foster mainstreaming and provide thematic support in the field of climate change and environment This will allow the SDC Climate Change and Environment Network and the Global Programme Climate Change (GPCCE) help improve the overall quality of SDC’s operational activities in this thematic field.


"Bai Alai" Small Business and Income Creation in Alai and Chon-Alai

01.06.2018 - 31.05.2022

The remote Alai and Chon Alai disctricts of mountainous Southwest Kyrgyzstan are struck by a very high incidence of poverty, low levels of economic production and limited income generation opportunities. The project will increase economic inclusion of producing households by fostering development of local production in cattle, apiculture, tourism and handcraft sectors. Producers and entrepreneurs in these sectors will be linked to respective markets hence imporving their value chains. 


Global Land Tool Network Partnership

01.05.2018 - 31.12.2023

Land rights are powerful resources for people to achieve sustainable livelihoods. Switzerland joins others in supporting the Global Land Tool Network (3rd Strategic Cycle) for its advocacy work and efforts to provide practical land tools available for authorities to ensure that all people, including women, youth and vulnerable groups, have access to land and tenure security. Switzerland brings in the experiences from other land related partnerships at national, regional and global levels.


Clean Air China (CAC): Breaking Down the Dome: Sino-Swiss Cooperation on Air Pollution Source Apportionment for Better Air

01.05.2018 - 31.10.2022

The project will support the development of advanced air pollution source apportionment techniques with a Swiss and Chinese joint expert team to enable the design of more effective air pollution control policies beneficial for public health, the global climate and the environment. The techniques and experience of science-based policy making will be piloted in Chinese cities and shared with other developing countries strongly affected by air pollution to accelerate progress towards cleaner air.


Opérationnalisation de la filière semencière au Tchad

01.05.2018 - 30.11.2023

Au Tchad, le système de production agricole est rudimentaire et les rendements sont faibles. Le pays est régulièrement confronté à l’insécurité alimentaire. La semence est le principal intrant utilisé par les agriculteurs. C’est pourquoi, la DDC contribue à faciliter l’accès à des semences de qualité et adaptées à leur environnement. Ce programme permet aux exploitations familiales d’améliorer leur production et leur revenu et développe l’auto-emploi des femmes et des jeunes grâce à la multiplication de semences.


Gulf of Mottama Project (GoMP)

15.04.2018 - 31.01.2022

One of the greatest challenges in the current reform process in Myanmar is the governance of natural resources. In the globally significant wetlands of the Gulf of Mottama (GoM), this project strengthens the capacities of government and communities to effectively manage, govern and value its coastal natural resources to sustainably improve livelihoods of people depending on them, while reducing the pressure on natural resource and conserving its unique environment and threatened biodiversity.

Object 133 – 144 of 224