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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PFNL Crédit d'ouverture Phase 1

01.01.2021 - 28.02.2026

Au Tchad, les PFNL constituent une importante source d’alimentation pour la population rurale (tamarinier, jujubier). Le projet facilite : (i) la valorisation de certains PFNL pour améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, (ii) l’accès à des marchés porteurs et rémunérateurs à travers le renforcement des petites et moyennes entreprises et, (iii) l’amélioration des conditions cadres socio-économiques visant la création d’emploi et de revenu pour les plus pauvres (gomme arabique).


CHAIN - Cambodian Horticulture Advancing Income and Nutrition

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2022

The last phase of the mandated Cambodian Horticulture Advancing Income and Nutrition Project will focus on sustainability and scalability of horticulture business models for farmers and businesses, supports quality extension services under the leadership of National and Provincial Agriculture Offices. Strengthened local market systems and improved water access for year-round safe vegetable production will increased income for 7,200 farmers and young migrants in four north-eastern provinces.


Contribution to the UN-REDD Pro-gramme (single phase)

15.12.2020 - 31.12.2025

Forests are a central solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their sustainable management is an imperative for the planet but also for millions of vulnerable people. The UN-REDD Programme is a key player in accelerating the implementation of appropriate policies and actions in tropical low and lower-middle income countries to reduce deforestation and restore forests. The contribution will allow for a strong Swiss engagement jointly with the Federal Office of the Environment, and for the capitalization of existing work of the four SDC domains on forest ecosystems and related livelihoods.


Resil - Projet de renforcement de la résilience et de la cohésion sociale au plateau dogon

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2022

Au Centre du Mali, les groupes armés exploitent la concurrence pour l’accès aux terres afin d’envenimer les relations entre communautés et de créer un climat d’extrême violence. En visant une meilleure productivité des terres et le renforcement des mécanismes de gestion des différends fonciers, le projet contribue à apaiser les relations et accroît la résilience. La Suisse contribue à la cohésion sociale, au développement rural et à la résilience des victimes du conflit. 


Woody Weeds Plus

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2023

Based on the research results of CABI Switzerland and the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Berne, the Kenyan government implements the national Prosopis strategy aiming at sustainable management of this fast spreading invasive species. The Woody Weeds Plus project coaches this effort and implements a multi-stakeholder approach to address pastoralist livelihoods and to restore pastures and ecosystem services in arid and semi-arid lands. 


Covid-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (single phase)

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2022

Established by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) addresses immediate impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic on rural people, prevents the erosion of results from past and ongoing operations, and puts in place building blocks to support post crisis recovery and long term resilience. As an IFAD member state, Switzerland joins international efforts with this time-bound response to prevent the health crisis from turning into a food crisis.


TTDP - Trail Based Tourism Development Project

01.12.2020 - 30.06.2026

The project aims at increasing income of Nepalese people through the promotion of trail based tourism. By attracting national and regional visitors along safe and scenic trails, it will contribute to preserve social and cultural heritage while generating local revenues. Switzerland’s convening power to bring together federal, provincial and local governments will be catalytic in promoting intergovernmental cooperation in view of strengthening local economic development.


Aceli Africa

01.11.2020 - 31.10.2025

Aceli Africa is a market-led platform to catalyse finance for credit-constrained East African businesses along selected agricultural value chains that offer the best potential for income and job creation, food security and nutrition, gender inclusiveness, and promotion of climate-smart and agro-ecological smallholder agriculture. Key Swiss added values are the up-scaling of social impact financial instruments pioneered by SDC with partners, the involvement of the largest Swiss private impact investor, and the focus on two SDC priority countries.


Diffusion des produits de la recherche agricole en Afrique de l’Ouest

01.11.2020 - 31.10.2024

L’utilisation des innovations et technologies sont indispensables pour accroitre la résilience et la productivité des systèmes alimentaires en Afrique de l’Ouest, en vue d’y accroître leur adaptation aux changements climatiques et la sécurité alimentaire. La Suisse soutiendra le CORAF pour accroitre l’utilisation par les producteurs, transformateurs et autres acteurs des chaines de valeurs agricoles des innovations produites par la recherche en soutenant leur diffusion et mutualisation.


Urban Food Security and Resilience Building programme

15.10.2020 - 31.10.2024

Drawing on learnings by Switzerland in rural areas in Zimbabwe, this program addresses food insecurity in 3 secondary cities through a contribution to a World Food Programme initiative that combines humanitarian and resilience building solutions. Focused on the latter, this contribution provides food insecure urban people a comprehensive support including skills, finance and market linkages aimed at more gainful agriculture. It also supports the coordination and strengthening of related stakeholders, including policy makers.  


The Swiss Capacity Building Facility

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2026

The Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF) is a Swiss technical assistance financing facility, uniting the expertise of key actors of the Swiss financial sector and of partners engaged in financial inclusion. The SCBF fosters the innovation and massive scaling-up of financial services and products centred on the financial inclusion of low-income women, vulnerable households, smallholder farmers and MSMEs in the Global South. Financial inclusion enables reaching the SDGs. 


Upgrading Karm Abu Salem Crossing - Gaza

01.10.2020 - 31.12.2022

Switzerland will support improving the export/import conditions of goods to and from the Gaza Strip.

The project, implemented by UNOPS, will upgrade the poor infrastructure at the Palestinian side of

the only functioning commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel. The existing infrastructure con-

ditions are causing around 10% of damages to the transiting commodities thus incurring substantial

economic losses that are affecting the living conditions of two million people in the Gaza Strip

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