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

Object 61 – 72 of 213

Accountability in Health & Agriculture

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

While governments have translated regional policies on Food Security and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) into national policies, these are poorly implemented and the public lacks capacities to act effectively upon them. The project will improve the accountability and gender responsiveness of public resource management and complement the ongoing Swiss funded projects in ensuring that policy/advocacy work developed at national, regional and global levels is disseminated and implemented by relevant SADC and governmental institutions.


Livelihoods and Food Security Fund - LIFT

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2024

The Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT) is a multi-donor fund, coordinating and contributing aid to rural development in Myanmar. Within its strategy period 2019-2023 LIFT will benefit 3.7 million additionl people with a strong focus on leaving no one behind, while working on more inclusive government policies and supporting the private sector. As chair for the LIFT Fund Board in the coming 12 months, Switzerland will ensure LIFT’s conflict-sensitivity and benefit from additional access to key decision makers.


Soutien au développement des filière arachide, karité et sésame au Tschad (SODEFIKA)

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Le programme vise le développement des filières arachide, karité et sésame en matière de production, transformation et commercialisation en vue d’accroitre le revenu de 658'000 personnes dont 337'920 femmes dans trois provinces au sud du Tchad. La DDC contribue ainsi à la réduction de la vulnérabilité des exploitations familiales et des inégalités entre hommes et femmes, ainsi qu’à la prévention de la migration.


Choosing coffee over poppy - a public-private partnership (Myanmar)

01.06.2019 - 31.05.2023

In Southern Shan State infrastructure, access to basic services and income opportunities are scarce. Poverty and malnutrition are omnipresent and out-migration is high. Building on a private-public partnership with Malongo, a French coffee company and Walter Matter SA, a Swiss logistics firm, SDC supports the Green Gold coffee cooperative and its 900 members to become a sustainable and business-oriented organisation.


CMR : DRC Réponse protection Adamaoua

16.05.2019 - 30.04.2020

Avec cette contribution au projet de DRC, la DDC poursuit son engagement à la protection des populations affectées dans la région de l'Adamaoua à l'est du Cameroun (frontière RCA), par le renforcement de l'environnement protecteur et l'amélioration des moyens d'existence des communautées et des individus les plus vulnérables ; tout en réduisant l'exposition aux risques de protection des enfants en améliorant leur accès à l'éducation. 


Mainstreaming Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) into Agricultural Systems in Africa

01.05.2019 - 30.04.2023

Current agricultural and food systems rely greatly on non-renewable external inputs, impact negatively on soils, water, biodiversity, nutrition and health. Switzerland supports the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative that promotes a viable alternative in Africa to ensure sustainable agricultural development, food and nutrition security of smallholder farmers in an environmentally sustainable manner, thereby contributing towards a more sustainable global food system.


Colombia, UNDP: UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Peacebuilding (MPTF)

01.04.2019 - 30.06.2022

Launched in 2016 within the “Colombia in Peace” framework, the first phase of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) of the United Nations for Post-Conflict for Colombia aimed to support national stabilization efforts as well as early preparation and implementation of the peace agreements. In 2019, nine donors (Norway, UK, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Chile, Korea and Switzerland) and the UN Peacebuilding Fund have agreed to support the second phase of the Fund, focusing on strengthening the stabilization of the territories and contributing to the achievement of sustainable peace results.  


Regional Development Programme in Northern Albania

01.04.2019 - 31.03.2023

The Government of Albania is pursuing the Regional Development (RD) reform in order to reduce regional disparities, provide better socio-economic conditions for citizens and prepare the country for the EU accession agenda. Within this, the project will support the legal and institutional framework for RD .and strengthening local, regional and national capacities for strateqic investrnents in the regions.


One Health Units for Humans, Environment, Animals and Livelihoods (HEAL)

01.03.2019 - 31.10.2024

Transmission of diseases between humans and animals are frequent in pastoralist societies of

Somalia, Ethiopia and Northern Kenya and related to environmental conditions. The HEAL project

promotes sustainable rangeland management and access to integrated human/livestock health

services. Thereby, it contributes to improved health, to reduced vulnerability among pastoralist

communities and to prevention of their displacement/migration, which is in the interest of Switzerland.


OVCI - Improving nutritional condition of most vulnerable groups in Juba

01.03.2019 - 30.04.2021

Malnutrition among children and other vulnerable groups remains worse as a result of the prevailing food insecurity situation in South Sudan. According to the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for South Sudan, some 1.8 million people – the majority of which are children under five years - face malnutrition. Through this project, Volunteers Organization for International Co-operation (OVCI) intends to address malnutrition of vulnerable children, pregnant and lactating mothers and other destitute persons in Juba County by improving their dietary intake.


Yemen Pledging Conference 2019

20.02.2019 - 30.04.2019

In support of the Humanitarian Response Plan and to reduce the suffering of the Yemeni population, Switzerland will organize a high-level pledging conference on 26 February 2019 together with Sweden and the United Nations for the third time. Since the escalation of the conflict in mid-March 2015, Yemen faced enormous levels of humanitarian needs stemming from years of poverty, intermittent conflict and weak rule of law. Entering the 5th year of war have exacerbated these chronic vulnerabilities, leaving more than 24 million people – more than 80% of the population - in need of humanitarian aid.


BLOOOM: Agricultural Technology for the Bottom of the Pyramid

01.02.2019 - 31.12.2023

Blooom, a newly founded social enterprise provides innovative digital solutions to connect smallholder farmers to input suppliers and consumers. Smallholders get access to information, financing, local and international markets via mobile phone technology. In this public private development partnership, Swiss support serves to expand Blooom’s services to smallholder farmers in low income countries in which the risks of entry for private sector companies are generally too high, including countries in Africa.

Object 61 – 72 of 213