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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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.


Improving Food Security and Land Governance through investment standards

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023

Investment in agriculture is needed to feed a growing global population. These investments need to respect the situation of the local population and the environment. Switzerland chaired the drafting process of the Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investments that have been adopted by the Committee on World Food Security. Consequently Switzerland supports the application of the Principles by training development country stakeholders in the negotiation and application of sustainable investment frameworks to increase food security for the poorest populations.



Regional Economic Development Program, Cambodia

01.01.2019 - 31.03.2022

The Regional Economic Development (RED IV) program, co-financed by Switzerland and Germany, will be implemented in three north-western provinces of Cambodia. It aims at strengthening the capacity of sub-national and local governments to tackle economic development measures and supporting rural poor, in particular women, to increase their income and actively participate in local economic development, thereby reducing poverty of the rural population.


Programme de Valorisation du Potentiel Agro-Pastoral dans l’Est du Burkina Faso (VALPAPE) Phase 2

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

La région de l’Est du Burkina Faso, malgré un fort potentiel agropastoral, reste l’une des plus pauvres du pays. Le programme va soutenir des dynamiques de développement local par la valorisation durable des potentialités agropastorales pour la création d’emploi et la génération de revenu, en particulier pour les jeunes et les femmes. En réduisant leur vulnérabilité face à l’insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, la migration et l’extrémisme violent, le programme promeut la stabilité et soutient les intérêts de la Suisse.


Social Accountability Programme

Tanzanian citizens

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

Against the backdrop of shrinking civic space in Tanzania, the Social Accountability Program supports four key accountability Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country. It aims to enhance transparency and accountability of public resource management at national and local level and to empower citizens – including youth and women - and local organizations to engage effectively in public oversight, decision making and advocacy on social issues of concern.


SDC Education Fund

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

As part of its increased commitment for Education and of the implementation of SDC’s Education Strategy, the SDC launches an Education Fund in order to incentivize innovation and the application of new approaches in basic education/vocational skills development and through educational activities across sectors. Innovation can have a catalytic effect on the effectiveness of programmes in and through education. Education is a core enabler for sustainable development and is an important lever in Switzerland’s commitment to promote human and economic development, peace and stability. 


Program Contribution to Brücke – Le Pont 2019 - 2020

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

Brücke-Le pont is an independent organization established by Travail.Suisse and the Catholic workers' movement (KAB). It has a strong support base in Switzerland and more than 60 years of experience in development cooperation in the South. Its program "Decent Work” includes some 30 projects in Togo, Benin, Salvador, Honduras, Brazil and Bolivia. The programme improves lives of disadvantaged people through vocational trainings, improved access to the labour market, income generation and improved respect of labour rights.


Accès aux populations vulnérables grâce au soutien au Service Aérien Humanitaire des Nations Unies (UNHAS)

01.01.2019 - 30.11.2024

L’UNHAS est le service aérien des Nations Unies qui appuie la mise en œuvre d’interventions humanitaires ainsi que du développement économique et social en faveur des populations les plus vulnérables et marginalisées du Niger. L'UNHAS facilite et sécurise au Niger l'essentiel des déplacements des agents des programmes respectifs, leur permettant de rejoindre les régions reculées du pays et leurs populations rapidement et en toute sécurité.


Contribution au Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CSAO)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

L’Afrique de l’Ouest est confrontée à d’énormes défis : insécurité alimentaire chronique, pauvreté élevée, insécurités, emplois des jeunes, extrémisme violent etc. Le Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest est une plateforme internationale unique qui nourrit par ses analyses et ses recommandations la prise de décision des acteurs politiques et de développement de la région afin de mieux traiter ces défis. L’appui de la DDC contribuera ainsi à la sécurité alimentaire et la stabilité de la région


Somalia Information and Resilience Building Action (SIRA)

10.12.2018 - 30.11.2022

The Somali population has remained chronically food insecure over the years with acute emergency needs during the cyclic drought periods. Switzerland contributes, through its support to enhanced fodder production and income, to the longer-term resilience building of the Somali communities. By supporting the provision of information and data for decision making, the formulation of evidence-based policy making and the use of the data for increased protection and resilience will enhanced.


Enhancing security coordination and local contextual understanding to increase humanitarian access

01.12.2018 - 30.11.2020

This project aims at enhancing security coordination and local contextual understanding to increase humanitarian access to insecure locations both inside and outside of Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites. Through enhanced understanding of the context, operational threats can be better mitigated by NGOs, facilitating scale-up of programme and service delivery to the affected population in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity States.

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