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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Enabling development through landmine clearance in the Sengwe Wildlife Corridor

01.11.2021 - 31.10.2023

Switzerland will contribute to achieve Zimbabwe’s 2025 landmine-free deadline by supporting a demining operation in the Sengwe Wildlife Corridor. The project implemented by APOPO seeks to return 84% of the remaining suspected contaminated area to local communities which will be used for agricultural development, ecotourism, and conservation, as well as to provide mine risk education so that food security is enhanced, general wellbeing is improved, and accidents are avoided.


PREPAS - Programme de Renforcement de l’élevage pastoral au Tchad

01.10.2021 - 31.12.2026

Le Batha, le Wadi Fira et l’Ennedi sont des provinces sahéliennes soumises à l’avancée du désert et à l’irrégularité pluviométrique. L’élevage pastoral y est la principale activité économique. La Suisse appuie un programme de renforcement de l’élevage pastoral qui contribue à une gestion durable des ressources, à la prévention des conflits, et à l’amélioration de l’offre de services aux éleveurs. Ce programme impulse des opportunités économiques aux jeunes limitant la migration vers la Libye ou les zones aurifères marquées par l’insécurité et le banditisme.


Programme de Relance Economique et réduction de la pauvreté en réponse aux effets du Covid-19 dans la région des Grands Lacs

01.10.2021 - 31.12.2024

Dans les Grands Lacs, la Covid-19 a perturbé les systèmes économiques et sociaux faisant basculer un nombre important de personnes à faible revenu dans la pauvreté. Par ce programme, la Suisse entend contribuer à relancer l’activité des opérateurs économiques locaux, avec un accent particulier sur les micro, petites et moyennes entreprises, en mettant à leur disposition des fonds de garantie. La valeur ajoutée est que la Suisse donnera une attention particulière aux initiatives de commerce transfrontalier régionaux. 


Strengthening livestock sector in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties of Kenya

01.10.2021 - 30.04.2024

Around 60% of the population in the arid and semi-arid lands of Northern Eastern Kenya Counties live in abject poverty and are almost entirely dependent on livestock production for their livelihoods in an environment that is characterized by droughts and resource based conflicts. This programme will support these Counties to enhance livestock production by strengthening key factors such as fodder production, animal health, etc. and by strengthening the institutions to more effectively deliver relevant services and reduce conflicts. 


Sustainable and Inclusive Balanced Regional Development

01.10.2021 - 30.09.2025

The level of development among the 8 regions in North Macedonia is highly unequal. This misbalance directly affects the wellbeing of citizens living in less developed areas. SDC supports North Macedonia by working on the country system, to improve the national legal framework for planning, monitoring and evaluation of balanced regional development (BRD) ensuring greater allocation of funds for BRD, hence improving the living conditions for all citizens, especially in the underdeveloped regions.


Climate and Clean Air in Latin American Cities Plus Programme Phase 2 (CALAC+ 2)

01.08.2021 - 31.07.2025

Phase 2 of the Climate and Clean Air in Latin American Cities Plus Programme (CALAC+) will support the consolidation and implementation of local and national measures to reduce emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases (GHG) from urban transport and non-road mobile machinery to protect the climate and human health. CALAC+ will foster normative and technological changes through regional cooperation, building on Swiss expertise, and share the programme’s experience at the global level. 


PAAS - Project to Support Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba

15.07.2021 - 15.07.2023

The phase 3 of PAAS proposes the consolidation of a methodology for the application and scaling up of the value chain management model. It includes elements of circular economy, climate-smart agriculture and agro-ecological certification in 11 municipalities and 5 chains (cassava, broiler chicken meat, small livestock, fruit trees and vegetables). The project expects to have an impact on agricultural public policies by incorporating the model into the guidelines of the prioritized national agricultural programs.


Rural Resilience in Southern Africa / R4 Initiative

01.07.2021 - 30.06.2025

The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative for Southern Africa enables smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate risk through improved resource management, insurance, livelihoods diversification, microcredit and savings. Through R4, Switzerland has become a credible and trusted partner in resilience building and its learnings have fed into policy dialogue. The emphasis of this final phase is on strengthening government and private sector, as well as the gender approach.  


Partnership for Forestry and Fisheries (PaFF): Support to Forestry and Fisheries Communities in Cambodia

01.07.2021 - 30.06.2023

The final phase of the Partnership for Forestry and Fisheries is implemented by four NonGovernmental Organisations led by the Center for Forests and People - RECOFTC. It will support rural communities in managing their natural resources in four provinces. With SDC`s contribution and inclusive development, the communities’ economic, social and cultural rights will be enhanced through funding opportunities that improve their livelihoods and increase resilience to natural shocks.  


COVID-19 Prevention and Resilience

01.07.2021 - 30.06.2023

The second wave of the COVID-19 virus has affected Bangladesh more intensely than the initial phase, impeding socioeconomic recovery and reiterating the importance of resilience building. This programme aims at engaging communities to curb the further spread of COVID-19 and enhancing socioeconomic resilience. Drawing upon Switzerland’s long-standing experience in providing rapid response and working on inclusive and sustainable development, it focuses on the disadvantaged segments of the population. 


International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) - core contribution

01.06.2021 - 31.12.2024

ICIPE is Africa’s leading insect research institute contributing to plant, animal, human and environmental health. SDC supports ICIPE as its work is highly relevant for the transformation to sustainable food systems, agroecology, healthy nutrition, and the promotion of the ‘One health’ approach. ICIPE’s development path is closely linked to Switzerland through longstanding partnerships with prominent Swiss experts and organisations. 


Living Landscapes for Market Development in Armenia

15.04.2021 - 31.05.2025

Mountain ecosystems in Armenia are an important productive asset for rural communities, but they are rapidly deteriorating due to inappropriate exploitation and management. Within a region-wide project that preserves the natural basis of life through more sustainable use of resources, the Swiss contribution will introduce in Armenia economic incentives for the conservation of natural resources, while creating additional income. This will reduce rural poverty and support the implementation of Armenian policies and international commitments.

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