MUNA Forum: General Assembly 4 Food security and sustainable development in Africa Student Officer: Bob Ilijašević and Julian Geraedts

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1 Forum: General Assembly 4 Issue: Food security and sustainable development in Africa Student Officer: Bob Ilijašević and Julian Geraedts Introduction Besides air, food and clean drinking water are the most important things to stay alive. Unfortunately not everyone in the world has access to enough food and water, let alone food and water of good quality. Each year 3.8 million children around the world under the age of five die because of malnutrition. Off all the regions in the world Africa struggles most with this issue. Every minute eight under- five children die in sub- Saharan Africa. This means that during the three days of MUNA over toddlers that have just made their first few steps will die. Many countries the supply of food is not enough to suffice demand and the available supply is not accessible for everyone due to poverty or the distance between the producers of food and the ones consuming it. Besides the millions of deaths due to famine, malnutrition also makes it easier for diseases to spread while many could easily have been prevented. It might become even more difficult to solve the food dilemma in the future due to recent developments in the quality of soils, oceans, forests and biodiversity. These have rapidly degraded in quality due to climate change and pollution. A sustainable, reliable, safe food and agriculture sector is a very important to eradicate this problem. Definition of Key Terms Malnutrition: serious health issues The condition in which a lack or excess of nutrients causes Ledcs: Lesser economically developed countries

2 General Overview MUNA 2015 All living beings requires the frequent intake of food in order to pull out the nutrients needed to live, grow, adapt to their environment and reproduce. Humans do not differ from this. Over the course of a human s life proper nutrition is required to develop, learn, be effective at work, ward of diseases etc. It is the most fundamental need of everyone, so it is very important to make sure that food is secured for everyone. The WHO defines food security as existing when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. According to this definition Africa has a widespread chronic food insecurity. Many inhabitants of the continent do not have access to enough food. There are multiple causes for this. First of all while there is enough food being produced in the world to feed everyone adequately, the food supply in African countries is fragile. Although 80% of the African population consists of farmers, they do not produce enough to provide for everyone. The methods and tools used by farmers are outdated and their knowledge of efficient farming needs to be modernized in order to increase the production of food. A good example of this is the fact that the lack of water supplies and irrigation on much farmland means that occurring droughts have a major impact on agriculture. Poor farmers lack the storage facilities, electricity and water reserves needed to prevail a sudden failed harvest caused by a period of drought. Not only must agriculture be modernized in order to face droughts, it is also necessary to improve the situation of farmers and their methods of producing food. The poverty that plagues many farmers has as a result that their main concern is the improvement of their lives and those of their family members in the short- term. To achieve this they set out to make as much money as possible. And the best way to maximize profits is to grow a single kind crop which can be sold for a high price. But farming the same type of crop year after year causes erosion of the soil. Exhausting the soil and making it worthless in the process. To replace this worthless land farmers than proceed to burn pieces of forests in order to create farming fields. After a few years of growing crops on these new fields the soil gets degraded again and the whole process repeats itself. It is completely understandable why it happens, but this so- called technique of slash- and- burn is utterly destructive to the environment. Degraded land loses it nutritious value for plants and animals and combined with the burning of forests, causing many animals to lose their safe habitat, the technique disastrous for the local biodiversity. In the long- run this environmental impact could prove to be catastrophic when future food production will be forced to take place on

3 unsuitable land. It is important to make sure that today s food production will be sustainable for future generations. But the absence of food security in Africa is not only the result of an insufficient production of food. If there is food in supply people must be able to access a sufficient amount to fulfill their needs. Unfortunately this proves impossible for many Africans. In order to buy food people must be able to afford it. But thanks to the economic situation in most African countries, the wages people earn are low and unemployment is high. People are unable to make ends meet which makes it impossible to suffice nutritional needs. To make matters worse food prices fluctuate enormously making it hard to set up a stable food system. Food have been increasing worldwide since the 1990s. The 2008 economic recession temporarily lowered prices again, but economists predict that they are likely to rise again when the global economy stabilizes. Big corporations can adapt to fluctuations in price and demand but small farmers cannot. This makes it unattractive for them to invest a lot of money into the expansion of their production. Hence production, demand and access of and to food are at loggerheads. Matters are made even more complicated by the effects of globalization. Intercontinental trade has a lot of advantages but also some major disadvantages to the African food chain. With the adaption of modern farming techniques and tools companies from developed countries are able to produce huge amounts of food at a relatively low price. They profit highly by exporting this to Africa, for a low price thanks to extensive government subsidies. This practice provides provide the inhabitants of African countries with food, but is also prevents the local food sector from developing and might even destroy it. African countries than become dependent on the import of food from the developed world, an unguaranteed supply since the export could easily go to a third party able to pay a higher price. Leaving Africa with neither food, nor the means to produce it their selves. A similar effect is caused by the distribution of development aid. A sudden amount of free food often proves fatal for the already struggling producers of food. Subsidies on biofuels like Ethanol have also led to millions of hectares of land previously applied for food production to be used to grow crops for the biofuel industry. Furthermore many of the other challenges Africa faces are also responsible for the instability of the food chain. Import tariffs, bad infrastructure, fluctuating currencies and cultural differences are huge barriers for the trade of food between African countries. Political unrest also disrupts production and so do natural disasters like the outbreak of a disease such as the Ebola virus. But in order to effectively combat such issues it is also important to exterminate malnutrition. Hungry people will start butchering each other quicker than well- fed ones and

4 people infected with Ebola infected other ones when they started to wander around searching for food. A big problem with the development of the food chain is the harm it would do to the environment, when people are dying something must of course happen, but over- exploitation of natural resources to achieve short- term food security might in fact harm it in the long- run. The enormous increase in food production accompanying the enormous increase in population in the 19 th and 20 th century has been responsible for serious environmental degradation. Thanks to globalization domestic species of plants, trees and animals have been spread all over the world, often conflicting with local variations and species, changing the ecosystem forever. Loss of biodiversity caused by this human interference in nature is permanent and the destruction of large amounts of rainforest can never be undone. The food supply chain is also a high emitter of greenhouse gases. Around 22% of Greenhouse gases emissions is caused by agriculture and the transportation and processing also emits a lot of it. Greenhouse Gases might cause an enhanced greenhouse phenomenon leading to a rapid increase in global warming which might even prove fatal to the improvements in the food chain that Africa needs so desperately. A suitable solution to ensure food security in Africa must be found but is must also be suitable for the environment. Otherwise the issue would not be solved but merely kicked down the road for future generations to solve it. Major Parties Involved: Committee Food Security and Sustainable Development United Nations World Health Organization FAO NEPAD The African Union: The 54 sovereign African states

5 Previous Attemps to solve the issue MUNA World Summit on Food Security: Countries adopted the Rome Declaration on World Food Security, which states that everyone in the world is entitled to enough food and pledges the will of the countries to halve world hunger by 2015, a plan of action was made to achieve this goal World Food Summit, 5 years later: Reaffirmed pledges to end hunger, called for an international alliance to accelerate efforts to that goal World Summit on Food Security: Reaffirmed pledges to eradicate hunger, countries agreed to work to promote new investments into agriculture and to face the challenges of climate changes to food security

6 Possible Solutions MUNA 2015 The rest of the world could sent food to African countries to enable those who need it to develop their countries without having to worry about their food security Sending in experts from food- related industries to African countries in order to help develop the local food chain Investing in infrastructure will increase the amount of people with access to food The developed world could stop dumping their excess supplies of food in Africa Lending farmers of them small amounts of money in the form of microloans will enable them to modernize their farms. Minimum and maximum food prices could be installed in order to stabilize the market. Companies from the developed world could buy land in Africa for agricultural purposes under the condition to sell a part of it on the local market and to employ Africans whom could then learn about modern ways of farming. Useful documents Main Outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Implications for Africa The food security Equatation in Southern Africa, M. Rukuni and C. K. Eicher The Rome Declaration on World Food Security The Global Nutrition Report 2014 Food security in sub- Saharan Africa: An explorative study, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

7 Appendix/Appendices https://www.dbresearch.com/prod/dbr_internet_en- PROD/PROD PDF safety/at- home/the- food- equation.html i4175e.pdf ca- Challenges%20and%20Issues.pdf ways- to- solver- hung_n_ ht ml

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