Democratic governance can ensure food security

Pakistan Observer, December 15, 2011
Islamabad—Climate resilient low carbon economy, ownership of MDGs, pro poor governance can ensure food security and livelihood of 600 million poor in South Asia, said the speakers at the second day of 14th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) ‘Re-defining Paradigms of Sustainable Development in South Asia’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday.

Speaking at a session in the session on ‘climate change concerns and their possible impacts on South Asian Countries’, Bipul Chatterjee of Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International, India said food insecurity and livelihood threats in South Asia are due to climate change impacts such as flooding and sea levels rise. He called for adopting climate resilient measures including low carbon economy to minimize the impacts of climate change.

Naseer Memon of Strengthening Participatory Organizations said 70 percent of population depends on agriculture for their livelihood in South Asia and is prone to disasters. He said regional cooperation in terms of knowledge sharing and technical collaboration is vital for disaster management.

Another relevant session on ‘factors affecting the food security situation in resource constrained Pakistan’ experts said if there is food availability in market, it does not mean that the poor sections of society have access to food. Citing inconsistent growth trends in supply and demand of food in Pakistan, Umer Malik, of Mehboob-ul-haq Human Development Center said access to food and not production is a major challenge due to decreasing purchasing power, insufficient storage capacities and under-investment in agriculture research, land distribution, and agriculture credit distribution. Mehnaz Ajmal of Oxfam GB said there is a need to protect small holding farmers from the impacts of food price inflation and costs of inputs to ensure food security.

In the panel on ‘Development Beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)’, Dr. Saba Gul Khattak, SDPI lamented over lack of focus on women empowerment.

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