This stocktaking report assesses the scale and type of official development aid (ODA) investments being made by donors (public and private) in food systems, and the pathways through which that investment flows (bilateral relationships, multilaterals, NGOs, etc.).
The purpose of this stocktaking report of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (August 2021) is to broadly map out the levels of funding the donor community contributes to food systems-related programmes and the strategies that are guiding donor investments. This provides a basis for examining the degree to which the current portfolio of investments aligns with or deviates from what will be needed to respond to the outcomes of the FSS.
Donors invest in a vast array of projects and programmes related to food systems, from local to global level. A full accounting of all this work is beyond the scope of this report. Rather, the intention is to provide a broad mapping that gives an overview perspective. In this regard, the report focuses on example “flagship” programmes being funded by donors. “Food systems” is a relatively new integrative framing that has generally not been used by donors in the past. This means that tagging investments, programmes and projects as food systems related is not always straightforward nor supported by existing data-gathering strategies to account for how ODA is spent.
The report has also been developed by the GDPRD, recognizing that many stakeholders engaging in the FSS may have a limited understanding of the range of ways in which donor investments support food systems. It will be complemented by a subsequent forward-looking white paper from the GDPRD that will examine the future role donors that can play in supporting the agenda for transforming food systems that will emerge from the FSS.
Overall, the following transformations are being called for.
- Shift diets towards those that are better for human health and for the health of the environment, which overall means being more plant based.
- Ensure that food systems provide inclusive (fair) economic opportunities for as many people as possible, such as producers, workers and consumers.
- Dramatically reduce food loss and waste.
- Develop much more resource-efficient and climate-smart production systems that provide for a wider diversity of healthy diets.
- Enhance the resilience of food systems so that people and the system are less vulnerable to shocks and crises.
A webinar (9 September) highlighted key elements of donor perspectives on the food systems agenda in response to the UN Food Systems Summit. It discussed the key priorities for future donor focus and some of the most effective modalities for donor coordination going forward.
GDPRD (2021) Donor contributions to the food system. Stocktaking report. Jim Woodhill, Kristal Jones and Sylvia Otieno. 86 p.
The last decade has seen expenditures on agriculture and rural development drop as a percentage of total aid, while expenditures on emergency food aid have more than doubled in absolute amounts. (…) ODA. Most ODA ends up in country-level project interventions, with a vast number of individual projects covering a very broad range of areas. (page 6)
There is a significant data gap in being able to fully analyse development progress and funding from a food systems perspective. (…) Despite its importance, ODA is under pressure as a consequence of COVID-19 and general development scepticism in some donor countries, which creates a need to better profile the positive contribution of ODA investments for food systems globally. reports. (page 9)
There does not appear to be critical areas where there are big funding gaps; however, these efforts currently do not add up to the scale of change needed for a food systems transformation.. Current data systems provide a limited capability to assess the balance and relative merits of different types of food systems investments. ) Careful thought and deeper analysis will be required to rebalance the ODA food systems portfolio with the outcomes of the FSS, with a particular focus on country-level assessment. (page 9)
The importance of ODA in supporting this overall global response capability is arguably not widely enough understood, recognized or valued. (page 10)
The European Commission report, in contrast, draws on a much wider set of DAC codes that represent priorities associated with European Union (EU) food and nutrition policy (e.g. codes for gender equity
or environmental education, which reflect investments that could affect food systems). (page 20)