Results From Rio +20

True partnerships begin at home, and preparations for Rio+20 involved the work of multiple WFP divisions and offices from Policy Office of Climate Change, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction and the Brazil Centre of Excellence to External Relations and the New York Liaison Office to Communications and Private Sector Partnerships. What was achieved? As the UN Sustainable Development Conference comes to a close and the ED departs Rio de Janeiro, the following is an overview of what the WFP delegation did and accomplished.

Friday 22 June

Towards a world without hunger

Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development logo

1. Put hungry people first. WFP developed and advanced strong messages for Rio+20 that gave a voice to the hungry, positioned women as drivers of change and highlighted the power of safety nets and disaster risk reduction to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities. Those messages put nutrition and food security at the centre of the debate and stressed that there can be no sustainable development when nearly a billion people do not have enough to eat. In the run-up to Rio+20 and throughout the week, ED Cousin and the WFP delegation used those messages to:  

  • Support and inform intergovernmental negotiations on the Conference outcome document.  
  • Frame and advance WFP objectives for Rio+20 in interviews with Reuters, Le Figaro, Deutsche Presse Agentur and the Kyodo News.  
  • Advocate and influence broader discussions. WFP messages were picked up and repeated by the Secretary General and others throughout the week.  

2. Showcased solutions. What was transformative at Rio+20 is that the world increasingly knows how to beat hunger and under-nutrition in ways that also drive economic growth, promote social inclusion and protect the environment. Throughout the week, ED Cousin and senior WFP officials showcased sustainable hunger solutions by speaking or participating in:  

  • Multiple high-level side events organized by WFP's Office of Climate Change, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction and the Centre for Excellence in partnership with the Rome-based agencies (FAO, IFAD and Bioversity) and other UN organisations. Those events brought together Heads of State, CEOs and other global leaders to make recommendations and call for action to address immediate needs and build lasting resilience.  
  • Nearly two dozen other parallel sessions hosted by governments, UN agencies, international organisations and the private sector on agriculture and rural development, women's empowerment, nutrition, community resilience, disaster risk reduction, sustainable land management, the Secretary General's High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, the Istanbul Plan of Action and vulnerability analysis.

3. Built and strengthened partnerships. Achieving sustainable development will be the work of multiple partners, including governments, the private sector, NGOs and UN agencies. No one country or organisation can do it alone. Over the last six days, ED Cousin and the WFP delegation in Rio have built and strengthened collaboration by:  

  • Launching a new partnership with Haiti to expand school feeding and nutrition programmes using food produced by local farmers, working closely with FAO.  
  • Meeting with key government donors, partner countries, including Ministers from Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Russia and Sweden, who affirmed their continued strong support for WFP.  
  • Engaging private sector leaders Ð speaking at major business events, meeting with the CEOs of DSM and Unilever and other longstanding partners, and building relationships with new prospects.  
  • Engaging executives and top officials from other UN agencies, international organisations and NGOs, including UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake, IFRC, ICRAF, EcoAgriculture and WVI.  

4. Welcomed a good outcome on nutrition and food security. WFP didn't participate in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and the terms hunger, nutrition and food security do not appear in any of the Summit Declaration's 40 chapters. But the Rio+20 outcome document agreed by delegations earlier today puts nutrition and food security at the centre of sustainable development. It launches a process toward sustainable development goals and includes good language on hunger, social protection, resilience, disaster risk reduction and women's empowerment throughout. While much more work lies ahead, what was essential this week was to get the building blocks right. That goal that was accomplished at Rio+20.

Thursday 21 June

• Announcing a new partnership with Haiti. At a press conference this afternoon, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin and Haitian President Michel Martelly announced a bold plan to expand sustainable school meal programmes and address malnutrition across Haiti using production from local farmers.

• Uniting to meet the zero hunger challenge. Cousin joined Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and FAO Director General Graziano da Silva to rally the world to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Zero Hunger Challenge.

• Promoting hunger solutions. Senior WFP officials continued an active Rio+20 schedule, speaking at major events, engaging key partner organisations, and promoting women’s empowerment and proven anti-hunger programmes like safety nets that can reduce risks and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities.

Wednesday 20 June

• Welcoming the official start of Rio+20. WFP was there when Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, opened Rio+20,highlighting the potential of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to set the world on a path to the future we want. We applauded as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stressed the importance of sustainable development goals on food security and other themes.

• Advancing collaboration with key partners. Executive Director Cousin engaged top government, private sector and UN agency officials on concrete joint opportunities to meet urgent food and nutritionneeds and build lasting resilience in countries around the world. She met with Development and Foreign Affairs Ministers from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Russia and with UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, among others.

• Making every opportunity count. WFP’s Rio+20 delegation is making the most of every opportunity to share knowledge and advocate for action against hunger. Today, senior WFP officials showcased innovative initiatives that are making a difference at a gathering of global Agriculture Ministers and at major parallel events on community resilience,environmental sustainability and vulnerability analysis.

Tuesday 19 June

• Uniting for a food secure future. Executive Director Cousin joined leaders of other Rome-based food agencies to launch a day-long event “Aiming for a Food Secure Future.” In remarks to government, NGO and private sector leaders, Cousin stressed the need to move from managing crises to managing risks and emphasised the power of safety nets to build resilience and inoculate against vulnerability.

• Calling global attention to the Sahel. Cousin stood with top Niger government officials and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark to draw attention to the urgent plight of the poor and hungry in the Sahel and highlight opportunities to strengthen resilience to future droughts through disaster risk reduction and safety net programmes like school meals.

• Women driving change. ED Cousin addressed the Rio+20 Women’s Summit, showcasing the critical role women must play in building a food secure future. She and other speakers called for a global goal on women’s empowerment that promotes equal access to land and productive resources and further investment in the potential of women farmers to feed the world.

Monday 18 June

• Building partnerships with Brazil. Executive Director Ertharin Cousin met with Brazilian Foreign Affairs and Rural Development Ministers to strengthen joint actions against hunger and malnutrition around the world. They discussed ways to work together to further connect Haitian farmers to powerful food assistance programmes and opportunities to scale up an existing initiative that is creating new market opportunities for African smallholders.

• Highlighting sustainable development in action. Cousin visited a school in the Rio de Janeiro favela of Rocinha to learn first hand how Brazil is meeting the nutritional needs of poor children in ways that also benefit smallholder farmers. Local farms supply 30 percent of the food used to feed the school’s roughly 300 students. Through its Centre of Excellence, WFP is partnering with Brazil to share this and other successful models with countries across Africa and beyond.

• Advocating for the hungry poor. WFP officials headlined key sessions during a day-long programme on agriculture and rural development that highlighted the essential role of food and nutrition security in sustainable development. The event brought together leading researchers and advocates from around the world to recommend actions the Rio+20 Conference can take to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate and other shocks.