Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum
Pan Pacific Hotel Sonargaon, Dhaka 26-27 May 2010
Over the last decades the food security situation and its policy context in Bangladesh has undergone major changes. As the country for the first time became self-sufficient in food in 1999-2000, the focus of Government food security policies broadened to encompass, in addition to availability, also access and nutrition. Yet the international food price rises of 2007-08 made the policy makers aware of the necessity of new thinking on food security. Against such background, last year the G8 summit undertook the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) stressing the need for tackling food security issue in a comprehensive manner. Once the present government had taken over power last year, it stressed the need for self sufficiency in food but keeping in view the comprehensive approach articulated in the Comprehensive Food Security report of 2000 and later embedded in the National Food Policy (NFP). Against such national and international perspectives, the Government of Bangladesh decided to hold a Food Security Investment Forum. This was held over 26-27 May, 2010 with technical backstopping from the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, Dhaka, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, and the Food and Agricultural Organization and financial support from the USAID, EU and the DFID of UK.
The Forum, opened formally by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, held seven technical sessions and discussed all relevant issues related to availability, access and utilization of food. The Forum takes this opportunity to thank the PM for her timely guidance. It expresses its sincere appreciation of the technical and financial support provided by the BIDS, IFPRI, FAO, USAID, EU and the UK-DFID.
On the basis of the presentation, discussion and views expressed during the last two days, the Forum decides to adopt the following as guidelines for future actions for ensuring food security in Bangladesh:
The Forum recommends to further improve the "Bangladesh Draft Country Investment Plan– The Road Map Toward Investment in Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition” (BCIP) and calls upon the Government to finalize it though further consultations with all stakeholders.
The Forum further recommends that the BCIP takes into account the presentations and deliberations that occurred during the Forum, particularly in the following areas:
i. Agricultural growth, productivity, and climate change
ii. Development of fisheries and livestock
iii. Income growth, safety nets, and public food distribution
iv. Agricultural marketing, price stabilization, value chain and
v. Food utilization and nutrition security
vi. Governance and gender
The Forum stresses the need to ensure full alignment of the BCIP with the National Food Policy (2006) and the Plan of Action (2008-15) as well as the present policy framework provided by official documents such as the National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction II Revised (2009-11), the Sixth Five Year Plan, and the Perspective Plan (2010-21).
The Forum reaffirms its commitment to the five Rome principles namely of (i) invest in a country-initiated, developed and owned plan; (ii) strengthen strategic coordination within the government (12 ministries and public agencies) and between the Government and the development partners, the private sector and the community-based and non-government organizations; (iii) ensure a comprehensive approach to food security; (iv) leverage the benefits of multilateral institutions, such as the UN High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on the Global Food Security Crisis, the Committee on World Food Security and other multilateral bodies; and (v) deliver on sustained and accountable commitment by all concerned.
The Forum calls upon the development partners and the multilateral financial organizations, especially the members of the Local Consultative Group and Sub Groups on Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development and Health, to mobilize and deliver adequate technical and financial resources in a harmonized and predictable manner for the implementation of the BCIP.
The Forum calls upon the Government to prepare and plan its programmes in a prioritized and timely fashion for their implementation and allocate budgetary resources subject to national capability.