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Publication | 2016

Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition: what roles for livestock?

In October 2014, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested its High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to prepare a report on sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition, including the role of livestock, to be presented in its 43rd Plenary Session in October 2016. This topic is highly relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as to the implementation of the 2014 Rome Declaration on Nutrition and to the fulfilment of the universal Human Right to Food.

Agricultural development is critically important to improving food security and nutrition. Its roles include: increasing the quantity and diversity of food; driving economic transformation; and providing the primary source of income for many of the world’s poorest people. Numerous empirical studies across many countries over many years show that both agricultural development and economy-wide growth are needed to improve food security and nutrition, and that the former can reinforce the latter.

The livestock sector is a powerful engine for the development of agriculture and food systems. It drives major economic, social and environmental changes in food systems worldwide, and provides an entry point for understanding the issues around sustainable agricultural development as a whole. As reflected in its title, this report is focused on livestock because of the importance and complexity of its roles and contribution to sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition.

The report is structured as follows. Chapter 1 elaborates a conceptual framework and a typology of livestock farming systems, which are used to structure the report. Chapter 2 describes the main drivers and trends of agricultural development. Chapter 3 identifies the main sustainability challenges for agricultural development, with a focus on livestock. Chapter 4 proposes pathways and responses to address those challenges, both globally and in specific farming systems. The report concludes by providing a set of action-oriented recommendations addressed to states and other stakeholders.