10

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The political crisis in Venezuela

07-12-2017

In December 2015, the results of elections to the Venezuelan National Assembly saw the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (MUD) prevail by a wide majority over the ruling Socialist Unified Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of President Nicolás Maduro. Since then, Venezuela has faced increasing political crisis. Initiatives by the duly elected Parliament have been systematically blocked, first by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council, and since August 2017 by the new National ...

In December 2015, the results of elections to the Venezuelan National Assembly saw the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (MUD) prevail by a wide majority over the ruling Socialist Unified Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of President Nicolás Maduro. Since then, Venezuela has faced increasing political crisis. Initiatives by the duly elected Parliament have been systematically blocked, first by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council, and since August 2017 by the new National Constituent Assembly, which has taken over most of the Parliament's legislative powers. Two attempts at dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, promoted by international mediators, have so far failed to break the deadlock. The economic and social situation in the country is far from improving, and the number of Venezuelan asylum-seekers abroad has risen exponentially. Nevertheless, regional elections were finally held on 15 October 2017 – with a PSUV victory in 17 of the 23 Venezuelan states, amid accusations of fraud from the opposition – and the government has promised to go ahead with the presidential elections due in 2018. This is an update of a briefing published in October 2017.

Towards food security in Africa: Are international private-public initiatives paving the way?

16-10-2017

The rise in global hunger in recent years undermines the perspective of 'zero hunger by 2030' set out in the United Nations Agenda 2030. Africa is particularly affected, with more than a quarter of its population living in a situation of severe food insecurity, and its agriculture suffering from major hindrances to production. Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) is one of the international initiatives that have both raised high expectations and opened up controversy ...

The rise in global hunger in recent years undermines the perspective of 'zero hunger by 2030' set out in the United Nations Agenda 2030. Africa is particularly affected, with more than a quarter of its population living in a situation of severe food insecurity, and its agriculture suffering from major hindrances to production. Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) is one of the international initiatives that have both raised high expectations and opened up controversy. Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multinational firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. Improved commercial seeds, use of inorganic fertilisers, infrastructure development and land-administration reforms are among the key elements of the project, underpinned by the use of public-private partnerships. After its first years of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the African countries involved. By contrast, its critics say that while paying lip service to smallholders, it serves the interests of corporate farming with no proven impact on food security. In 2016, the European Parliament voiced its concerns, pointing at a number of negative repercussions mainly on small-holders, and calling for a deep revamp of the NAFSN and the European Union (EU) support for agro-ecology based on small-scale farming. This briefing is a follow-up of an EP Library Briefing from October 2013.

The European Year for Development: Food Security

01-10-2015

Food security is a multilayered concept, covering availability, access, use and stability. It is recognised as a global public good. To be free from hunger and malnutrition is also a human right. Following the 2007/2008 food crisis, the international community committed to investing more in agriculture and to better governance. The MDG target to halve the proportion of hungry people was nearly achieved, but 795 million people remain undernourished. The Sustainable Development Goals include an ambitious ...

Food security is a multilayered concept, covering availability, access, use and stability. It is recognised as a global public good. To be free from hunger and malnutrition is also a human right. Following the 2007/2008 food crisis, the international community committed to investing more in agriculture and to better governance. The MDG target to halve the proportion of hungry people was nearly achieved, but 795 million people remain undernourished. The Sustainable Development Goals include an ambitious zero hunger target and address the structural causes of food insecurity. Helping small farmers to enhance sustainable production is one important way to address food insecurity in developing countries. The EU has made food and nutrition security a focal area of development cooperation. The EU and its Member States committed to reducing the number of stunted children by 7 million before 2025. Parliament has supported a human rights-based approach to addressing food security and has expressed strong concerns over land grabbing.

Tackling food waste: The EU's contribution to a global issue

23-01-2014

In the EU, food waste has been estimated at some 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year. Besides the economic costs, this has significant negative effects for the environment. The EU is taking steps to tackle this trend and aims to halve the disposal of edible food in the EU by 2020.

In the EU, food waste has been estimated at some 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year. Besides the economic costs, this has significant negative effects for the environment. The EU is taking steps to tackle this trend and aims to halve the disposal of edible food in the EU by 2020.

Gaza's Population at the Breaking Point

29-11-2013

Over the past six years, Gaza's 1.8 million residents – 70 % of whom are refugees and 80 % of whom depend on humanitarian assistance for their daily livelihood – have struggled with the land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel for security reasons. In the last year, the decline of Gaza's socio-economic situation has accelerated dizzyingly. Almost one in three people is unemployed, with youth and women the hardest hit. The blockade and Israel's restrictions on the movement of goods and persons ...

Over the past six years, Gaza's 1.8 million residents – 70 % of whom are refugees and 80 % of whom depend on humanitarian assistance for their daily livelihood – have struggled with the land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel for security reasons. In the last year, the decline of Gaza's socio-economic situation has accelerated dizzyingly. Almost one in three people is unemployed, with youth and women the hardest hit. The blockade and Israel's restrictions on the movement of goods and persons to and from the territory mean that sustainable economic activity in Gaza is next to impossible. This bleak economic picture goes hand-in-hand with the fragile humanitarian situation, which has also deteriorated further in the last few months, as Egypt has closed most of the illegal tunnels for reasons of national security and limited crossings at Rafah. Fuel shortages have closed the only electric power plant in Gaza, adding to residents' sea of troubles. In the recent words of the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 'Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable.' To alleviate Gaza's economic woes and prevent a further radicalisation of the political landscape, humanitarian assistance must be delivered to the people in need. This assistance must be supplemented by greater efforts to improve governance in Gaza and to bring about a political solution to the siege of the enclave.

Food Security in a Just Food System

08-11-2013

Hundreds of millions of people live in food insecurity, lacking nutritious food and the means to develop their resilience to natural and man-made disasters and shocks. Obstacles to improving the situation are numerous and include climate change and resource scarcity, poor regulations and rights-based considerations, insufficient human and technical capacities and training. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce enough food for all and to build a more sustainable and just food system. For this to ...

Hundreds of millions of people live in food insecurity, lacking nutritious food and the means to develop their resilience to natural and man-made disasters and shocks. Obstacles to improving the situation are numerous and include climate change and resource scarcity, poor regulations and rights-based considerations, insufficient human and technical capacities and training. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce enough food for all and to build a more sustainable and just food system. For this to happen, small-scale, sustainable agriculture must be developed and strengthened. Private finance across the food system will play an increasingly important role in this process. But for the livelihood and resilience of agricultural producers to be ensured, investments must be responsible and combined with targeted and inclusive initiatives.

Opportunity for food security in Africa? The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN)

07-10-2013

The G8's recent New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) initiative is attracting more and more African states. Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multi­national firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. After its first year of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the six founding African countries. In contrast, both African and global ...

The G8's recent New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) initiative is attracting more and more African states. Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multi­national firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. After its first year of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the six founding African countries. In contrast, both African and global NGOs remain sceptical, pointing to a number of negative repercussions mainly on small­holders.

G20 Talks: Latest Developments on Food Security

15-07-2013

Around 1 billion people suffer from chronic undernourishment. Food security is a complex phenomenon, and the main priority is contributing to understanding which environmental and specific factors could affect the state of food security and the exposure to price shock in the international food market. The role played by Global Actors (e.g. G8 and G20) is crucial. After briefly outlining the food security global governance system, mentioning the recent initiatives within and outside the G20 framework ...

Around 1 billion people suffer from chronic undernourishment. Food security is a complex phenomenon, and the main priority is contributing to understanding which environmental and specific factors could affect the state of food security and the exposure to price shock in the international food market. The role played by Global Actors (e.g. G8 and G20) is crucial. After briefly outlining the food security global governance system, mentioning the recent initiatives within and outside the G20 framework, we assess the concrete results achieved to improve food security.

External author

Fabian Capitanio (University of Naples Federico II, Italy)

Human Rights in North Korea

17-09-2012

The human rights record in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) has been widely condemned by the international community, including by the EU and the European Parliament. The ascension of the latest ruler of the Kim dynasty, Kim Jong-un, in December 2011 has not brought tangible change. Since the country is practically closed to foreigners, the human rights situation can only be evaluated based on the testimonies of refugees and defectors. Their reports consistently reveal ...

The human rights record in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) has been widely condemned by the international community, including by the EU and the European Parliament. The ascension of the latest ruler of the Kim dynasty, Kim Jong-un, in December 2011 has not brought tangible change. Since the country is practically closed to foreigners, the human rights situation can only be evaluated based on the testimonies of refugees and defectors. Their reports consistently reveal blatant and unrepentant violations of human rights, which aim to elicit the total submission of the country's citizens to the regime and its ideology. While the majority of North Koreans suffer from permanent hunger, those who try to leave the country face harsh punishment upon repatriation. Citizens suspected of being disloyal to the regime and their families are placed, without trial, in prison camps with abhorrent conditions. North Korea is among the countries carrying out the highest numbers of executions in the world.

Striving for Biofuels: Impacts on Land Use and Food Security

30-04-2008

This paper provides a brief overview of the relation of biofuels with land use changes and impacts on food security.

This paper provides a brief overview of the relation of biofuels with land use changes and impacts on food security.

External author

Mr. Bas Eickhout, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP)

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