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CFS High-level Panel Releases Report on Social Protection for Food Security

June 2012: The Committee on World Food Security's (CFS) High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) has released its fourth report, focusing on ways to lessen vulnerability through social and productive safety net programmes and policies. The report argues that "any sustainable growth strategy needs a social protection component," and well-designed social protection systems are good for growth, and should not be perceived as a burden on fiscal systems.

"Social protection for food security" describes social protection as a set of policy instruments to address poverty and vulnerability through social assistance, social insurance and efforts at social inclusion. The report describes a range of social protection systems, including input subsidies, food subsidies, grain reserve management, school feeding, supplementary feeding and related sustainability concerns, conditional cash transfers, unconditional cash transfers, complementary interventions and comprehensive programmes.

Among its recommendations for policy makers, the HLPE calls on countries to design and establish comprehensive and nationally owned social protection systems that ensure the right to food for all through "twin-track" strategies - those that maximize impacts on food security for short-term support while building long-term livelihood resilience. It says the systems should address vulnerability, be underpinned by the human right to food, and support agricultural livelihoods directly.

On recommendations to the CFS, the HLPE suggests the CFS should: encourage, monitor and report on the incorporation of the provisions on the right to food; support social protection portfolios and action plans in every country; provide technical and financial support; monitor nutritional status of beneficiaries; perform evaluations; establish a global system of yearly notifications on social protection; and ensure that the recommendations are incorporated into the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition.

The HLPE was established by the World Committee on Food Security in 2010 to provide science and knowledge of emerging trends in food security. The HLPE is meant to lead to more informed policy debates and improve the quality, effectiveness and coherence of food security and nutrition policies from local to international levels. [Publication: Social Protection for Food Security, HLPE Report 4]