This article is written for and published in the SDG Bulletin South Africa (May 2018).
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) County Office in South Africa and the Sub Regional Office for Southern Africa have continued to provide ongoing Technical Assistance to the Government of South Africa on Food and Nutrition Security (FNS). This mainly involves supporting the development and implementation of the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy implementation plan (NFNSP) through the Inter-Governmental Technical Working Group (ITWG) convened by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) under the Presidency.
The ITWG is a major coordination mechanism that brings together key government departments involved in the agro food value chain in South Africa. It was set up particularly to champion the development of the implementation plan of the policy which was approved by Cabinet in September 2013.
With the Support of FAO and other partners, Government has now espoused a multi-sectoral approach in which all line departments are regularly convened and the ITWGfacilitates joint planning, implementation and progress reporting. These regular forums are also used to address FNS challenges across all line departments. This has enabled the creation of important synergies and networks, and encouraged the use of gender disaggregated data. Gender is considered an important cross-cutting principle and as a result, all the FNS programmes and projects developed and implemented are set to be gender sensitive and responsive.
FAO also supports the South Africa Vulnerability Assessment Committee (SAVAC) process on FNS measurement in the country. SAVAC is convened by Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries(DAFF) and currently working with Statistics South Africa and provincial departments of agriculture to carry out a national food and nutrition security survey which will provide baseline assessments on major FNS indicators for the country. This is expected to provide a complete picture of the FNS situation at various levels in the country. In this process FAO is particularly assisting on the design of the questionnaire and the analysis of data to ensure that South Africa collects sufficient data to measure FNS using globally comparable standards. Assistance has been given on ensuring that the process collects data that can be used to inform measurement under Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of indicators 2.1.1 and 2.1.2 and the Minimum Dietary diversity for Women (M-DDW) indicator. This will enable the country not only to measure its status but also to report on the SDGs.