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Specialized Course on Food Security at the time of COVID-19 (26-30 October 2020)

Food security

Online, 26-30 October 2020

Application deadline: 15 October 2020

Course description

“It is highly likely that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in increased hunger and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean.” (Food security under the COVID-19 pandemic Report, FAO).

 “Today, more than 821 million people regularly go to bed hungry, of whom 100-plus million suffer from acute hunger, largely due to man-made conflicts, climate change and economic downturns. These are the people who will experience the unthinkable due to the economic or logistical consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the depth and breadth of hunger will increase worldwide.” (COVID-19: Potential impact on the world’s poorest people, World Food Programme)

“While agri-food sector jobs have been designated as essential in the context of the COVID-19 crisis in many countries, the measures adopted to slow down the pandemic may place further strain on the capacity of the sector to continue meeting demand, providing incomes and livelihoods, and ensuring safety and health for the millions of agricultural workers and producers.” (ILO Sectoral Brief, COVID-19 and the impact on agriculture and food security, International Labour Organization)

In parallel, “…The world’s population continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace than at any time since 1950, owing to reduced levels of fertility. From an estimated 7.7 billion people worldwide in 2019, the medium-variant projection indicates that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.” (World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision. New York: United Nations).

The unprecedented times the world is going through demand for an immediate and prompt reaction by States to mitigate the additional negative impacts the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the food security sector. While countering malnutrition and facilitating access to food, international and national institutions highlight the importance of controlling and monitoring the food supply chain. Substitution, adulteration, mislabelling, counterfeiting and misrepresentation of food products are growing exponentially and are seriously endangering the quality of what we eat. In many legislative frameworks they constitute criminal activities, all over the world they represent a public health and economic harm. Not to mention that food fraud generates illicit profits that allow criminals to expand their trades and their areas of influence.

Furthermore, armed conflicts, terrorism, the absence of the rule of law and the constant political instability are hindering the capacity of the population to produce food and meet nutritional requirements, expanding the cycle of hunger, poverty and violence generated by the need to access essential resources. Finally, phenomena related to climate change, such as floods, desertification and soil erosion, illegal exploitation of resources and environmental crimes are producing dramatic consequences on food production.

These scenarios, exacerbated by the current pandemic, compel the global community to re-shape the entire food supply chain, from production to consumption. Aiming to reach the second SDG “Zero Hunger” within 2030, States and international organisations need to find a balance between economic development, environmental protection and food security.

With these considerations in mind, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in cooperation with John Cabot University (JCU), is organizing the second edition of the Specialized Course on Food and Nutrition Security at the time of COVID-19, which will be delivered online, from 26 to 30 October 2020.

The Specialized Course will provide participants with a fundamental understanding of main determinants and issues connected to food security, among which:

  • Towards the multidimensional definition of food security
  • The UN strategy for Goal 2 “Zero Hunger” (SDGs)
  • Legal tools on right to food, food safety and security
  • Pandemic outbreaks and impact on food safety and security
  • COVID-19, conflicts, migration and food insecurity
  • Food industry and food fraud: counterfeiting and adulteration 
  • Migration and food insecurity
  • Innovation for the future: blockchain for Zero Hunger

The Specialized Course offers professional, legal, social, scientific and academic perspectives through live webinars, group discussions, dynamic case studies, individual readings, and practical exercises. The faculty is composed of leading scholars and academics from JCU and other universities, as well as international legal experts from the United Nations system, international and non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

Through a dedicated online platform, participants will have the opportunity to interact with internationally recognized experts and peers from all over the world, so to build lasting professional relationships. This experience fosters intercultural dialogue and promotes a deeper understanding of the most salient issues faced by the international community related to food and nutrition security.

For further information on how to apply, entry requirements, registration fees and certificate of participation, please visit the relevant page or send a message to unicri.courses@un.org.