Regional perspectives on hunger and migration

  • 22nd November 2017
  • by secretary
20 November 2017. Brussels. European Parliament. Regional perspectives on hunger and migration: the relevance of smart investment in food security and rural development

The recently released State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 report showed that after more than a decade of steady decline, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million

people in 2016 – up from 777 million in 2015.

In light of this alarming increase, the European Parliamentary Alliance on the Fight Against Hunger brought together Members of the European Parliament as well as high-level representatives of the UN and leading international organisations to discuss long-term solutions geared towards achieving Zero Hunger. The debate placed links between food security, rural development and migration, aiming to investigate holistic responses to the root causes of hunger.
a particular emphasis on the

The event started with introductory remarks by MEP Paolo de

Castro, Coordinator of the Parliamentary Alliance, MEP Maria Heubuch (see picture), Member of the Development Committee and MEP Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Member of the Development Committee.

In a video speech Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, set the scene for the debate between:

  • Roberto Ridolfi (see picture), Directorate for Planet and Prosperity, Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission 
  • Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett (Guyana), Director FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in Geneva
    FAO has considerable experience in addressing migration in both developmental contexts and protracted crises. Agricultural and rural development can contribute to address the root causes of migration and build the resilience of both displaced and host communities, laying the ground for long-term recovery.
    FAO works with relevant stakeholders to strengthen their capacities to provide viable livelihood opportunities in agriculture and rural areas in countries in protracted crises. It also protects the right to food of all people on the move, while fostering their integration and strengthening the social and economic resilience of host communities. Working with its partners and using resilient agricultural livelihoods as a key instrument, FAO plays an important role in:
    i) addressing the factors that compel people to move, especially those linked to natural disasters, conflicts over natural resources and environmental and livelihood deterioration in rural areas;
    ii) strengthening resilience of both displaced people and host communities and
    iii) harnessing the positive contribution of migrants and displaced people and fostering their integration.
  • Margot Van der Velden, Deputy Regional Director for West Africa and Central Africa, WFP
  • Martin Rivero Illa, Coordinator of the Social Cohesion Area Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB)

After a round of questions from the audience, , summarised and close the debate.

At this event two booklets from the FAO were distributed:

MIGRATION AND PROTRACTED CRISES. Addressing the root causes and building resilient agricultural livelihoods (2016, 16 pages)

This booklet is directed towards FAO Member States, UN system and all other potential partners, and sheds light on the role that resilient agriculture livelihoods can play in addressing some of the root causes of migration in protracted crises and assisting displaced populations and host communities to cope with protracted displacement. The document aims at improving understanding of migration in situations of protracted crisis by explaining the context and providing examples of the work that FAO, together with its partners, has been doing across different countries to strengthen the resilience of communities and leave no one behind before, during and after protracted crises.

Also Available in: Russian Spanish Arabic French Chinese


Diaspora can contribute to build the economy in countries of origin after a conflict or a crisis, through: remittances, skill transfer, diaspora connected FDI, direct investments such as diaspora entrepreneurship, heritage tourism and nostalgia trade, philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy. (page 8) 

HARNESSING THE POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION OF MIGRANTS AND DISPLACED PERSONS Generate evidence of the benefits of migrants and refugees for their host communities and countries of origin, especially by analysing remittances flows and use in rural areas of origin and destinations.(page 13) 

Create partnerships and advocate for improving financial inclusion and literacy of displaced people originating from rural areas as well as diaspora communities, so that they can send remittances back home, as well as communities of origin to productively use the remittances they receive for agriculture and rural development. (page 15)

This publication highlights the work of FAO and its partners to strengthen the resilience of communities and to assist displaced populations and host communities in coping withprotracted displacement.


Migrants can be agents of development, contribute to economic growth and improve food security and rural livelihoods. Orderly, safe and regular migration of people underpins the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. (page 2)

Migration itself can contribute to agriculture and rural development in the countries of origin. If the credit and/ or insurance markets in rural areas are absent or function poorly, remittances relax liquidity constraints, provide insurance in case of crisis/shocks and foster investment in agriculture and other rural economic activities with potential for job creation. Moreover, diaspora organizations and return migrants can help rural areas in the countries of origin through capital investments, skills and technology transfers, know-how and social networks. (page 9)

  • Reduction of the cost of sending remittances to rural areas and increase of financial inclusion and literacy in the sending and receiving areas.
  • Rural capacities to use remittances for investments in agriculture and natural resource management. 
  • Mobilisation of diasporas to invest in rural areas.

The 2018 edition of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), one of FAO’s annual flagship publications, will focus on migration and the challenges it poses to food security as well as to peace and stability. A consultation on this topic was organised from 21.09.2017 – 16.10.2017.

  • Today there is growing international attention to the phenomenon of migration, its causes, its effects and the way in which it occurs. To open up the drafting of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), we would like to invite you to share inputs and consideration on the draft annotated outline of the report.
  • Migration, both through its drivers and its impacts, is closely linked to FAO’s goals of fighting hunger, achieving food security and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. While much of the international attention is on international migration, migration between countries is part of a bigger picture that includes both international and domestic migration flows. Migration to, from and between rural areas (rural migration) is an important component of these migration flows. Rural migration is closely linked with agricultural and rural development in a bidirectional relationship: agricultural and rural development affects migration and are themselves affected by migration.
  • The 2018 edition of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) will explore these linkages. It will analyze rural migration flows as well as their determinants and impacts. It will look at the factors in rural areas, and more specifically in agriculture, which contribute to determining migration decisions and will analyze the relationship between agricultural and rural development and migration decisions. The report will also look at the ways in which migration affects rural areas and agricultural and rural development.