BEFSCI is reaching out to bioenergy feedstock producers to catalogue and showcase innovative approaches that have been used in sustainable bioenergy initiatives.
Bioenergy and food security – a complex relationship
Biofuel development may have significant implications for all four dimensions of food security (availability, access, stability and utilization). For instance, it may result in increased competition for land and water resources, leading to higher and less stable food prices. At the same time, however, it may create new employment and income-generating opportunities, with potential benefits for rural development and food security.
The complex interrelationships between bioenergy, poverty and food security are currently being analyzed in the context of the FAO’s Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) project, which is in the process of field-testing and refining a methodology to assess the impacts of bioenergy production on food security.
Building on the findings of BEFS and on FAO’s comparative advantage, BEFSCI aims to develop a set of principles, criteria, indicators, good practices and policy options on sustainable bioenergy production that safeguards and, if possible, fosters food security, in order to:
- inform the development of national frameworks aimed at preventing the risk of negative impacts (and increasing the opportunities) of bioenergy development on food security; and
- help developing countries monitor and respond to the impacts of bioenergy production on food security and its various dimensions and sub-dimensions.
The BEFSCI set of principles, criteria, indicators, good practices and policy options are being developed with the help of a multidisciplinary group of international experts (go to the key messages from the 1st FAO-BEFSCI Technical Consultation). These will then be validated through an international, multi-stakeholder consultation process, and subsequently evaluated in a few countries.
These activities will also inform and feed into on-going discussions and work on food security-related principles, criteria and indicators under other bioenergy initiatives, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) and the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP).
In addition, the BEFSCI project might inform the reporting process on food security under the new EU Renewables Directive (which includes a 20% biofuel target by 2020), as well as the on-going work of both the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) towards the development of sustainability standards for biofuels.
Source: FAO, 2011-05-11.