Mission Statement

The word “nexus” is latin for connection, or “link”. Nexus Foundation concentrates on the nexus agriculture-trade, resp. agriculture-trade-food security. Climate change and landownership are related issues. Nexus Foundation is active itself and is supportive to similar oriented initiatives. Its operations are centred in Switzerland.

Background

Almost a billion people going hungry (as of 2009/2010) is too many. It is unacceptable for those affected, and for societies that have sufficient available food. The problem of hunger can be as well understood as symptomatic for other global challenges, where solutions are needed. In this respect the work of Nexus Foundation has a broader focus, too.

In 2000, the international community adopted the Millennium Goals. These included halving the number of people suffering hunger from 800 million (at that time) to 400 million by 2015. Since 2008, the number of starving people has risen again by about 200 million. The main players do not so far seem to have been able to get a grip on the problem. The Nexus Foundation is committed to help to improve this situation.

Nexus Foundation: Mission
Picture: date palms in Tunisia

There are many causes of hunger. First and foremost among them is people’s lack of purchasing power: poverty. There is however a whole range of other factors, as nutrition is not related purely to poverty or and riches. For instance, 70% of all those who are starving – many of whom are small farmers – live in rural regions. Here it is primarily a question of access to land and water, as well as to seeds and training that will ensure that they can provide for themselves. The finincial crisis of 2008 saw a huge increase in the numbers of people going hungry. In addition, there are numerous exacerbating factors, such as discrimination against women, inadequate infrastructure, warfare and corruption, as well as climate change. Development aid from the OECD countries averages 0.25% of GDP: far lower than the agreed 0.7%, and the proportion of development aid resources going to agriculture is only 5%, rather than the 17% demanded by the FAO General Secretary. In the past, research has relied too much on laboratory-backed procedures. In addition, fluctuating raw material prices, the West’s export subsidies and trade barriers and speculation all contribute to the crisis, as well as to some extent sometimes (when it comes to rural economies) the policy of structural adjustment programs and liberalization by the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO.

Nexus Foundation: Mission

“How will developing countries be able to arrange their own agriculture and their markets for themselves in future, and manage their resources? This will not be decided (by the FAO) in Rome but at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.” (Christiane Grefe in DIE ZEIT, 12 November 2009). It is not merely assuring food supplies that concerns the Nexus Foundation but also sovereignty over food supplies. Can the culture of trade negotiations at the WTO be renewed?