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C h a pt er 2 1 Bridging the Gap between the


Agriculture and Health Sectors Joachim von Braun, Marie T. Ruel, and Stuart Gillespie


A


s a unified set of global poverty reduction goals, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in principle provide an opportunity for overcoming sectoral divides and forging effective links between agriculture and health. Both


agriculture and health are important for most of the MDGs, and positive synergies could link agricultural and health policy, programming, and research in ways that would benefit both sectors and advance the MDGs as a whole. But these links have not materialized in satisfactory ways. This chapter argues that while the MDG concept is clear on goals, it has never


been clear on how to link goals to policies and on how to promote synergies between goals. A framework for linking agriculture and health in ways that alleviate pov- erty and hunger is missing, as is a set of policies to effectively exploit the synergies between agriculture and health. Such a framework requires an additional emphasis on context, governance, and policy tools.


Limitations of the MDGs in Fostering Action across Sectors The MDGs have guided the planning and implementation of different develop- ment efforts. But their usefulness is limited unless they are combined with a policy framework, strategy, and implementation plan. Although they offer a shared vision of what is needed, they provide no common articulation of how to get there—and especially how to address the goals as a whole rather than through separated actions. The following limitations center on MDG1, on hunger and poverty, but they are also relevant for most other MDGs:


1. MDG discourse has been relatively silent about effective policies for achieving the goals. Economic theory emphasizes that achieving goals depends on the use


This chapter is based on material by the authors in The African Food System and Its Interactions with Human Health and Nutrition, edited by P. Pinstrup-Andersen (Ithaca, NY, US: Cornell University Press in cooperation with the United Nations University).


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