Food Security

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 879–894 | Cite as

Addressing food security and nutrition by means of a territorial approach

  • Vito Cistulli
  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose
  • Germán Escobar
  • Stefano Marta
  • Alexander Schejtman
Original Paper


This paper argues that a territorial approach provides an effective analytical framework to address the structural and emerging issues of food security and nutrition (FSN), including widening within-country inequalities and disparities, in so far as they allow the exploration of the multi-dimensional, multi-actor and multi-level nature of FSN. By recognizing the diversity of territories and their distinct capacity to react to shocks (external and internal), a territorial approach is also suitable for tackling the sources of inequality. This involves putting local institutions at the forefront of the battle against FSN problems in order to ensure the achievement of the triple objective of equity, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability. The paper acknowledges that following a territorial approach is complex and often connected to a number of prerequisites that are sometimes not available in developing countries. These include efficient governance systems, access to information, and capacities of actors, organizations and institutions at all levels. Notwithstanding this, our examples indicate that the chances of success of territorial approaches in developing countries are not necessarily lower than for other countries, if appropriate actions are taken.


Food security and nutrition Hunger Inequality Development Territorial strategies Spatially-blind strategies 



This article has benefited from the constructive comments by the Editor-in-Chief of Food Security, Richard Strange, and the anonymous reviewers to earlier versions of the manuscript. We are also indebted to participants at the Second International Expert Meeting “Territorial Approach to Food Security and Nutrition Policies: Empirical Evidence and Good Practices”, held at the FAO Headquarters in Rome on 16–17 December 2013, for their comments and suggestions. In particular, we would like to thank the colleagues Raffaele Trapasso and Federico Bonaglia (OECD), Nicola Crosta (UNCDF) and Rob Vos (FAO) for to the interesting exchanges and fruitful collaboration in the development of an ambitious joint FAO, OECD, UNCDF initiative on the same topic. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Germany, of the European Research Council (FP7/2007-2013) ERC grant agreement no. 269868, and the patronage of EXPO Milan 2015.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vito Cistulli
    • 1
  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose
    • 2
  • Germán Escobar
    • 3
  • Stefano Marta
    • 1
  • Alexander Schejtman
    • 3
  1. 1.UN FAORomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Geography and EnvironmentLondon School of EconomicsLondonUK
  3. 3.Latin American Centre for Rural Development RIMISPSantiagoChile

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