Klaus Leisinger is Founder and President of the Global Values Alliance, Special Adviser on the post-2015 Development and Business Ethics to the UN Global Compact and member of the Consortium Board of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The following blog is based on a longer Working Paper prepared for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Patents and innovation in China
Ideas can fuel economic development, which is why legal protection for these ideas—in the form of patents—is an essential building block of a healthy economy. China, once the manufacturing hub of the world, faces rising labor costs due to rising worker wages. As a result, demand for new technologies to replace these workers has skyrocketed. Patents are crucial to encouraging the development of new technologies and innovations, and China has become the world’s largest recipient of patent filings in the world.
Gender differences in agriculture
Gender disparities are a pervasive challenge in many lines of work, including farming. Even as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was producing The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11, evidence on the importance of closing the gender gap in agriculture was mounting. More recently, IFPRI and FAO partnered on Gender in Agriculture: Closing the Knowledge Gap, a compilation of the growing knowledge base on the gender gaps in agriculture and why we should work to close them.
Highlighting data applications from the latest Global Hunger Index
For the past three years, the Global Hunger Index (GHI), a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger by region and country, has been published as Linked Open Data (LOD). The GHI highlights successes and failures in hunger reduction and provides insights into the drivers of hunger, as well as food and nutrition insecurity. It does so by combining three equally weighted indicators—undernourishment, child underweight, and child mortality—into a single comprehensive index.
Adaptive strategies for coping with drought
In the drought-prone regions of East Africa and parts of South Asia, a lack of water can be the most damaging factor to a farmer’s bottom line. Agriculture is a particularly high-risk occupation in these regions, and climate shocks such as drought can make the job even more risky, engendering cycles of poverty. Moreover, the high risks associated with farming often discourage investment, which in turn reduces agricultural output and farmers’ income. And risk may worsen with climate change, if the change leads to more frequent droughts.
Food security and R&D spending
As the world’s population continues to expand, ensuring that food production can meet the growing demand is an ever-mounting challenge. Climate change, soil degradation, and volatile food prices further threaten food security at a time when increasing agricultural output is paramount.