2011 Global Food Policy Report

Encouraging Events in 2011 Not What We Hoped for In 2011 What to Watch for in 2012

Agriculture, nutrition, and health climbed up on the national and global agendas, and the nexus of agriculture, food, land, water, and energy has received more attention (see Chapter 6).

The world’s major political leaders made food policy a high priority, with the G20 agreement on an Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture.

At the World Economic Forum, the world’s business and society leaders gave agriculture a boost when they initiated their New Vision for Agriculture.

Encouraging progress was made at the climate change conference in Durban, acknowledging the role agriculture can play in the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change (see Chapter 4).

China’s focus on agricultural policy bore fruit as total grain production exceeded 570 million tons, a new record (see Chapter 9).

India’s Parliament introduced a National Food Security Bill to provide affordable grains to more than half of its 1.2 billion people(see Chapter 9).

New initiatives like Feed the Future, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, and South-South cooperations boosted agriculture investments.

Promoting mother and child nutrition gained momentum as it became widely accepted that the nutrition in the 1,000 days between conception and a child’s second birthday are of crucial importance for the child’s future.

High and extremely volatile food prices in the first half of the year threatened the food security of millions of people (see Chapter 2).

Biofuel policies in the United States and the European Union have not been changed to take into account their impact on land-use change and food price volatility (see Chapter 5).

The Doha Round of trade negotiations was still not finalized, so countries continued to maintain domestic policies that undermine the trading prospects of developing countries and the sustainability of the global food system.

Setting a clear international standard or “code of conduct” for large-scale foreign investment in land has received too little attention.

African countries are not meeting their target of allocating at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture.

The international community responded slowly and too late to the disaster that was unfolding in the Horn of Africa (see Chapter 3).

Hunger still persists globally: nearly one billion people go hungry every day. The 2011 Global Hunger Index indicates that more than two dozen countries have “alarming” or “extremely alarming” hunger levels.

How are governments responding to financial crises and how does this affect their development assistance, especially in the fields of agriculture and nutrition security?

How much progress is being made on the various initiatives taken in 2011, like the G20 Action Plan or the G8’s repeated commitment to improve food security?

What impact are noncommercial transactions in futures markets and the increasing trading volume of index funds having on high and volatile prices of agricultural commodities? (see Chapter 2.)

To what extent is agriculture being integrated in environmental and sustainability discussions, including EarthSummit 2012 or the ongoing climate change debate?

What are the new leaders of the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Food Programme doing to promote nutrition security and agriculture?

Are the lessons learned during the crisis in the Horn of Africa being applied to increase effectiveness and impact when addressing the emerging crises in the Sahel and North Korea?

How is the balance of power shifting in agricultural research, technology, production, and trade, with emerging economies pushing the agricultural agenda? (see Chapter 8.)

Which countries are making the most progress toward achieving the first Millennium Development Goal, and why?