April 23, Washington D.C.— As policymakers gather for the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings, and as decisionmakers, international organizations, and civil society meet for Rio+20, major food policy developments from 2011 can provide lessons and guidance for 2012 and the future.
Today the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) launches the inaugural Global Food Policy Report, the first in a new annual series. The Report provides a comprehensive overview of major policy changes at the global, regional, national, and local levels, as well as their significance for food and nutrition security.
For most of 2011, global food prices and food price volatility remained high. Droughts, floods, and earthquakes threated food security for the poor, and increased hunger and malnutrition in the areas hit by these natural disasters. Yet 2011 saw significant gains in support of agriculture, food and nutrition security, and global poverty reduction. Agriculture moved to the forefront of the international development agenda, and investments in the sector rose. Emerging economies like Brazil, China, and India, as well as the private sector and philanthropic organizations also increased their voice in the global food system through global platforms such as the G20 meeting and the World Economic Forum.
Looming large for 2012 will be continued high and volatile food prices, increased oil prices, the threat of extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change such as drought in the Sahel, and financial crises in the US and Europe—all of which have and will continue to affect the food and nutrition security of the poor and hungry. However, there are concrete actions that will help improve food policy actions and decisions in 2012 and beyond, including:
- Forging a broad intersectoral coalition to address issues related to agriculture, food, nutrition, and health via the G8 and G20 meetings;
- Enhancing the key role of agriculture in economic, social, and environmental sustainability via Rio+20;
- Ensuring that water, land, and energy are used efficiently in food production, and that poor people have access to them; and
- Creating and strengthening institutions and capacities for country-led development strategies.
“The G8 and G20 meetings can serve as a platform for developed and developing countries to tackle food security issues together, working across borders to maximize results, and Rio+20 will leverage agriculture for broader development outcomes including with food, water, land, and energy,” said Shenggen Fan. “These meetings provide a great opportunity for policymakers to move from last year’s commitment to agriculture issues to implementation and action that can reduce poverty and hunger.”
The Report makes the case for keeping food policy issues high on the global agenda and can serve as a reference to policymakers and stakeholders as they undertake discussions on global development.
Sarah Immenschuh, email@example.com, +1 (202) 862-5679