WASHINGTON, April 23, 2012-   The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) launched the 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 in the last year, as well as their significance for food and nutrition security.

“It is based on research, it is evidence-based, however; it is non-technical,” said IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan. “So the non-technical person such as politicians, policymakers, practitioners or anybody else who is interested in food security can use it as a comprehensive handbook.”

According to IFPRI, “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.”

The Report makes the case for keeping food policy issues high on the global agenda. IFPRI outlines the global food challenges in 2011, during which global food prices and food price volatility remained high. Also, natural disasters threated food security for the poor and increased hunger and malnutrition in those areas.  

“Yet 2011 saw significant gains in support of agriculture, food and nutrition security, and global poverty reduction,” according to IFPRI. “Agriculture moved to the forefront of the international development agenda, and investments in the sector rose.”

The report acknowledges that emerging economies like Brazil, China, and India, as well as the private sector and philanthropic organizations “increased their voice in the global food system through global platforms such as the G20 meeting and the World Economic Forum.”

“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.”

IFPRI suggested actions to improve food policy decisions in 2012, 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 full report is available here: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/oc72.pdf


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