This post is part of a series produced by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, marking the occasion of its annual Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, D.C., which will be held on May 21st. For more information on the symposium, click here. Follow @globalagdev and #globalag on twitter to join the conversation on May 21st.
Dr. Shenggen Fan has been director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) since 2009.
The global food system continues to remain vulnerable. Progress to combat global hunger and malnutrition remains fragmented, as nearly 870 million individuals—about 1 in every 8 people on the planet—are undernourished and more than 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Moreover, hunger and malnutrition is disproportionately felt throughout the world, as roughly 98 percent of these individuals live in developing countries. As we move forward and the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline draws closer, progress toward halving the proportion of individuals suffering from hunger is not currently on track.
Although many notable commitments to agriculture and food and nutrition security have been made in recent years by various actors—including developing country governments, members of the international community, and other key stakeholders—progress in fulfilling these commitments remains mixed. It will be essential for actors to “walk the talk” and move from rhetoric to action. Several important actions will be needed including:
- Investing in agricultural science and technology. These investments should include technologies for improved crop and livestock breeding; advanced biofuels derived from non-food feedstock; low carbon agriculture; resource-use efficiency which saves water and energy, as well as reductions in food losses and waste; and safe food systems. Technologies must be smallholder friendly and regionally applicable.