Displaying 1-20 of 34 key documents
Source: IISD | June 2012
This paper gives an overview of the financing needs of smallholder farmers, their current sources of financing, and ways to deliver these funds to help them achieve the triple dividends of enhanced food security, increased resilience to climate change, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. It offers recommendations for mobilising investment to enable further progress towards this goal.
The authors argue that there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution, and suggest that adaptation funds and the private sector could be a source of additional support, in the absence of public sector financing for agriculture or a carbon market for smallholders. They conclude with recommendations for policymakers, such as building on prior experience and knowledge, and creating an enabling environment for climate-smart agricultural investment.
Source: OECD-FAO | June 2012
This is the eighteenth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, which outlines projected market trends (from 2012 to 2021) for major agricultural commodities and biofuels, and presents recent developments and uncertainties associated with those markets. It focuses on the challenges of meeting the rising demand for food alongside input costs, resource constraints, environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change.
The report finds that world prices for many agricultural crops are expected to remain high over the long-term, in spite of a short-term decline. It highlights progress in improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, and calls for the private sector to take a leading role in creating the right environment.
The report concludes by arguing for better agronomic practices and commercial, technical and regulatory environments, and strengthening agricultural innovation systems, as essential policy challenges. It calls for developing countries to invest in agricultural infrastructure in rural areas and in human capital, and to put in place policies for reducing food loss and waste.
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | June 2012
This report examines how refugees and displaced people from several countries in the East and Horn of Africa have perceived, experienced and responded to climatic variability and the negative impacts of climate change. Through interviews and focus groups, and supported by a literature review, the report assesses how people manage the impact of climate change and environmental stress, how these factors affect livelihoods and vulnerability, and to what extent they influence people's decisions to move from their homes.
Key findings include that climate change had negatively impacted farming and livestock husbandry, and triggered conflict by further exacerbating existing resource scarcity. However, people tended to employ a wide range of adaptive strategies, only moving home as a last resort. The report also states that migration was often viewed as temporary, and very rarely occurred across national borders. It concludes that political conditions, civil disorder and state oppression inhibited people's coping strategies.
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization | June 2012
This report argues that more sustainable use of forestry resources can help reduce poverty and hunger, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and create more sustainable sources of bio-products and bio-energy. It was released at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), where many of these challenges were discussed.
The report highlights that 350 million of the world's poorest people depend on forests for survival, and that investing in wood-based enterprises creates jobs and improves livelihoods. It argues that when sourced sustainably, wood products can store carbon and be easily recycled, and highlights that sustainable forestry offers a renewable, alternative source of energy. It says that more resources need to be invested in creating small and medium forest-based enterprises that benefit local communities.
The report concludes that promoting a sustainable forest-based industry can both improve local economies and meet sustainability goals. But this will require policies, programmes and incentives.
Source: Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CSACC) | March 2012
This report lays out a set of policy recommendations for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduction of food waste to create a resilient global food system. Based on a review of scientific evidence, it pinpoints seven actions that policymakers — including those attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) — should adopt to foster sustainable agriculture and efficient food supply chains.
Recommendations include integrating food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies;
intensifying agricultural production while reducing negative environmental impacts; and creating comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems.
This policy roadmap will require the reshaping of food production, distribution and consumption patterns, and empowering vulnerable populations to build a sustainable global food system.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | March 2012
This report provides a visual overview of the trends and factors shaping global food and agricultural systems, including their interactions with broader environmental and socioeconomic concerns. It presents a selection of indicators on food and agriculture by country, aiming to be a reference point for policymakers, donor agencies, researchers, analysts and the public. These indicators are based on the FAOSTAT statistical database, which includes survey data submitted by countries, supplemented by national data.
Four sections cover provide an exhaustive overview of key themes: the state of agricultural resources, including pressures from demographic and macroeconomic change; food insecurity and malnutrition; the role of trade in meeting demands for food and feed; and the sustainability of agriculture in the context climate change and the need to provide ecosystem services.
Source: IFPRI | March 2012
This report combines poverty data and economic analysis to inform debate on policy priorities for poverty reduction and food security in light of the "Arab Awakening". It argues for national dialogues and joint economic development strategies in the region, with sound laws and accountable politicians who accept democratic values.
The report suggests that poverty and income inequality in the Arab world are higher than previously thought. It introduces a new welfare measure of food insecurity at the national level and in households, which is used to classify countries into five risk groups. It also presents analyses showing that unlike other regions, poor people in Arab countries benefit more from growth in the manufacturing and service sector, rather than agriculture; and that high levels of public spending — particularly in education — do not stimulate growth as much as in other regions.
The report highlights three policy recommendations: improving data and capacity to provide evidence for decision-making; fostering growth that enhances food security; and improving the efficiency of public spending.
Source: Global Environment Facility (GEF) | March 2012
This report gives an overview of how water resources can be protected and used efficiently based on the work of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It provides examples of how the work has encouraged cooperation across sectors and national borders. Case studies cover topics including pollution control, sustainable use of water for food security, and energy security through water management.
The authors conclude with a description of initiatives that aim to improve public health through wastewater management and ecological sanitation. They suggest that cooperation towards a shared goal is needed to sustain the benefits of water systems. The report is available in English, French and Spanish.
Source: Ramsar Convention and the WHO | March 2012
The report looks at the linkages between wetlands, human health and well-being, and examines the potential of to improving health while conserving wetland ecosystems. It aims to provide advice to wetland managers and decision makers, and to facilitate dialogue between wetlands and human health experts.
The report gives an overview of how wetland ecosystems influence health — benefits such as the provision of water, as well as hazards such as exposure to infectious disease. It outlines three approaches to harnessing the benefits of wetland ecosystems for human health. These include recognising the human needs satisfied by access to wetlands, such as water, food and social cohesion; medicinal plants and other health products; and the economic value of wetlands to improving socioeconomic conditions.
The authors call for a change in wetland management perspective, better policy development, and new instruments and approaches. They recommend stronger partnerships between sectors, governments and nongovernmental organisations.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | December 2011
This report examines how agricultural research, and practices can promote gender equality, and why the distinct role of women in achieving food security must be recognised.
It gives an overview of how gender should be integrated throughout the research, development, and extension system. It explores ways of integrating gender in conducting research; designing, implementing, and adopting extension services; setting agricultural agendas; and evaluating the impact of gender equity initiatives.
The authors review evidence on the significance of gender issues, and present a conceptual framework that links different contributors to the agricultural innovation cycle. They discuss the data needed to inform gender-sensitive decisions and priority-setting, and argue that agricultural researchers must be attuned to gender issues in how technologies are developed and adopted. Each chapter provides a summary of findings and recommendations.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report, which is part of the UN Foresight Initiative, describes the 21 most pressing emerging global environmental issues — those recognised as very important to well-being by the scientific community, but are not yet receiving enough attention from the policymakers. These cover a range of themes, from food security to biodiversity, energy and technology.
One of the most important cross-cutting issues identified in the report is the need to rethink international environmental governance. Other areas in need of improvement include the science–policy interface, and coping with incremental damage to the environment.
Improving food security in light of changing climate is also high on the list of priorities, with the report suggesting a need for more comprehensive early warning systems, support for smallholder farmers, efforts to reduce food waste and increasing agricultural efficiency. Other issues highlighted include managing the impacts of glacial retreat; improving ocean governance; accelerating the implementation of renewable energy systems; and considering the environmental implications of nuclear reactor decommissioning.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report describes trends in the use of key resources such as water, food and biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific, and what this means for economies. It was produced by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank and the UN Environment Programme.
The report highlights how policy has changed over the past few years, driven by rising demand for resources and by climate change, and presents data on patterns of resource-intensive growth in the region. It outlines key policy actions for sustainable economic growth; and recommends strategies to improve the resilience of societies and economies, including changes in governance. The final section highlights the report's implications for the two themes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | December 2011
This report examines the challenges of managing water resources for agricultural use — specifically in the context of food production — in the face of a changing climate. It provides an overview of climate change impacts in different parts of the world, details options for adaptation and mitigation, and offers practical recommendations on how developing countries can cope with these impacts.
The report outlines methods to assess impacts on water and agriculture, and stresses that water and agricultural policies must be more closely aligned. It concludes with suggestions for action to help countries in carrying out such assessments and adapting agricultural water management. These include using methods such as decision analysis to improve predictions; developing and applying downscaling techniques to build capacity for better analyses and climate adaptation; and coordinating analyses of the level of investment required for different solutions.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
This report presents a global overview of the role of livestock in nutrition and food security, and discusses ways of meeting the expected increase in demand for livestock as a source of food with limited resources. It examines how livestock contributes to food security in three population groups — livestock-dependent societies, small-scale mixed farmers and urban dwellers — and the main challenges they face in producing enough food.
The first section of the report discusses how livestock contributes to food security, including economic factors that affect the choice of foods, and the stability of livestock food supplies. The second section examines the contribution of livestock as a source of food in each population group, and the last part of the report looks to future prospects for producing enough food in the context of risks such as water shortages. It concludes that careful management of livestock food systems will be key in building a stable livestock food supply to meet future needs.
Source: Centre for Global Development | September 2011
This report outlines how ICT (information and communications technology) could facilitate the adoption of agricultural technologies that can contribute to improving crop yields in developing countries.
It reviews existing agricultural extension services — programmes that deliver information to farmers — which use ICT, categorised by the type of services and how they are provided (by text, for example, or the Internet). The report concludes that although these programs are innovative, implementing them remains a challenge and evidence of their impact is limited. It is not yet clear that ICT-based services will replace existing agricultural extension systems, and there is a risk that they will become unsustainable — a fad with limited impact on the lives of the poor. The report suggests evaluating pilot programmes using rigorous methods, and says that future efforts should calculate demand and cost-effectiveness, and identify information best suited to such programmes.
Source: High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security | July 2011
This report, written by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, and commissioned by the UN Committee on Food Security (CFS), sets out to explore different causes and consequences of food price volatility, including how vulnerable populations can ensure access to food in times of food insecurity.
The report is set out in five sections. The first outlines the causes of recent food price variations, one of which suggests these variations may signal lasting scarcities in the agricultural sector. The second section presents key policy recommendations to address price volatility and its consequences for food security, including coordination of national storage policies and limiting the growth of demand for agricultural products in developing countries.
The third part of the report discusses how international food price rises have been reflected in domestic prices in developing countries. The fourth section outlines policy recommendations at the national level, stressing that these must be adapted to the local context, and the report concludes by discussing the role of the CFS in relation to price volatility and food security.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | October 2011
This year's edition of the report focuses on the costs of food price volatility, as well as the dangers and opportunities that high food prices present to poor countries. It outlines how food price volatility affects food security, offers policy options to reduce volatility cost-effectively, and suggests how countries can manage cost increases when they cannot be avoided.
A key message of the report is that increases in food prices are set to continue. The authors pinpoint contributing factors such as climate change-related increases in the frequency of extreme weather events, and stronger linkages between energy and agricultural markets because of growing demand for biofuels.
One of the key points made in the report is that large countries were able to insulate themselves from the crisis, but small countries dependent on imports, especially in Africa, were hard hit. Others include the importance of safety-net mechanisms for alleviating the impacts of food insecurity and laying the foundations for development, and that high food prices offer incentives for improving food security in the long term by increasing investment in agriculture.
Source: Climate Change Adaptation and Development Initiative (CC DARE), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
This paper suggests that research-based, small-scale interventions that help farming systems adapt to climate change can guide progress towards achieving food security and addressing the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
It outlines lessons learnt from the Climate Change Adaptation and Development Programme jointly implemented by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Development Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The authors argue for a shift away from top-down, corporate approaches to agricultural research and practice, in favour of a democratic approach that involves giving more decision-making power to local people, including farmers and indigenous people. Small-scale initiatives reduce tillage, protect the soil surface and alternate cereal crops with legumes that enrich the soil.
The paper suggests that communicating food security solutions to the public can help balance vested interests and level the field in favour of small producers. Managed effectively, the current drought in the Horn of Africa offers a window of opportunity to re-establish food security as a global priority.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | June 2011 (regularly updated)
This report, published by the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, reviews developments about the food situation in developing countries, particularly Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs). It is published four times a year, with the earliest available on the website dating back to 2006.
Each report contains a review by geographic region, with a section dedicated specifically to LIFDCs and a list of countries requiring external assistance for food. It also contains a global overview of cereal supply and demand, major issues that have arisen since the previous report, a thorough report on LIFDCs and a statistical index that includes cereal supply and demand indicators, as well as international prices of wheat and grain.
The report is available in English, French, Spanish and Chinese.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | September 2011
This report presents two case-studies that illustrate problems arising from subsidising fertiliser and electricity for groundwater irrigation in India — a policy put in place in the 1960s to boost food production and food security. It aims to analyse why subsequent reforms of these policies have done little to resolve economic and environmental problems; identify reforms that could prove successful; and outline political processes that could help achieve them.
Using India's experience, it highlights political challenges of using subsidy policies that could also be relevant to other countries.
This analysis is based on a literature review and interviews with stakeholders. The report also presents the conceptual framework, and gives an overview of fertiliser policy in India: how it has evolved, the stakeholders involved in the political process, and the policy implications of subsidy reform. Case-studies of electricity supply in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab are used to demonstrate policy reform feasibility.
The report concludes that for both electricity supply and fertiliser policies, various reforms could be adopted that are unlikely to face significant political obstacles. It argues that experimental and research-based knowledge could be used more effectively.