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Global Agenda Council on Food Security 2013

economic forumWith continuing population growth, rising energy demand and the impact of climate change, the water-food-energy nexus, particularly in Africa, has come to be of central concern to the world community. Added to this is a complex mix of interconnected challenges, such as rapid urbanization and growing natural resource constraints, which have made global food and nutrition security more difficult to achieve.

By 2050, when the global population is projected to surpass 9 billion people, the demand for agricultural products will double. Yet, agricultural systems are already stretched to their limits by constraints on water, volatile weather patterns and price volatility, raising the risk of production shortfalls. In fact, the price volatility that has existed across the global  economy since 2007is likely to intensify, constricting global food supplies. In addition, the increased frequency of natural disasters and additional challenges posed by climate change will further threaten the resilience of production systems and smallholder farmers.

A silo approach to sustainable development is, therefore, counterproductive. Despite the fact that trade-offs exist between environmental sustainability and food productivity, it is important to develop complementary solutions to reduce pressure on the already stressed natural resource base and local livelihoods. Innovative agricultural practices combining different goals, for example substantial productivity gains, smallholder income increases and sustainability, are essential to provide adaptive buffers. However, this requires a significant level of collaboration among stakeholders along the agricultural value chain, including governments, companies, multilateral and civil society organizations, farmers, consumers and entrepreneurs.

Did You Know?

• The global food and economic crises have driven tens of millions of additional people into food insecurity, now exceeding 1 billion hungry. Shortfalls and volatility in global food supplies and prices will likely intensify due to rising demand for food, energy, increased costs of production and
intensified climate change. In the next 20 years, farmers will need to increase production on aggregate by 70%-100% and reduce post-harvest loss.
• In the coming decades, while warming  may extend the frontier of agriculture in higher latitude areas (both northern and southern hemispheres), it is projected that agricultural systems will have to cope with new temperature, humidity and water stress, making the need to increase
efficiency of land and water use even more critical.


“The global food system has become very vulnerable due to both natural shocks and man-made shocks. We need to build and strengthen resilience and we can leverage the Council on Food Security to influence thought processes and develop concrete action plans.”

Shenggen Fan, Director-General International Food Policy Research Institute

“What makes this Council special is that we engage the perspectives of leaders from business, governments, the research community, farmer leaders and international organizations to integrate solutions towards achieving global food security.”

David Nabarro, United Nations Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2