With the price of basic food items on the rise, global policymakers are again faced with the need to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations. Women and young children tend to be most negatively impacted by sharp increases in the price of food. However, while extensive research has been conducted on the causes and consequences of the 2007-08 food price crisis, little of that research has focused specifically on the impact of the crisis on women, and whether the impact differs for women compared to men.

FEWS NET has released the Global Price Watch for November 2011, citing a slight decline in global wheat and maize prices. On the other hand, global rice prices increased slightly due to a decline in Thai exports and floods in Southeast Asia.

Prices in East Asia fell in some surplus-producing areas, as well as areas in the Horn of Africa that continue to receive significant international assistance. Grain supplies are constrained in West Africa due to delayed harvests; this constrain has delayed the seasonal price decreases in that reason.

The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change has released a report for policymakers titled "Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change." According to the report, global food security is constrained by three factors: the quantity of food that can be produced in a given climate; the quantity of food needed by a growing global population; and the effect of food production on the climate. Operating within this "safe space" will ensure food security in the coming years.

GIEW has released its Global Food Price Monitor for November, 2011. The report cites a drop in the FAO Food Price Index to an 11-month low in October, based on sharp decreases in the price of all commodities covered by the report except for rice. Rice prices remained firm in October but did not increase despite Thailand's new price procurement policy and flooding in Southeast Asia.

In addition, cereals prices in East Africa also declined, but remain well above 2010 levels.

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On Friday November 4, G20 leaders issued a Cannes Summit Final Declaration, wrapping up the 2011 G20 Summit. Among the issues addressed at this year's summit was the challenge posed by food price volatility and its impact on global food security, as well as the need to create an international emergency humanitarian food reserve system.

FAO GIEWS released today the November 2011 Final Food Outlook, a comprehensive analysis of the global agricultural market situation. According to the report, the outlook for the agricultural commodities markets remains difficult to predict; despite improved supply prospects and weakening demand for several important commodities, volatile prices and the uncertain global economic situation continue to play a part in high food prices.

FEWS NET has released the latest global price watch, citing declining food prices in Central America, Haiti, and West Africa. Despite ongoing harvests in Kenya, Somalia, and other regions in the Horn of Africa, the region continues to experience extremely high prices. Meanwhile, conflict in Sudan and South Sudan is threatening food security in the area, as are trade restrictions and poor harvest predictions.

In a long-awaited move, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission on October 18 approved limits on trading in the commodities markets. Specifically, the new rules limit the number of commodity contracts that any investor can hold in agriculture, energy, or metals contracts.

The ongoing crisis in the Horn of Africa has shown that the challenge of food insecurity is alive and well. The 2011 G20 meetings have paid particular attention to the issues of high food prices, food price volatility, and food insecurity. G20 leaders have involved leading international institutions, such as the FAO, IFAD, WFP, and IFPRI, and have established several action plans to address these important issues.

GIEWS has released the latest Global Food Price Monitor, citing a decline in the FAO Food Price Index for the third straight month. International grains prices fell in September, while the price of rice rose on the global market. Eastern Africa continues to experience cereal prices that are two to four times higher than they were this time last year.

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