As the 2012 G20 Summit begins today in Los Cabos, Mexico, governments and institutions around the world are urging G20 leaders to focus on food security and nutrition. According to IFPRI's 2011 Global Hunger Index, hunger remains a devastating problem in many areas of the world: more than 50 countries are experiencing "extremely alarming," "alarming," or "serious" levels of hunger.

A press statement from IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan highlights the challenges to global food security and the actions needed by G20 leaders. Global population growth, rising incomes and a growing global middle class, high and volatile food prices, and the effects of climate change make ensuring food security a complex task; these challenges are further complicated by the fact that development aid fell by 3 percent from 2010 to 2011, the first such decrease in 15 years.

The press release urges G20 leaders to focus on both food prices and agricultural productivity, as well as on financial reforms to ensure a fair, transparent global market. IFPRI's recommendations for the G20 include:

  • Speed up progress on action-plan items from previous G20 meetings and develop clear accountability indicators
  • Keep food and nutrition security at the top of the agenda of current and future G20 meetings
  • Invest in agricultural research and development and improve farmers’ access to improved seeds and fertilizer
  • Improve information to better prioritize needed investment to increase sustainable agricultural productivity
  • Avoid excessive market speculation by providing more timely, accurate information on food prices, stocks and production
  • Increase the availability of weather information to improve the capacity of appropriate early warning mechanisms to climate shocks and to increase the availability of weather index insurance suppliers
  • Enable a positive environment in which to increase and link private and public investments in agriculture and encourage mutual accountability between governments, the public and private sectors, and civil society

Keep tracking the G20 discussion with the Road to the G20 feature on the Food Security Portal homepage.

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