Synthesis of the technical background documents
"Approaching the third millennium, the world still faces a crucial challenge to the most basic human right - freedom from hunger."
Dr Jacques Diouf
1. Food, agriculture and food security: developments since the World Food Conference and prospects
2. Success stories in food security
3. Socio-political and economic environment for food security
4. Food requirements and population growth
5. Food security and nutrition
6. Lessons from the green revolution: towards a new green revolution
7. Food production: the critical role of water
8. Food for consumers: marketing, processing and distribution
9. Role of research in global food security and agricultural development
10. Investment in agriculture: evolution and prospects
11. Food production and environmental impact
12. Food and international trade
13. Food security and food assistance
14. Assessment of feasible progress in food security
15. Technical atlas
This book contains the collection of executive summaries of the technical background documents prepared for the World Food Summit.
The technical background document series opens by providing an overview of developments in food and agriculture that have taken place at the global and regional levels since the World Food Conference of 1974 and looks ahead to the year 2010, when food insecurity is expected to be reduced only marginally unless extraordinary efforts are agreed upon at the World Food Summit and implemented. Sustainable agricultural development, including the livestock sector and the essential contributions of forests and fisheries, is of the utmost importance for world food security, both to ensure growing supplies at affordable prices and as the main source of progress for the rural poor (document 1, Food, agriculture and food security: developments since the World Food Conference and prospects). A sample of country experiences in improving food security over the past decades is supplied, displaying the variety of situations and policies that have proved successful, under the common thrust of equitable economic growth with anti-poverty and food assistance measures attuned to the circumstances of each countrys pattern of food insecurity (document 2, Success stories in food security).
Food security is dependent upon a conditioning context that has political, social and economic dimensions at the national, regional and global levels. Since the 1974 World Food Conference, the conditions for world food security have changed profoundly and this is the subject of document 3, Socio-political and economic environment for food security. The paper underlines the dramatic importance of peace and the destructive power of macroeconomic instability, and it identifies poverty as the root cause of food insecurity. Document 4, Food requirements and population growth, investigates the prospects that derive from population growth, examined in a long-term perspective (to 2050) when stabilization of world population may be within reach, and links them with the variety of food consumption patterns, and the changes therein, to provide a vision of the demands on the earths resources, and on human inventiveness and sense of responsibility, that future food requirements are placing in front of todays and tomorrows decision-makers. The precise examination of what food insecurity implies, in terms not only of average daily dietary energy supply (DES) but also of the various forms of malnutrition that plague individuals and deprive them of physical and intellectual integrity, is the subject of document 5, Food security and nutrition. This paper analyses the mechanisms in society through which special groups, especially women and children, are affected and underlines how malnutrition at particular times can have lasting effects. It reviews the range of policies, from macroeconomics to agriculture and from food policy and social services to nutrition education, that command the conditions for progress in nutrition, especially for the vulnerable. The critical role of women as producers and providers of food is forcefully underlined in this and the other technical background documents.
Document 6, Lessons from the green revolution: towards a new green revolution, ushers in a group of technical documents more directly concerned with technological, social and policy advances needed to realize the full potential role of the food and agriculture sector in fighting food insecurity. The role of agriculture in feeding a growing population, reducing poverty by improving the fate of the many rural poor and preserving for the next and future generations the capacity of land, water and biotic resources to continue supporting their life is unquestionable. Lessons learned from earlier experience show that a new green revolution is now called for, where the equal importance of social and technical determinants of agricultural progress is taken into account. Moreover, the scope of progress reaches all segments of the agricultural sector, particularly and this must be underlined because it was neglected in the past the poor farmers. Among increasingly scarce natural resources, water (document 7, Food production: the critical role of water) is becoming a constraining factor in agricultural production and in sustaining life in urban and rural areas. While the mobilization of untapped water resources must be advanced, particularly in Africa where the sub-Saharan region has lagged far behind, the gains from more effective water management in rain-fed and irrigated areas are considerable, using low-investment but effective water-control techniques that bring sustainable improvements in productivity and stabilization of erratic food production within the reach of most.
At the same time, food is of no value to anyone if it is not made available at affordable prices, at the proper time and place and in the desired processed form to the final consumer. The lesson learned from experiences across the world in managing the critical food chain economically from the producer to the consumer, including on-farm processing and storage, is the subject of document 8, Food for consumers: marketing, processing and distribution. The worrying trend in agricultural research towards declining investments over the past decade, at both the national and international levels and in developed and developing countries alike, is scrutinized in document 9, Role of research in global food security and agricultural development. The document spells out the main direction for the next generations research agenda starting now and the necessary institutional and financial requirements. The risk that past gains in research might be left to erode cannot be tolerated in view of the global food security challenge.
The recent decline of investment in agriculture (broadly defined) and related infrastructure as well as in the downstream sectors has been general. This trend must be reversed if there is to be real progress towards achieving a higher level of world food security (document 10, Investment in agriculture: evolution and prospects). While the largest share of investment must be met from private sources, and is therefore contingent upon the pursuance of enabling policies, substantial investment in infrastructure and human development in the rural areas is essential and a priority domain for public efforts. Past progress in world food supplies has been attained at a high cost to the environment land, water, forests, fish resources and biological diversity. Document 11, Food production and environmental impact, reviews the policy, technological, institutional and social processes that influence how natural resources are used, the importance of biological diversity and the central role of women in agrarian societies. It analyses the changing role of governments as they seek to reduce policy distortions and promote environmentally sound management, and it emphasizes the linkages between the environmental, economic and social dimensions of food security.
Trade (document 12, Food and international trade) enables countries to reduce pressures for increased food production where natural conditions make it unsustainable by exchanging supplies with better-endowed areas. Indeed trade, within and across borders, is vital to food security. The new trading system emerging from the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations bears promise of easier and fairer international exchange. The adjustment of domestic policies and economic systems to a growingly globalized economy, however, has a potential for significant social costs, and its impact on food security must be carefully monitored and acted upon. Indeed, food insecurity will continue to persist even if, as is hoped, the number of those who are hungry decreases over the next generation (document 13, Food security and food assistance). The hungry cannot wait for the promises of poverty alleviation policies to give them the food and strength they need now to take care of themselves. Food assistance is required at any moment for those in need, the chronically undernourished, women and children at critical times of their lives and people threatened by natural and man-made disasters. National solidarity complemented, where circumstances require and permit, by international aid is the last, but indispensable, resort for saving and enhancing lives.
What are realistic targets for achieving world food security? Eradication of hunger within one generation is an ambitious goal; the intermediate step, which could be reached in 2010, is analysed in document 14, Assessment of feasible progress in food security. This concluding paper synthesizes the policy implications that derive from the facts and experiences assembled in the technical background documents. It aims to provide a background for the Plan of Action through which heads of State and government can concretely express their commitment to reaching world food security as an outcome of the World Food Summit.
Document 15, the Technical atlas, completes the series, illustrating selected topics that are addressed in the technical background documents in the form of world maps. This collection of maps gives a visual representation of important dimensions and determinants of food insecurity on the eve of the twenty-first century.
The World Food Summit technical background documents (TBDs) have been prepared by FAO staff and other specialists from the international scientific community, taking particular care to draw on the many disciplines relevant to each technical topic covered. The documents have benefited from exchanges with a large number of in-house and outside experts through a review process that has drawn on centres of excellence in all regions of the world. FAO acknowledges with particular gratitude the collaboration extended in this effort by its partner international institutions, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Several of these organizations have also prepared their own papers as a contribution towards the momentum of the World Food Summit.
The preparation of the papers has involved, as authors and contributors of the final documents or of preparatory studies or drafts: N.A. Alexandratos, FAO Economic and Social Department (ESD); M. Allaya, International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies; S.W. Bie, FAO Research, Extension and Training Division (SDR); E.M. Bridges, Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands; A.A. Buainain, Campinas University, Brazil; M. Chisva, University of Zimbabwe; P. Collomb, Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography (CICRED); J. du Guerny, FAO Women and Population Division (SDWP); L.O. Fresco, Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands; J. Greenfield, FAO Commodities and Trade Division (ESC); A.A. Gürkan, FAO/ESC; T.S. Jayne, Michigan State University, United States; A. Kandiah, FAO Land and Water Development Division (AGL); H. Kasnakoglu, Middle East Technical University, Turkey; W. Klohn, FAO/AGL; J.Y. Lin, Beijing University, China; A. Matthews, Trinity College, Ireland; M.M. Mamba, FAO/ESC; C.D. Phiri, FAO Agriculture and Economic Development Analysis Division (ESA); N.S. Randhawa, India; T. Reardon, Michigan State University, United States; E. Rossmiller, FAO/ESA; L. Rubey, Michigan State University, United States; K. Savadogo, Burkina Faso; R. Schürmann, FAO Investment Centre Division (TCI); A.W. Shepherd, FAO Agricultural Support Systems Division (AGS); Ir M.H.C.W. Starren, Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands; D. Tschirley, Mozambique; J. Tschirley, FAO/SDR; J. von Braun, Kiel University, Germany; M.T. Weber and B. Weisel, Michigan State University, United States; T.K. White, FAO/ESA; H. Wolter, FAO/AGL; members of the Environmentally Sustainable Development, Agriculture, Research and Extension Group (ESDAR), World Bank; and members of the CGIAR Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Secretariat (SDRC).
Coordination on behalf of the collaborating agencies, guidance, advice and inputs have been supplied by H. Alderman, World Bank; D. Alnwick, UNICEF; A. Ayoub, UNEP; M. Beaudry, UNICEF; R. Bedouin, FAO/ESA; H. Binswanger, World Bank; J. Bruinsma, FAO/ESD; the late I. Carruthers, Wye College, University of London, United Kingdom; H. Carsalade, FAO Sustainable Development Department (SD); J.P. Cotier, FAO Food and Nutrition Division (ESN); J. Csete, UNICEF; U. Dabholkar, UNEP; H. de Haen, FAO Economic and Social Department (ES); M. de Onís, WHO; T. Feldbrügge, Kiel University, Germany; M. Flach, FAO expert; A. Gebre-Michael, FAO/ESA; D. Hillel, University of Massachusetts, United States; S. Hocombe, FAO/TCI; B. Huddleston, FAO/ESA; M. Immink, FAO consultant; J.C. Legoupil, Coordination Régionale pour lAfrique (CORAF); J. Lupien, FAO/ESN; J. McGuire, World Bank; C. Nishida, WHO; M. Rosegrant, IFPRI; M. Satin, FAO/AGS; N. Scialabba, FAO/SDR; R.B. Singh, FAO/AGL; K. Stamoulis, FAO/ESA; J. Stoutjesdijk, FAO consultant; M.S. Swaminathan, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, India; B. Thompson, FAO/ESN; and V. Timon, FAO/SDRC.
External review, advice and suggestions at various stages of the process have been received from A. Adepoju, African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP); E. Alves, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA); K. Anderson, University of Adelaide, Australia; H.L. Angeles, Central Luzon State University, the Philippines; S. Aziz, Pakistan; R. Barker, IIMI; R. Bautista, IFPRI; A. Beattie, Natural Resources Institute, United Kingdom; A. Beshai, American University, Cairo, Egypt; J. Bongaarts, Population Council; R. Booth, International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA); N.E. Borlaug, International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT); E. Boserup, United Nations Population Division; L. Brader, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); L. Brown, Worldwatch Institute; P. Bukman, Member of Parliament, the Netherlands; J. Chamie, United Nations Population Division; C. Chen, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, China; M. Cohen, Bread for the World, United States; R. Cummings, United States Agency for International Development (USAID); A. Duncan, Food Studies Group, Oxford University, United Kingdom; T. Dyson, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom; C. Eicher, Michigan State University, United States; A. El-Beltagy, ICARDA; A. Eryilmaz, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Turkey; S. Fisher, International Monetary Fund (IMF); F. Gendreau, CICRED; M.G. Ghersi, Laval University, Canada; C. Gopalan, Nutrition Foundation, India; M. Griffon, Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD); L. Haddad and P. Hazell, IFPRI; R.D. Hochleitner, Club of Rome; J. Howell, Overseas Development Institute, United Kingdom; S.S. Harris, International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI); G. Hawtin, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI); A.N. Hersi, Islamic Development Bank; T. Jaouadi, Tunisia; A. Jorgensen-Dahl, UNFPA; T. Josling, Stanford University, United States; G.M. Karissa, African Development Bank; M. Kassas, University of Cairo, Egypt; R. Kerr and colleagues, World Vision International; M. Keyzer, Centre for World Food Studies, the Netherlands; A. Khalifa, UNFPA; A. Khan, International Labour Organisation (ILO); R. Leemans, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, the Netherlands; K. Leisinger, Switzerland; V. Lim, National Agriculture and Food Council, the Philippines; M. Lipton, School of African and Asian Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom; B. Livernash, World Resources Institute (WRI) and IFPRI; A. McCalla, World Bank; D. MacLaren, Caritas Internationalis; P.J. Mahler, France; L. Marovatsanga, University of Zimbabwe; J. Mora, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica; Y. Mundlak, University of Jerusalem, Israel; N. Myers, United Kingdom; S. Nasser, University of Cairo, Egypt; D. Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso; R. Paarlberg, Harvard University, United States; A. Palloni, University of Wisconsin, United States; K. Parikh, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, India; D. Pascua, National Irrigation Administration, the Philippines; M. Piñeiro, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA); P. Pinstrup-Andersen, IFPRI; B. Popkin, Carolina Population Center, United States; T. Preston, University of Agriculture and Forestry, Viet Nam; V. Quinn, UNICEF, Ghana; M. Rai, Indian Council of Agricultural Research; M.S. Rao, University of Adelaide, Australia; S. Rao, UNFPA; F. Recalde, Instituto de Cooperación al Desarrollo (ICD Foundation); T.G. Reeves, CIMMYT; C. Robinson, Christian Aid, United Kingdom; S.N. Saigal, formerly IFAD; P.A. Sanchez, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF); G. Scott, International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru; D. Seckler, IIMI; A. Siamwalla, Thai Development Research Institute, Thailand; H. Singer, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom; V. Smil, University of Manitoba, Canada; W.G. Sombroek, International Soil Reference and Information Centre, Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands; D. Spearman, WFP; D. Steeds, World Bank; R. Tuiràn, National Population Council, Mexico; R. Uauy Dagach, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, Chile; N. Uphoff and colleagues at Cornell University, United States; A. Valyasevi, Thammasat University, Thailand; G. Viatte, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); F. Vio, University of Chile; P. Webb, WFP; M.B. Weinberger, United Nations Population Division; D. Winkleman, TAC/CGIAR; F. Wolter, WTO; P.A. Yotopoulos, Stanford University, United States; J. Zaini, Consumers International, Malaysia; K. Zelenka, Caritas Internationalis.
In addition, review and comments were also kindly supplied by the following institutions: the Centre for World Food Studies, the Netherlands; the Focus on the Global South, Thailand; the International Agricultural Centre, Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands; the Southeast Asian NGO Liaison Committee on Food Security and Trade, the Philippines; the Union of Fertilizer Producers, the Netherlands; the World Meteorological Organization (WMO); and several FAO Member Governments.
The whole process has been monitored by a Reading Committee, mandated to supervise the consistency and quality criteria of the series, comprising the following FAO staff: T. Aldington, Agriculture Department (AG), vice-Chairperson; E. Boutrif and S. Cowan, Secretariat, World Food Summit (SWFS); G. Gordillo de Anda and J. Tschirley, Sustainable Development Department (SD); D. Insull, Fisheries Department (FI); L. Trossero and L. Lintu, Forestry Department (FO); F. Viciani, F. Bishay and K. Lopez-Ramirez, Technical Cooperation Department (TC); and J. Vercueil, Economic and Social Department (ES), Chairperson. J.P. Cortez, V.L. Crowder, G.V. Everett, E.W. Hein, M. Hotta, P. Howard-Borjas, C. Leendertse, M.G. Quieti, J. Rowell, R. Schurmann and U. Wijkstrom have also taken part in the Committee work. A. Small (SWFS) has edited and monitored the production of the series.
The contribution of the staff of FAOs Department of General Affairs and Information (especially the editorial, translation, layout, graphics and printing staff in the Information Division and the Conference, Council and Protocol Affairs Division), of the Statistics Division and of the Geographic Information System Group of the Research and Technology Development Service, and of secretarial and support staff from many branches of the Organization, to the production of the technical documents and atlas has been invaluable and is warmly recognized.
The exact attribution of authorship and other forms of collaboration is provided with each of the individual papers. While gratefully acknowledging the essential contributions received from external partners, the Secretariat takes responsibility for the content of the series.