The impacts of bioenergy on Food Security have been highly debated. FAO’s Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI) project is currently developing a set of criteria, indicators, good practices and policy options on sustainable bioenergy production that safeguards and, if possible, fosters food security. We welcome comments and inputs on a set of “core” indicators that governments could use (on a voluntary basis) to monitor the impacts of modern bioenergy production on the four dimensions of food security.
Responses to food insecurity and malnutrition in emergencies have expanded dramatically in the past 5-10 years and improved needs assessment has increased willingness of donors to fund new alternatives to general food distribution and targeted feeding programs. However, the analytical process required to make intelligent choices among these new options has not always kept up. How can this process be improved?
The aim of this discussion is to gather feedback on which food and nutrition security indicators are being used and on the successes and challenges that the food and nutrition community is encountering when working with these indicators.
The Cost of Hunger in Africa (CoHA): The Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition in Malawi report shows that the country loses significant sums of money each year as a result of child undernutrition through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens to the education system and lower productivity by its workforce. It estimates that child undernutrition cost Malawi 10.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2012 (most recent year with complete data).
The 12-country, government-led study is commissioned by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s Planning and Coordinating Agency and supported by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the UN World Food Programme. The study's model estimates the additional cases of illness, death, school repetitions, school dropouts, and reduced physical productivity directly associated with those suffering undernutrition before the age of five. Based on data from each country, the model then estimates the associated economic losses incurred by the economy in terms of health, education, and potential productivity in a single year. So far, it has been conducted in six countries in Africa including Malawi.
Some key findings to emerge from the study in Malawi reveal that:
Overall, the Cost of Hunger in Africa study serves as an important tool to show how undernutrition is not just a health issue, but an economic and social one as well that requires multi-sectoral commitment and investment. It reinforces the critical need to prioritize nutrition in the national development agenda.