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Global Perspectives Studies

FAO’s work on Global Perspectives Studies (GPS) investigates how food and agriculture may develop in the long term within the broader economy-wide and social development context.

It aims to inform debates and decision-making processes to achieve permanent and universal food and nutrition security and sustainable development. It helps member countries, regions and the global community to shape sustainable development strategies and policies.

Why build long-term scenarios for food and agriculture?

Permanent and universal food and nutrition security. The achievement of permanent and universal food and nutrition security in the future relies on the availability of adequate, safe and nutritious food and the possibility for all to access and utilize it. This requires implementing long-term, inclusive socio-economic systems that ensure adequate earning opportunities for all, within which sustainable food systems can develop.

Anticipated evidence for decision-making. The realization of inclusive and sustainable food systems that ensure permanent and universal food and nutrition security requires appropriate strategies, policies and programmes. Building and analysing long-term scenarios for food and agriculture provides anticipated evidence for decision-makers and other stakeholders on alternative options for achieving these desired developmental objectives.

Development challenges ahead. The analysis of long-term, forward-looking scenarios is particularly important in view of the challenges we face today. Population growth and shifts to more protein-rich diets and bioenergy push up global agricultural demand, while human-induced climate change puts further stress on already constrained land and water resources, jeopardizing production potential. In addition, rising income inequalities may hamper earning opportunities and access to food. Long-term scenarios help to assess and address these challenges to ensure permanent and universal food and nutrition security. 

FAO’s findings in Global Perspective Studies

FAO has carried out long-term analyses of global food production and consumption since the early 1960s. Popular publications include the series World Agriculture: towards 20XX.

How can we achieve FAO’s original vision of a world free from hunger and malnutrition?

The report sheds some light on the nature of the challenges that agriculture and food systems are facing now and throughout the 21st century, and provides some insights as to what is at stake and what needs to be done. What emerges is that “business as usual” is no longer an option but calls for major transformations in agricultural systems, in rural economies and in how we manage our natural resources.