FAO Plans Broad Reforms For World Food Security Committee

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) agreed Tuesday to “wide-ranging” reforms in an effort to make the committee the most “comprehensive international and intergovernmental platform dealing with food security and nutrition,” Xinhua reports (10/20). “The CFS reforms are designed to focus the Committee’s vision and role on the global coordination of efforts to eliminate hunger and ensure food security for all,” according to an FAO press release (10/20).

With the reforms, CFS plans to expand to include U.N. organizations that already deal with food security issues, such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Program (WFP) and the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, Xinhua writes. “The CFS will also include other international organizations, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and private sector associations, FAO said. Another important part of the reform is that the CFS will receive advice from a high-level panel of experts on food security and nutrition to ensure a scientific basis for solutions to hunger,” according to the news service.

FAO Assistant Director-General Hafez Ghanem said, “The CFS reform shows that the international community is committed to pay more attention to the elimination of hunger and poverty” (10/20). 

Additional Investment In Agriculture Needed In Developing World, FAO Official Says

At the 121st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the FAO, said additional investment in agriculture is needed to address food insecurity in developing countries, VOA News reports. “As of July … Diouf, says 30 countries were in a situation of grave food crisis, requiring emergency assistance. He says 20 of them are in Africa and 10 in Asia and the Near East. … ‘This year’s increase in hunger is not the result of poor harvests or a shortfall in supplies, but rather is caused by the economic crisis which has reduced the incomes and job opportunities for the poor,’ he said,” the news service writes.

“If people go hungry today it is not because the world is not producing enough food but because it is not produced in the countries where 70 percent of the world’s poor live and whose livelihoods depend on farming activities. The challenge is not only to ensure food security for the one billion hungry people today … but also to be able to feed a world population that is expected to reach 9.1 billion in 2050,” said Diouf (Schlein, 10/20). 

New Report Calls For Science To Help Prevent World Hunger 

The BBC reports on a new Royal Society report, “Reaping the Benefits: Science and the Sustainable Intensification of Global Agriculture,” which finds that “science has to have a significant role if the food supply is to be maintained in 2050, when the world population may have reached nine billion.”

“We need to take action now to stave off food shortages,” lead author David Baulcombe, of Cambridge University, said. The report recommends that the U.K. invest about $3.3 billion in crop research to prevent hunger. “Approaches it endorses include genetic modification, improved irrigation and systems of growing crops together that reduce the impact of diseases,” the BBC writes (Black, 10/21).

In a Royal Society press release, Baulcombe said, “It’s unmistakable that scientific development holds the key to ensuring future food security. The Green Revolution was built on decades of substantial global investment in agricultural research and if we are to overcome the challenge that now lies before us, we will need an even greater agricultural revolution” (10/21). 

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