By the DuPont Advisory Committee on Agriculture Innovation and Productivity
Special to Roll Call
July 12, 2012, Midnight
“In a world of plenty, no one — not a single person — should go hungry.”
That was the message United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shared with more than 40,000 people at last month’s Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.
At a time when 1.4 billion women, men and children continue to live in extreme poverty and 1 billion suffer from hunger, global leaders came together to address food and nutrition security and to renew their commitment to sustainable development around the world.
As part of this commitment, the secretary-general announced the conference’s most notable deliverable — a Zero Hunger Challenge, inviting all of us to work toward a future without hunger. Mirroring the successful Hunger Zero strategy in Brazil, the initiative aligns with the need for greater collaboration and new partnerships to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.
On July 10, the Economist Intelligence Unit (which has the same parent company as Roll Call) launched a Global Food Security Index, sponsored by DuPont, which is an example of this type of collaboration.
Meeting the Zero Hunger Challenge will require indentifying where we need food most and the barriers to getting food to people in those regions. But, importantly, we first need a common set of metrics that can define global food security. With the appropriate metrics, we can establish a baseline from which to determine the gaps in meeting growing food demands.
The Global Food Security Index is a dynamic resource that will enable the global community to better respond to world hunger by establishing a common framework of food security indicators.
As we look to innovative solutions to feed a growing population, there are many unknowns. What are the barriers to getting smallholder farmers to markets? Where should governments prioritize their resources? How should companies engage in emerging markets to empower smallholder farmers most effectively? Building on other indices and benefiting from the input of global experts in food security, the index is intended to provide answers to these and other questions.
For 105 countries, the index will measure food security based on 25 indicators across three areas that are key to a sustainable food system: affordability, availability and nutritional quality and food safety. The index’s country-by-country measures range from farmer financing to political stability to nutritional standards. Unique to this index, all of its indicators represent inputs that affect a country’s ability to address the many issues surrounding food and nutrition security, as compared to similar tools that might only measure outputs, such as rates of hunger and malnutrition or infant mortality.
Additionally, a price adjustment factor will update the index each month to reflect any changes in food prices — an indicator that has proved to hinder the access and availability of food in emerging markets.
Through the index, governments, private and public sectors, the development community, research institutions, policymakers and nongovernmental organizations alike will have a new tool that will inspire collective action. By sharing lessons learned, we can improve global food and nutrition security exponentially, while developing country-specific solutions to local challenges.