The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has just released its 2011 Global Food Policy Report, the first in a new annual series looking at the state of food policy around the globe. The report highlights important developments and events in food policy that occurred in 2011, discusses lessons learned, offers policy recommendations, and takes a look forward into 2012. Food price volatility and nutrition figured prominently in the publication as well as during the launch event, at which Kathy Spahn of Helen Keller International spoke on nutrition in early childhood development.
Looking ahead, the report calls for capitalizing on the links between agriculture and other sectors, including health, nutrition, water and energy. More immediately, it recommends that the G20 take steps to curb food price volatility and that the international community strengthen institutions and build capacity for implementing agricultural growth and development strategies. The report calls for participants in the upcoming Rio+20 conference to integrate economic, social, and environmental sustainability efforts and commit to concrete action to meet the long-term challenges of development, including poor nutrition, degraded soils and scarce water. Overall, the report was optimistic about the increased attention given to agriculture and food security in the development and political agendas, but found much room for action and improvement in the year ahead.