The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released the 2017 Global Food Policy Report. It reviews the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2016, and highlights challenges and opportunities for 2017 at both global and regional levels. This year’s report looks at the impact of rapid urban growth on food security and nutrition while considering how food systems can be transformed to improve the future.
According to IFPRI, rapid urbanization and population growth are expected to put growing pressure on the global food system, which changes how countries must achieve the United Nation’s (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending hunger, achieving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture.
A 2014 U.N. report states that by 2050, 66 percent of the population is projected to live in urban areas, bringing extra stress to agricultural production from things like environmental degradation, extreme weather conditions, and a lack of land to use for crops and livestock. Most of this urbanization will occur in developing countries, where some of the world’s largest cities are already found.
The 2017 Global Food Policy Report also presents data tables and visualizations for several key food policy indicators per country such as agricultural spending and research investment, projections for future agricultural production needs, and the current state of civilian hunger. The report asserts that the world must move forward with its commitments on the SDGs by strengthening the ties between rural and urban areas to end hunger and malnutrition.
The full report is broken up into chapters that highlight global food policies and investigates the impact of rapid urbanization on local and global food systems. Each one can be explored here. Together these chapters provide an overview of what we know about urbanization, food security, and nutrition and point to some of the most vital research and data needs.
A regional section in the report also expands upon food security in different areas around the globe. Most importantly, IFPRI suggests some policy changes countries and global leaders can implement to improve food security in the future.
In addition to detailed figures, tables, and a timeline of important food policy events in 2016, the report includes the results of a global survey on urbanization and the current state of food policy. More than 1,300 individuals representing more than 100 countries responded to the 2017 Global Food Policy Report’s survey. Seventy-three percent of respondents think the expansion of cities and urban populations will make it harder to ensure that everyone gets enough nutritious food to eat, and 60 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with both global food policies and progress in global food and nutrition security.
In the preface of the report, Shenggen Fan, Director General, explains IFPRI’s goals for this publication: “I hope this report is met with interest not only by policy makers who shape the food policy agenda, but also by business, civil society, and media, who all have a stake in food policies that benefit the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”