Simultaneous geopolitical, economic and climate crises are fueling food shortages around the world – and also risk pushing the issue on the back burner. But the failure of policymakers to address growing hunger and build a more sustainable and equitable food system will invite even greater catastrophe.
In this big picturethe University of Munich Hans-Werner Sinn recalls the “tortilla crisis” of 2007 and warns that even more acute food shortages this fall and winter will most likely trigger widespread social unrest. Likewise, Seta Tutundjianmember of the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group studying food systems, says escaping destabilizing cycles of hunger, migration and violence will require taking into account the needs of communities living in marginal environments .
Policy makers have no shortage of effective and affordable options. Biniam Bedasso of the Center for Global Development calls for international support to expand school nutrition programs in developing countries. And Cornell University Kaushik Basu believes that India’s system of minimum food guarantees could serve as a model for future global agreements and buffers to alleviate food crises.
Likewise, Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli du Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition and Olivier Camp of the Global Alliance for Better Nutrition argue that more sustainable food production will yield environmental, health and economic benefits that far outweigh the costs, and only requires the political will to act now.