New Inquiry: Global Food Security

02 November 2012

Hunger and food insecurity are recurrent topics, with global ramifications and attracting global attention. The G8 Summit in June 2013 under UK leadership will focus on this issue

Although the proportion of the global population suffering from hunger has declined from 24% to 13% since 1970, around 1 billion people still go hungry each day. The 2012 Global Hunger Index reveals that 20 countries still have alarming levels of hunger.

At the same time, the global food system is under increasing pressure, resulting in sharp rises in food prices—2008 and, to a lesser extent, 2011—with severe consequences for many developing countries.

In the longer term, population trends, rising incomes and environmental pressures, including climate change place greater strain on food supplies. The UK Foresight Study on the Future of Food and Farming explored these issues.

In addition, there have been numerous global initiatives—from the 2008 Comprehensive Framework for Action, the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, and the post-Olympic hunger event.

The International Development Committee is to launch an inquiry into how the global food system can ensure an end to hunger. It invites submissions on the following issues:

• The success or otherwise of the global food system in guaranteeing food security and eliminating under-nutrition with particular reference to women, children and other vulnerable groups;
• The implications of demographic trends, rising income and climate change on the global food system and on key indicators of food security and good nutrition;
• The impact of global and local food shocks and how different countries and/or regions cope with food crises and the role of democracy in increasing food security;
• The role of the international system, including food and agriculture organisations and the G8 and G20, and ways in which collaboration could be improved;
• The best strategies for reducing risk from short term shocks and long term structural factors and for building resilience among the most vulnerable;
• The role of the following in increasing food security and the part that DFID should play in:
o Competition for land use – including for biofuels, cash crops, livestock or agriculture and the impact of diet choices on food production capacity;
o small holder agriculture and large scale farming;
o external interventions — including land deals, corporate investment and donor interventions;
o The private sector;
o New technologies, including irrigation, and the dissemination and distribution of these, with special reference to small farmers and women;
o Global policy measures, including monitoring, food stocks, financial shock facilities, food, nutrition and agriculture initiatives;
o Food markets, trading, storage and distribution;
o  The role of commodity funds and major global commodity companies.

The Committee invites written submissions from interested organisations and individuals. The deadline for these is 17 December 2012.

Written evidence submitted should:

• Have a one page summary at the front of your evidence
• Be no longer than 3000 words in length
• Have numbered paragraphs
• Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material

Be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format (No PDF’s) by e-mail to [email protected].  If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details.

View guidance on giving evidence to Select Committees.

Please also note that:

• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. If a number of published documents are sent to accompany written evidence, these should be listed in the covering email.

• Written evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

• It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Image: PA

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