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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

October News for Food, Agriculture, and Development

With just under five days before World Food Day, we’re seeing some significant attention being placed on food, agriculture, and rural development.  From the private sector’s push to standardize sustainability metrics and impact analysis for investment in agriculture to important papers and speeches on the status of food security, climate change, and hunger, we’ve collected a list of October highlights – and we’re only halfway through the month!

The launch of IRIS 2.0 and corresponding comment period has now begun.  This newest version of the Impact Reporting & Investment Standards, or IRIS, was announced last week highlighting a growing movement from the investment community to create a common language for describing the social and environmental performance of an organization. IRIS provides an independent and credible set of metrics for organizations to use when reporting their impact. IRIS performance indicators span an array of social and environmental objectives, and include specialized metrics for a range of sectors such as financial services, agriculture, and energy. Like financial accounting standards, IRIS provides a basis for performance reporting and enables critical industry analyses like performance benchmarking. IRIS is an initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network. Sign up for the webinar, or provide comments.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World:  World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, October 2010.  Twenty-two countries are facing enormous challenges like repeated food crises and an extremely high prevalence of hunger due to a combination of natural disasters, conflict, and weak institutions. More than 166 million undernourished people live in countries in protracted crises, roughly 20 percent of the world’s undernourished people or more than a third of the total if large countries like China and India are excluded from the calculation. Read more here.

Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program, suggests How We Can End Hunger: 10 Ways to Feed the World.  As Sheeron comments, “Many nations have defeated hunger. It doesn’t require some scientific breakthrough, people simply need access to an adequate amount of nutritious food. Food is good business. When nations solve that problem it fuels their economy. It creates jobs and opportunity. When people don’t have food, they only have three options. They migrate, revolt, or die. These options are unacceptable. We must be driven with a common purpose towards finding a solution.” Read the entire article in the Huffington Post, October 1.

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, on the ground development agencies like Oxfam have been contributing heavily to the discussion of how pro-poor agricultural development policies and programs can contribute to real economic growth and better livelihoods in post-conflict and post-disaster communities.  Planting Now, Agricultural Challenges and Opportunities for Haiti’s Reconstruction, an Oxfam UK Briefing Paper, suggests ways to move Haiti forward and provides interesting insights into the challenges and opportunities for reconstruction.

US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, receives 2010 George McGovern Leadership Award from the World Food Program.  With innovative new steps towards public private partnerships (have a look at a past post from CIAT on the Future of Food initiative here), Secretary Clinton has been lauded for promoting a bold new approach to issues like nutrition and farmers’ livelihoods was paving the way towards a future without hunger. Watch her acceptance speech here.

Finally, we just wrapped up a great conference at SOCAP where there were a lot of interesting and important discussions about metrics, reporting, and better ways to bridge the gap between investors and agro-enterprises.  Have a look at some post conference videos!

I should also mention that I (Katie) am delighted to be back at work writing for the CIAT Markets blog.   Coming to you live now from NY at Cornell University!

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