Events, Publications

How to Feed the World in 2050: the Path to the World Summit on Food Security

November 9th, 2009

The World Summit on Food Security will take place from 16-18 November 2009 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. From 12-16 November there will be be a series of pre-Summit events, Private Sector Forum, Inter-Parliamentary meeting and Civil Society Forum.

The prospects for agriculture are discussed in a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that details the investment required to ensure food security in 2050, noting both the impacts of climate change on agricultural production, as well as the mitigation potential of agriculture.

Underscoring the uneven distribution of climate change impacts on crop production, the report suggests that countries in the Southern hemisphere may suffer a greater share of negative impacts in the form of reduced yields and greater frequency of extreme events, while in the Northern hemisphere, crop yields and areas suitable for cultivation may be expected to rise. This suggests that the aggregate effect of climate change on global production may be small in the coming few decades.

However, the report notes that food security is likely to be negatively affected by climate change. It highlights that the potential competition between food and food-based biofuels could lead to increased undernourishment of children in Africa and South Asia. It calls for increased research in growth of productivity as well as a comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of biofuels. The report calls for efforts to be made to include agriculture in the outcome from the climate change negotiations leading to Copenhagen.

The report is based on a Meeting of Experts that took place in June 2009, and aimed to provide background for the High-Level Experts Forum on “How to Feed the World in 2050,” which met at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 12-13 October 2009. Read the full FAO Report and/or the UN Press Release. Read the related Message from Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity on the occasion of World Food Day, 16 October 2009 – Achieving Food Security in Times of Crisis.