Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Food security and nutrition

In 1996, the World Food Summit stated that food security ‘exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.’ This definition encompasses four key elements: 1) the physical availability of food, 2) the legal, political, economic and social arrangements which assure access to food, 3) the ability to utilise food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being, and 4) the stability of all these factors across time. Today, just under 800 million people are undernourished. Compounding this problem, changing dietary patterns (sometimes referred to as the ‘nutrition transition’) brought on by the processes of globalisation mean that, obesity is also now a growing problem, and many developing and emerging countries now find themselves presented with a ‘double burden’ of poor nutrition. Over 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese and most of these are to be found in middle and low income countries simply because their populations are so great. Overlapping with these numbers some 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies (most commonly of iron, vitamin A and iodine) which causes physical and cognitive problems, particularly in children and women of childbearing age.

(Photo: USDA, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0)
7 July 2016

A recent paper by Wickramasinghe et al, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has quantified the nutritional quality and carbon footprint of meals provided by primary schools in England.

9 June 2016

The last decade has witnessed major crises in both food and energy security across the world. One response to the challenges of climate change and energy supply has been the development of crops to be used for biofuels. But, as this book shows, this can divert agricultural land from food production to energy crops, thus affecting food security, particularly in less developed countries.

9 June 2016

The concept of food and nutrition security has evolved and risen to the top of the international policy agenda over the last decade. Yet it is a complex and multi-faceted issue, requiring a broad and inter-disciplinary perspective for full understanding. 

9 June 2016

This report, Food Systems and Natural Resources”developed by the International Resource Panel (IRP) looks at the use and management of natural resources that go into the food system, the consequences of that management and the options to improve the efficiency with which they are managed. 

20 April 2016

In a guest post for Carbon brief University of Leeds professor of population ecology and FCRN advisory board member Tim Benton and Dr Bojana Bajželj of WRAP conclude that food related emissions will take up our entire carbon budget by 2050 if we don’t change our diets and the way our food is produced, so destroying any chance of meeting the raised ambition of the Paris Agreement.

20 April 2016

This study looks into how residential landscapes in Chicago, USA, which constitute the largest single urban land use, benefit ecosystems. It argues that even though we often don’t associate modern urban areas with healthy ecosystems, home gardens in urban landscapes can contribute to important ecosystem services.

20 April 2016

This study, which quantifies at the global and regional level the health and environmental consequences of dietary change,  argues that there are substantial health and environmental gains to be made from switching to more plant based diets.  According to the research, food-related emissions could be cut by 29% if global dietary guidelines were adopted. 

1 April 2016

In a recent blog-post on the UN’s Academic Impact website, Sonja Vermeulen and Andy Challinor write the third piece in a series on Food security and climate change entitled “Global Models Must Meet Grassroots Action to Deliver Climate Solutions for Farmers”. 

1 April 2016

Through the integration of gender analysis into resilience thinking, this book shares field-based research insights from a collaborative, integrated project aimed at improving food security in subsistence and smallholder agricultural systems.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture (Flickr, creative commons licence, Attribution 2.0 Generic)
1 April 2016

Poor households in developing countries are sometimes included in livestock programmes by humanitarian organisations whereby they are given a cow, a pair of oxen, or a herd of goats. This paper analyses the impacts on the food security of recipients in these kinds of programmes and finds that the effect is positive. 

10 March 2016

In a time of rising rates of obesity and ongoing malnutrition, this new report argues that the world’s largest food and beverage (F&B) companies are largely failing to be part of the solution.

10 March 2016

FAO has released a step-by-step approach to situation appraisal and programme design for nutrition-sensitive agriculture. With its emphasis on operational questions and considerations, it is intended to provide programme planners with practical tools.

10 March 2016

The Protein Challenge 2040 summary report condenses Forum for the Future’s analysis of the future of protein, and the challenges and opportunities we are facing in shifting the system onto a more sustainable path. It sets out the six key areas for innovation that Forum will embark on to catalyse large-scale change quickly across the system.

16 February 2016

This report by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) represents a consensus of more than 30 authors from 19 institutions across four countries. The report brings together modelling and forecasting research on climate change to the year 2100, and explores how these changes will affect food and agricultural systems worldwide, and in particular in the US.

16 February 2016

In this commentary, Thomas Hertel of Purdue University argues that typically-used metrics of food security that are based solely on food production and food prices are incomplete, misleading or in some cases, just wrong.

3 February 2016

This book introduces the human right to adequate food and nutrition as an evolving concept and identifies two structural "disconnects" fueling food insecurity for a billion people, and disproportionally affecting women, children, and rural food producers: the separation of women’s rights from their right to adequate food and nutrition, and the fragmented attention to food as commodity and the medicalization of nutritional health.

17 December 2015

This report from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), reports that there has been 'steady' progress on certified sustainable palm oil use ­ with palm oil imports 72% sustainable in 2014 - up from 55% in 2013.

Pages