Food security and sustainable use of natural resources: a 2020 Vision uri icon

abstract

  • At the threshold of the twenty-first century, widespread poverty, food insecurity, and environmental degradation cause severe human suffering and threaten to destabilize global, regional, and national economic and ecological conditions. If these trends continue unabated, the world will not be a pleasant place to live for most of humanity. The International Food Policy Research Institute has developed a 2020 Vision of a world where every person has economic and physical access to sufficient food to sustain a healthy and pr productive life, where malnutrition is absent, and where food originates from efficient, effective, and low-cost food and agricultural systems that are compatible with sustainable use and management of natural resources. With foresight and decisive action, we can create the conditions that will permit this vision to be realized by 2020. There are several challenges to assuring food security and sustainable use of natural resources: (i) widespread poverty and inadequate human resource development, which inhibit people's capacity to grow and/or purchase the needed food; (ii) large increases in developing-country populations, especially in urban areas, which will substantially increase food needs; (iii) gross under-investment in agricultural research in developing countries and inadequacies in availability of and access to agricultural inputs-such as water, fertilizer, pesticides, energy, research, and technology, which leads to lagging yield increases in more-favored areas and low and variable yields in less-favored areas; (iv) degradation of natural resources-such as soils; forests, marine fisheries, and water-which undermines production capacity; (v) inefficient functioning of markets and inadequate infrastructure as well as weakened capacity of developing-country governments to perform their appropriate functions; and (vi) insufficient domestic resource mobilization-savings and investment-and declining international assistance, which restrains economic growth and development. These challenges can be overcome and the 2020 Vision of food security and sustainable use of natural resources realized if all relevant parties-individuals, households, farmers, local communities, civil society, private sector, national governments, and the international community-take appropriate action and change their behavior, priorities, and policies. Priority actions include investing more in poor people, accelerating agricultural productivity, assuring sound management of natural resources, strengthening the capacity of developing-country governments to perform appropriate functions, and expanding and realigning international development assistance. The world's natural resources are capable of supporting the 2020 Vision, if current rates of degradation are reduced and replaced by appropriate technological change and sustainable use of natural resources. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 1998
  • 1998
  • 1998