Photo Credit: < ahref="https://www.flickr.com/photos/iaea_imagebank/26623151151/">Dean Calma / IAEA

The World Bank recently released its 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals, which tracks progress on global and country-level progress toward the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the UNDP in 2015. The atlas breaks down each of the 17 SDGs and uses maps and other data visualizations to illustrate trends, global-level and country-level analysis, and comparisons between countries.

Research shows that the global growth of information and telecommunication technologies (ICTs) has resulted in significant development opportunities, especially in rural areas. ICTs can improve households’ agricultural production and profitability, increase job opportunities, and encourage the adoption of healthier practices and more effective risk management techniques.

Knowing which types of policies are appropriate in a given country’s political, economic, and social context is key to ensuring that enacted policies are truly effective and inclusive. This is especially true for agriculture and food security, when well-timed and targeted policies can have significant effects on vulnerable populations.

Pipes being laid for a water project in Lesotho. Photo Credit: Flickr (John Hogg/World Bank)

Official Development Assistance, or ODA, provides a fundamental source of financing in the poorest and most fragile countries. Current ODA is estimated at $135 billion USD a year, but investment needs in infrastructure alone reach up to $1.5 trillion a year in emerging and developing countries according to the World Bank Group.

October 16 is World Food Day.
This blog was originally posted on IFPRI.org
By Ashley St. Thomas

About one in eight people worldwide suffered from chronic hunger during the past two years, according to the United Nations. Though daunting, that ratio is an improvement over previous years. In fact, the 2013 Global Hunger Index report released Monday shows that global hunger levels have declined by nearly 35 percent since 1990.

Cross-posted from IFPRI.org
By: Marcia MacNeil

The great hope that rose from the Arab awakening is being continually tested—not only by ongoing political unrest, but also by lesser known forces: volatile food prices and supplies, and grinding poverty. Translating hope to better lives rests on effective policy—and effective policy rests on access to adequate and accurate information, also in scarce supply in the region. For instance, only around half of the region’s countries make poverty figures publicly available, and the frequency and accuracy of those figures varies widely.

In recent days, the price for soft wheat has increased, as has its volatility. This increase in volatility has likely stemmed from reports that cold weather in Europe may damage crops, a fear that may in fact have been overstated. Reports from Russia about a potential new levy on wheat exports starting in April 2012 may have also played a part in this week's increased volatility.

Asymmetry of information is a major obstacle to increasing global food security. Having access to reliable food price and market information is critical for policymakers, food policy experts, and researchers to be able to respond quickly to dynamic developments in the global food system.

The price of agricultural commodities is determined by many different variables, including production quantities, currency rates, weather events, political or social turmoil, and the price of inputs needed to produce those commodities. Throughout the world, fertilizers are a major agricultural input, and thus a major factor in the price of agricultural commodities.

Global food security is constantly impacted by many issues at the local, national, regional, and international levels - politics, agricultural market changes, fuel prices, weather conditions, war, speculation and trading, and many more. Keeping track of all of these developing issues is an overwhelming, but crucial, task for policymakers to appropriately address the needs of the world's food insecure populations.

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