Let's keep feeding the conversation

A man holds an ear of corn at a farm in Uganda. What’s next after #FeedingDev? Photo by: USAID / CC BY-NC

For the past month, Devex — and a host of high-profile partners — have shone a spotlight on one of the most pressing challenges of our time: ensuring global food security. We’ve featured contributions from leading experts, practitioners and advocates and reported on some of the most cutting-edge, perhaps even surprising efforts to feed a world that is getting hotter, more crowded and more urban.

Feeding Development,” our campaign to highlight food security, kicked off July 8 and has since ignited a conversation on the Devex platform and way beyond.

With support from our partners — ACDI/VOCA, Chemonics, Fintrac, GAIN, Nestlé and Tetra Tech — and from the development professionals who commit their daily energy to tackling food security challenges, we’ve taken this discussion global. We’ve heard about private sector efforts to combat climate change impacts on agricultural supply chains. We’ve shared tips for how agricultural development groups can invest in land rights. And we’ve explored the link between the USAID Forward reform agenda and sustainable supply chains.

We’ve been thrilled to see the level — and quality — of engagement throughout our Feeding Development campaign and look forward to continuing to use our online platform to connect and amplify voices at the front lines of this critical issue.

Taken together, the original reporting, interviews, online discussions and commentary featured via #FeedingDev suggest that there’s no silver-bullet solution to achieve a well-fed, well-nourished planet. But there are many avenues to advance the cause today.

Success or disappointment will, in large part, come down to the commitment of policymakers, investors, farmers, consumers and a host of others to engage in productive, evidence-based and frank conversations and decisive action. Those conversations must take into account the links between food, nutrition, health, economic growth, the environment and land rights. They must weigh trade-offs and point toward actions that can be taken now so that tomorrow’s decisions will be more palatable.

The next several months will provide plenty of opportunities for those conversations to happen and for actions to be taken, and we are hopeful that Feeding Development will inform those efforts and lead to a more engaged and more collaborative global dialogue around these issues.

In September, the United Nations General Assembly will convene to discuss the future of the global development agenda, and concerns about food security and nutrition will play a critical role in the formulation of post-2015 sustainable development goals.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Second International Conference on Nutrition, the first global intergovernmental conference to address the world’s nutrition problems in the 21st century, will take place in November in Rome, providing an opportunity to leverage newfound attention to the issues of undernutrition and stunting toward new commitments and better-integrated plans.

In the United States, aid groups and policy experts continue to battle to embed President Barack Obama’s food security initiative — Feed the Future — in legislation that would ensure it lasts beyond the current administration.

And debates continue to evolve around the role the private sector and public-private partnerships should play in achieving food security goals. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a G-8 initiative that partners governments with private sector actors to raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years, will enter its third year of implementation, and continues to face accusations of neocolonialism despite its noble development goals.

These high-level events and developments may be among the highlights of this year’s busy schedule in international cooperation, but they are by no means the whole story. Food and nutrition — and the land, labor, markets and legal systems required to produce them — remain among the most fundamental building blocks of any development effort. At Devex, our daily and in-depth news coverage and analysis will continue to reflect that.

As Washington looks forward to the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit next week, we will keep a close eye on how food security and nutrition factor into the agenda. We will look for behind-the-headlines stories when the global development community descends on New York City for what we’re calling New York #GlobalDev Week in September. Our own Devex Partnerships & Career Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in October will provide an opportunity to delve deeper into the role that partnerships and local organizations can play as key drivers of food security and other development goals.

And as always, we will continue to report on the big stories, watch budgets and track key legislation that ultimately determines how governments and donors allocate their people and money.

Want to learn more? Check out Feeding Development and tweet us using #FeedingDev.  

Feeding Development is an online conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with ACDI/VOCA, Chemonics, Fintrac, GAIN, Nestlé and Tetra Tech to reimagine solutions for a food-secure future from seed and soil to a healthy meal.

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About the author

  • Igoe michael 1

    Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.