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Centering Global Food Security for Global Prosperity

RESEARCH Working Paper by Catherine Bertini and Ertharin Cousin
Vegetables are displayed for sale at a stand at Surquillo market in Lima, Peru.
REUTERS

Catherine Bertini and Ertharin Cousin are co-leads on a paper offering the Biden Administration recommendations for the US government to build on a strong foundation of food and nutrition security programs to alleviate global hunger and malnutrition.

Executive Summary

  • The new Biden Administration will face global crises on multiple fronts. COVID-19, coupled with conflict and escalating climate disasters, is leading to one of the most disastrous humanitarian and hunger crises in the last century.
  • In the past decade, previous Administrations have demonstrated the value and impact of food security and nutrition security programs for alleviating hunger and malnutrition and for reducing the threat of conflict and governmental instability.
  • As a result of targeted and thoughtful assistance, there are 23.4 million more people today who live above the poverty line and 3.4 million more children are free from stunting. More than 5 million families now live free from hunger and billions of dollars in agricultural sales have been generated. 
  • The Biden Administration has the opportunity to build on a strong foundation of work. To strengthen this programming in the next decade, key considerations should include:
    • Creating a more resilient and healthful food system that is capable of absorbing shocks and stressors. Systems thinking—especially the integration of food, nutrition, health, climate, and agriculture—can drive sustainable outcomes.
    • Building inclusive partnerships from the beginning to create sustainable and resilient communities.
    • Investing in agricultural economies beyond US borders should be understood as an investment in critical infrastructure that stretches back to our own heartland.