The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ new report, Global Food Security by the Numbers, lays out what is known about current US investments in global food security and makes recommendations for how to clarify and track investments across a range of agencies, with the goal of strengthening America’s commitment to alleviating hunger and spurring agriculture and food system growth over the long term.
Efforts such as Feed the Future have shown that US investments in global food security successfully support development and simultaneously position American businesses to take advantage of growth markets. Yet the report identifies challenges that could hinder the government’s ability to strategically direct and coordinate future food security investments and find solutions for measuring and improving food security programs, including:
- Inconsistent definitions of the investments and activities that support global food security;
- Lack of clarity about how the “whole-of-government” approach to global food security is implemented and the role of each agency involved;
- Lack of transparency in how some global food security funds are directed; and
- Lack of details on funding for improving nutrition — an increasingly recognized aspect of global food security— making it difficult to craft effective, cross-sectoral interventions.
- Consistently defining global food security as funds directed toward agricultural development, nutrition interventions, food aid and agriculture and food research;
- A more detailed federal government accounting on how Feed the Future monies are spent and comprehensively detailing nutrition funding;
- Better leveraging the strengths of federal agencies and assigning clear agency roles and responsibilities – including potentially through legislation; and
- Exercising congressional leadership by authorizing a long-term commitment to global food security.