June 20, 2014

Secretary Kerry Highlights Chicago Council Report

On Wednesday, June 18, during his remarks at the World Food Prize Ceremony announcing the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the threats of climate change on global food security.  In his remarks, he highlighted The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the recent report from the Global Agricultural Development Initiative, Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate:

Now, as all of you know, there is a lot of work left to be done. Just last month, the Chicago Council released a study showing how hotter temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and more intense weather events could slow food production by 2 percent a decade for the rest of the century. That report came on top of findings from an elite group of retired US military leaders who said that because of frequent drought and depleted crop yields, climate change is already, now, a catalyst of global conflict. People fighting over water; it’s already happening. In some parts of Africa you can find tribes that fight over water, and this will grow worse if that water supply grows – diminishes.

Now, frankly, we shouldn’t need to be told what happens when food becomes scarce and food prices spike. It obviously can plunge millions of people into poverty. It can feed vicious cycles of desperation and violence. And that is why the struggle for food is truly the struggle for life itself. Because when access to food is limited, so is what we can achieve by investing in public health, which we try to do. So is what we can accomplish by investing in schools or in infrastructure or in conflict prevention. That’s why the work to promote food security is, in fact, so vital to every single thing that we try to do here at the State Department and at USAID.

To read and view a video of Secretary Kerry’s complete remarks, visit the State Department website.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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| By Roger Thurow

Our New Gordian Knot

Fifty years ago Dr. Norman Borlaug recieved the Nobel Peace Prize for cutting the "Goridan knot" of population and food production. Now the planet faces another seemingly intractable problem: how to nourish the planet while preserving the planet.