May 26, 2008

Food Security and Climate Change

The relationship between food security and climate change is very complex. In fact, it could also have some positive impacts. I red a paper that summarize very well the issue. In fact, this is the paper that, as far as I know, better explain the link between food security and climate change:

Schmidhuber Josef and Tubiello Francesco N. , Global food security under climate change,
December 11, 2007, PNAS, vol. 104, no. 50, pp. 19703–19708.

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May 14, 2008

Still Waiting for Developed Countries Commitments and Action on Food Crisis

In the lasts months, International Organizations as well as NGOs multiplyed ewquests for additional foundings both in the short and in the long term in order to fight against food crisis negative impacts on the South.

World Bank was probably the most active institution. They propose an interesting action plan that couple both emergency intervenctions (mainly through financing food vauchers that are less distoritves than in-kind food aid) as erll as medium term investments and aid to improve productivity in the South. Mr. Zoellick call it a New Deal for the food crisis.

So far, so good. This time solutions proposed seems to be pragmatic and not biased toward a so-called neo-liberal ideology (as in the 80s and 90s). What is more, the debate with other organizations provide some other needed policy changes as, for example, more "policy space" for developing countries, the need to increase climate adaptation aid, etc.

The problem it that as Mr Diouf (FAO Secretary General) says these kind of programs have been created by the FAO (among others) many years ago. The problem is that founding by developed countries was not enough to implement them.

Once again, in this current cisis, developed countries do not answer quickly by providing new founding. They simply put on the table some small grants in order to demonstrate to theyr citizens that they are doing something.

We need to change the system by reducing the dependency of the UN and other international institutions on developed countries "special contribution" (in fact, "compulsory" contribution are quite low and allow only to run these institutions). The ideas to found a global development program with a small tax on airplanes tickets or on financial transactions need to be further explored and implemented.

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May 5, 2008

Most Read Posts

I would like to thank all the visitors of this blog.

Some of my posts had more success than others. Four post were the most visited:

  1. Trade and Development link in developing countries beyond the free trade vs protectionism debate
  2. Is Official Development Assistance Effective to Boost Growth? Palliative vs. Development Economics
  3. What role plays agriculture in economic development?
  4. South-South Regional Integration: 11 Potential Positive Consequences for Sustainable Development

I hope you will enjoy reading these posts

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April 24, 2008

What to read to understand causes and action needed in the current food crise

Many newspaper articles, papers, etc. are disseminated in these days to inform the issue of rising food prices and their causes, impacts on developing countries. However, I found only an article that is comprehensive and that explain well the issue, impacts and the way out. If you are interested on this issue you should read this article of Bridges (ICTSD).

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April 22, 2008

Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Air Transportation: A Wrong Reason to Reduce Developing Countries Exports of Counter-Season Vegetables and Fruits

In many developed countries, particularly in Europe, there is growing concerns on our consumption habits impact on Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. Many environmental NGO are underlining that importing vegetables and fruits via air transportation is damageable for the environment because of "useless" GHG emissions. This position is becoming largely shared by citizens. Some organizations propose simply to eliminate these imports.

The problem is that these kinds of products are very important for many developing countries. In facts, vegetables and fruits are very dynamic and allow developing countries to specialize on rising prices products.

What is more, these NGOs forget that air transportation account for only 3% of GHG emissions. Probably, they must spend their efforts in other sectors. For example, it will be more useful in Europe to increase public transportation, to increase taxes and costs linked to cars, to decrease useless intra-EU trade (for example, statistics tell us that half of trucks around Europe are empty), increase incentives for ecological houses, etc.

Furthermore, the problem of GHG emissions can be easily solved by adding to the price some cents for sustainable development projects in developing countries that reduce GHG emissions. There is not a need to ban or reduce counter-season imports from developing countries.

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April 18, 2008

China continue to growth very fast: US subprime crise does not matter

These day we discovered that China continue to growth at more than 10% rate. The US subprime crise and the developed countries slowdown seems to have any impact.

This is very important. In fact, it is a good indicator that emerging markets succeed to decrease their dependency on developed countries growth and economic situation.

The world is changing. Henceforth, the engine of world growth are any more developed countries but emerging countries. The economic power has shifted. Nothing seeems to slow down emerging countries (especially China, India and ASEAN countries).

Unfortunately, many developed countries policy makers did not seem to have understand this change. In fact, they continue to use global governance institutions like if they were in the 80s when their supremacy was incontestable.

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April 15, 2008

The Missing Element To Understand High Food Prices: Past Developed Countries Policies Matter

These days there is a lot of media coverage on high rising food prices and their impacts on developing countries. Media, scholars, NGOs and International Organization underline 3 causes that explain the rising of food prices:

  • Emerging Markets growing demand of food (notably milk and meat).
  • Growing Biofuels production.
  • Market speculation.

All these elements played a crucial role in increasing food prices. Nevertheless, there is another explanation that it is never mentioned: the long-term impact of developed countries subsidies and protectionism.

In fact, developed countries dumping reduced and reduce the incentive for developing countries farmers to produce more food. What is more, dumping on international and local markets in the last couple of decades pushed out of business an important number of developing countries. The consequence was a reduction of the (growth of) developing countries food production. In fact, for example, the number of ha used for cereals production in developing countries decreased of more than 13% (FAO stats) since 1975.

Developed countries are in large part responsible of the current situation (also because of the negative impact on developing countries agriculture of the liberalization promoted by developed countries in the 80s and the 90s). They should pay for their responsibilities.

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