News Selection – Food Security
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Food Security.
WTO risks reputation on subsidies reform
11/12/2018: The World Trade Organisation must make progress on reforming global fishing subsidies to save the ocean and its own reputation, say international trade officials. Source: China Dialogue Ocean
Can we grow more food on less land?
3/12/2018: A report by the World Resources Institute warns that the world’s agricultural system will need drastic changes in the next few decades in order to feed billions more people without triggering a climate catastrophe. Source: New York Times
Maize everywhere, but where will Tanzania sell its surplus?
4/12/2018: Tanzania is looking for buyers for its surplus maize at a time when the region is grappling with a bumper harvest and falling prices.
Source: The East African
What fish can do for the WTO
26/11/2018: Fish will soon be off the menu, unless global leaders strike a deal ending multi-billion dollar harmful fisheries subsidies blamed for threatening world fish stocks and widening the inequitable use of marine resources. Source: Inter Press Service
Deaths before data in Yemen famine dilemma
12/11/2018: The difficulty of collecting data in war-torn Yemen complicates the decision to declare an official famine, which has a technical definition and a high threshold. Source: IRIN
UN warns Yemen in 'present danger' of famine
24/10/2018: The UN's aid chief says the only way to prevent widespread famine in Yemen is by implementing a humanitarian ceasefire, allowing life-saving shipments of aid to enter the country, providing much-needed foreign exchange and ending the war. Source: DW
Tread Softly Comment: The UN issued a similar famine warning for Yemen in 2017 but there's no doubt that the current situation looks worse. A declaration of famine would heap condemnation on Saudi Arabia for its military intervention. With the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi also laid at the door of that country, this is surely the moment for Germany's lead in refusing further arms exports to be followed by the larger suppliers such as US and UK. Relevant Briefing: Global Food Divide
Here’s what the UN is doing to fix ‘intolerable’ wrong of hunger
16/10/2018: Since its very early years, the UN has made tackling hunger and malnutrition one of its key priorities. On World Food Day, here are some of the ways the organization contributes to the Goal of zero hunger. Source: UN News
Global hunger continues to rise, new UN report says
11/9/2018: New evidence continues to signal that the number of hungry people in the world is growing, reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018. Source: FAO
Tread Softly Comment: This year's UN report on global food security focuses on the impact of climate change, although it prefers the phrase "climate variability and extremes" as a better description of what people actually experience. The emphasis is on resilience and adaptation, avoiding debate on the significance of pressing for 1.5 degrees as a more acceptable target for global warming than 2 degrees. Relevant Briefing: Causes of Food Insecurity
Technological breakthroughs are changing how researchers observe the world’s fishing fleet
14/8/2018: For decades, researchers studying the global fishing industry had to cope with minimal data about what goes on out at sea. Technological breakthroughs in recent years are putting an end to that. Source: Mongabay
Tread Softly Comment: These uplifting examples illustrate how satellite data collected from automatic identification systems (AIS) has transformed capacity to detect illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. However, the article doesn't mention that data integrity can be undermined by ships that become "dark" by switching off their AIS. Although contrary to maritime regulations, this practice has also been reported in the context of ships' captains who wish to avoid their obligation to rescue migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Relevant Briefing: Causes of Biodiversity Loss
1/8/2018: A study conducted by researchers at UC Santa Barbara shows that wealthy countries’ industrial fishing fleets dominate the global oceans. This skew in power and control has important implications for how our planet shares food and wealth. Source: UC Santa Barbara
Tread Softly Comment: Too often the debate about global food security completely overlooks the importance of marine resources, which make a significant contribution to human needs for protein. This research is especially welcome because its primary focus is the imbalance in global fishing capacity between richer and poorer countries. The full paper is packed with killer facts; Spain allows foreign vessels only 4% of the catch in its own waters, whilst hoovering up 45% of resources in Guinea-Bissau. Big data tools make a key contribution to the research, although the extent of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing remains uncertain. Relevant Briefing: Governance of Food Security