Following the 2008 food crisis, special attention was paid to the issue of food security and a wide range of measures was proposed to address the problem. Some measures were implemented at a national level by various governments and some were implemented cooperatively by coalitions of countries. Others remained as ideas or concepts and have yet to be implemented.
With respect to risk mitigation measures that are in pace, such as strategic grain reserves, more can be done to enhance their effectiveness. For instance, a food monitoring system could be used to optimize stock levels and releases, while financial hedging instruments and improved contracting strategies could be sued to reduce the cost of maintaining the reserves. In most cases, the effectiveness of these measures improves when the measures are implemented on a larger scale by a collaborative alliance of nations with shared interests.
A number of measures can be undertaken by GDA to reduce the likelihood of a food crisis occurring. These measures have a long term orientation, requiring advance planning and an extended period of time for implementation.
Member states of GDA can effectively address the threats of food insecurity by helping each other improve national food security capabilities. Learning how other countries have adopted to these threats can help member states to adapt their own policies and technologies. Improving food security at the national level requires the development and implementation of innovative, science-based public policies. Such policies need to take account of demographic, economic, environmental, and natural resource conditions. They also need to capitalize on the best available agricultural, water and energy technologies internationally.
To facilitate the development of state of the art food security policies among member states, it is envisaged that GDA would launch an expert peer review process for member states’ national policies. The mutual policy review process would enable member countries to collaborate in creating new solutions and improving policies to ensure their food security, by reviewing and commenting on each other’s’ approaches to these issues. It will help to improve cooperation, enable members to communicate in a common language about common problems, and contribute to the ability of GDA member countries to address food security threats together, individually and with non GDA countries.
Research & Innovation
Various organizations currently conduct or finance research on topics related to food security in drylands. In addition, many developed and developing countries have national research institutions and implementing agencies that address dryland issues, as well as universities and other private organizations that engage in relevant research and technological innovation.
However, two key gaps remain in terms of research and development in food security for dryland countries:
- Adoption of economically viable improved technologies and management techniques remains low in many dry land areas. Understanding and overcoming barriers to adoption are necessary steps toward harnessing the potential for improved agricultural productivity.
- Most dryland countries depend upon imported food to satisfy at least some of their domestic consumption, and research on the optimal mechanisms for procuring and distributing a staple food supply is limited.
- Global Dryland Alliance will facilitate investment in research and, the development of innovative solutions relevant to improving food security for the dryland countries. In particular, GDA will focus on research and innovation that is targeted to:
- Understanding and easing constraints to domestic production.
- Developing appropriate international and domestic institutions and mechanisms for ensuring an adequate food supply.
- Creating tools to aid policymakers in GDA member countries.