Why Is the World Facing a Food Crisis? | The Development Podcast

The world is facing rising food prices that are hitting poor and developing countries hardest. Even before COVID-19 reduced incomes and disrupted supply chains, chronic and acute hunger were on the rise due to factors, including conflict, socio-economic conditions, natural hazards, climate change and pests.

The disruption caused by the war in Ukraine has added to price pressures, with costs likely to remain high for the foreseeable future and expected to push millions of additional people into acute food insecurity.

In this episode of The Development Podcast, World Bank Food and Agriculture Global Practice Manager Julian Lampietti explains the challenges and discusses some of the solutions. And we hear from a pizza restaurant owner in Cairo who is struggling with the rising cost of bread.

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Building disaster resilience among the vulnerable

Natural disasters cause billions of dollars in losses each year, but the damage estimatesfiji_disaster_2_1000 don’t tell the full story of their impact. The gravity of any loss depends on whom it affects, and the poorest people typically bear a much larger brunt of a natural disaster’s consequences.  With climate change bringing more frequent and severe natural hazards, ensuring a resilient recovery for all requires a better understanding of the impacts that policies can have – and particularly on the most vulnerable people. Experience shows that a wide range of relatively low-cost and effective measures can save lives and protect hard-earned development gains in the wake of disasters. 

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Commodity Markets: Evolution, Challenges, and Policies

The past two years of the global pandemic profoundly impacted our societies and economies. crane-light-heroThe COVID crisis heightened the need for multilateralism to tackle global challenges.  

Even as the worst of the pandemic starts to recede, the war in Ukraine threatens to impact global development outcomes. At the same time, climate impacts continue to mount. The findings of the latest IPCC reports provide a stark warning. We must decarbonize our economies at an accelerated pace and scale and reach net zero emissions by 2050  to avoid fundamentally altering our planet’s climate and its irreversible impacts on development. We must take bold and swift action and we must do so now to ensure that we can realize green, resilient and inclusive development.

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Commodity Markets: Evolution, Challenges, and Policies

Commodity markets are integral to the global economy. Understanding what drivesweb cover2 developments of these markets is critical to the design of policy frameworks that facilitate the economic objectives of sustainable growth, inflation stability, poverty reduction, food security, and the mitigation of climate change. This study is the first comprehensive analysis examining market and policy developments for all commodity groups, including energy, metals, and agriculture, over the past century. It finds that, while the quantity of commodities consumed has risen enormously, driven by population and income growth, the relative importance of commodities has shifted over time, as technological innovation created new uses for some materials and facilitated substitution among commodities. The study also shows that commodity markets are heterogeneous in terms of their drivers, price behavior, and macroeconomic impact on emerging markets and developing economies, and that the relationship between economic growth and commodity demand varies widely across countries, depending on their stage of economic development. Policy frameworks that enable countercyclical macroeconomic responses have become increasingly common—and beneficial. Other policy tools have had mixed outcomes.

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