The MDGs and the End of Extreme Poverty V

Designing Practical Interventions: The Case of Millennium Villages

After you’ve made the diagnosis, after you’ve mobilized the development aid, after the key concepts of investing in health and education, or in infrastructure, the real life of implementation of development programs becomes the most important issue. When the Millennium Development Goals were first enunciated and I was asked and very honored by then UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan to advise the UN system on how the MDGs could be achieved. I called on colleagues and professionals from around the world, from many different disciplines from agronomy, from public health, from the education sector, from urban and rural engineering. To suggest the most effective approach is the new technologies, the best ways to make an advance. That was the UN Millennium Project. And from 2002 to 2006 it prepared many, many studies. And in 2005 presented a long report and detailed information to the member states of the UN. And in a special session of the General Assembly in the fall of 2005, the UN member states adopted a number of Ideas of how to proceed in a practical way to achieve and implement the Millennium Development Goals. One of the very lucky things for my colleagues and me was the proposal that it would be a good idea to look in detail at a few places, some very, very poor villages around Africa, to see how these recommendations could work on the ground, in practice. And to use that experience to develop new tools for implementing the fight on poverty. To implementing pathways to saving lives through public health, to implementing new cutting-edge technologies such as the use of mobile phones or broadband for schools and for health systems, and for business development. This is how the Millennium Village project got started. If you look on this map of Africa it shows you where the Millennium Villages are located with each of the main village clusters shown on the map. But it also shows you Africa in a bright colored depiction that you haven’t seen before most likely because these colors on this map are not of the countries, or even of the features of mountains and lakes and so forth as a standard. But rather is a division of Africa into different kinds of farm systems. So the yellow areas along the east coast of Africa, the category shown in Kenya and in Tanzania and Malawi, and other places down the east coast of Africa is the maize production region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Or if you look in the horn of Africa up in northern Ethiopia where the village of Koraro is located, you see a highland area. In fact, in northern Ethiopia the main staple crop is something basically not known in the rest of world, a grain called teff, which provides a wonderful bread traditional in the Ethiopian diet. But its a distinct ecological zone because it is a highland zone. Or if you look across the brown shaded areas where you see cereal crops are mainly planted in, in very dry regions or the area just above that known as the Sahel of Africa, and a zone that from a farm system point of view is called is, is called agro-silvopastoral. So there’s some bit of crops there’s some tree crops grown and there’s pastoralism the goats and the sheep the camels that are herded in the very dry areas. Well we wanted to see how the Millennium Development Goals could be approached in each of these distinct agro-ecological zones. Because each one poses specific challenges. How to grow crops that are different. How to manage livestock, particularly important in the pastoral regions. The disease burdens are quite different as the climate varies. In the highlands it may be Malaria isn’t so much of a problem, but in the tropical lowlands malaria can be holoendemic, infecting just about everybody, unless it’s brought under control. And so the Millennium Village project identified ten very poor places with the help of the host governments. Each of these places was at the beginning of this project in 2005 a so called hunger hotspot. That meant that there was a chronic undernourishment of, of at least 20% of the population, and in many cases much more. In other words, not only would the villages in poor countries, but they were in the very poor parts of the poor countries. The idea was to apply the Millennium Development Goals as the guiding principle. The core of the project was a holistic approach. Remember that there are eight MDGs. Now applying the MDGs therefore means to design programs that aim to achieve all of those goals. Not just a health project, or an education project. But to achieve all eight of the Millennium Development Goals. There are two big reasons for that. One is that each of the eight goals is meritorious in its own right. Of course fighting hunger isn’t the end if there’s big disease burden,or fighting disease and hunger isn’t the end if children are not yet going to school, and so forth. Each of the eight goals is important in and of its own right. But the goals are also synergistic. Helping to provide safe water in a community can not only rid the community of a big part of the disease burden, but can help the children be healthy enough to go to school. And so to help meet the school objective. Fighting malaria, similarly, is not not only protecting the lives of the community but helping to protect the productivity of the community. So that people are not sick when it’s planting or harvest time, or the children are not so sick that they don’t get to school. So not only do we want to achieve the eight Millennium Goals because they’re each important. But by targeting each of them we actually help to achieve even the others as well. So the Millennium Village Project took a holistic and synergistic approach, aiming at a rather low cost of donor funding. In the first five years, $60 per villager per year to be matched roughly by the host country government and the local community, so a total on the order of about $120 per villager per year. To face the whole range of challenges, higher productivity agriculture making sure the children have classrooms, teachers, school supplies for effective primary education. Making sure that vaccines and bed nets protect the children from malaria to reduce the burden of childhood disease and to reduce sharply the death rates among young children. Ensuring emergency obstetrical care for mothers so that childbirth is safe, and even when an emergency occurs the mother doesn’t die of hemorrhaging or a obstructed labor which kills so many mothers if there’s no emergency care available. And using new clever ways to meet environmental goals of proper sanitation, safe drinking water, protection of the local environment. It really is the idea of the differential diagnosis, but not applied to one specific challenge, but rather applied across the range of the goals so that all of the goals can be achieved, and so that all of the synergies can be harnessed for success. The project is now in its eighth year and what we have seen is that even in the very poorest places it’s possible to help mobilize a very active community. Because across the world mothers and fathers want to ensure the health of their children, they want to ensure of course the survival of mothers in pregnancy and in childbirth. They want to reduce disease burdens. So by harnessing the energies of communities with a little bit of help, with best practices, with new kinds of information systems, tremendous things can be achieved. Have a look at some of the range of activities taking place in the Millennium villages. In Potou, Senegal a huge expansion of onion production to serve the national market has helped farm families to raise incomes and to raise living standards, to invest in the quality of their housing for the community to invest and improve health and education. And to upgrade agriculture more generally by introducing irrigation and introducing other parts of a high productivity agricultural system. In Rwanda with the partnership of government a village area that was bereft of just about everything and a place that had been a gathering point after the Rwanda genocide where refugees from all over the country came and gathered, but,meaning it wasn’t a, a tight knit community at the beginning. Was able to get power in, into the community, electricity, a, a new road connection new investments in health and in education, and a tremendous take off of business activity. In Sauri, Kenya, the very first of the Millennium villages you see the children on their way to school and a big step up of school programs including school meal programs throughout the whole community. In Ambola in Tanzania you see a new improved water source for safer water supplies for the community. We’ve seen that that range of activities is feasible. It was once thought that a poor community might be able to do one or two kinds of things, this is an old fashioned and poorly thought out idea. Communities necessarily live holistic lives they earn livelihoods, or they struggle to do so. They want their children in school, they need healthcare, bo, both to prevent and to treat Illnesses. Every community needs to have water but if the water’s safe the community stays healthy. And so the idea that communities can improve systems across the board has proven to be a viable and a correct assumption every day demonstrated within the Millennium villages. And gender equality has manifested itself by women’s leadership throughout the villages. And by new business development that women have taken on and that have greatly empowered them, given them their own source of income and a tremendous amount of pride. And here you’re, you’re looking at the Rwanda women’s cooperative in Mayange, the Millennium village in Rwanda where the women are producing wonderful artisinal goods of weaving and knitting. These goods have been featured in American stores. They’re being marketed online and the women are as proud as can be and their incomes and stability, ability to care for their children has absolutely soared. One of the most exciting developments in the Millennium Villages has been the development of the community based healthcare, and within that, the role of community health workers. A community health worker is a young person, very often a young woman from the community, maybe with ten to 12 years of schooling in total. Certainly no medical degree or no nursing degree. But with a bit of training over a few months a local village worker carrying a backpack with the right kinds of medical supplies can absolutely transform, improve the health of the community, save lives and help the community to get on its feet. One of the things that a community health worker carries is the combination of goods needed to fight malaria. In the backpack of a community health worker typically will be three things. First, a rapid diagnostic test which can diagnose malaria without the need for a microscope and a laboratory at a clinic. Second is a medicine carried in the backpack available right in the community. again, the mother doesn’t have to carry a very sick and feverish child febrile child to a clinic. But rather the community health worker can treat the child at home and very effectively. And third, in the backpack is a mobile phone, which changes everything. If you have to call an ambulance, it’s possible now, if you have to call the clinic for advice from the nurse that’s on duty or the doctor that’s on duty, it’s possible. And more and more these phones are also being programmed with expert systems to plugin a patient’s ID number or the results of a test, and then receive the information needed automatically by computer expert system that says that given the test results and given the age and weight of the child, here is the does of medicine that’s needed to address the illness. Absolutely wonderful, and just the beginning of what will be tremendous new IT-enabled public health applications that I believe will provide a kind of leapfrogging to improved heath in the communities. I’m happy to say that the Millennium villages have been an inspiration for many of the host governments to scale up large national programs in malaria control, or AIDS treatment,or help for small holder farmers, or electrification with off-grid solar based systems. And many, many other innovations that have been tested or demonstrated or pioneered in the Millennium Village. These projects are now spreading. What started as ten countries is now around 20, that in one way or another are drawing on the Millennium Village model. And within those countries, what started as individual clusters has now often expanded to national application. It’s exciting to see on the ground this kind of progress. It’s especially thrilling to see what is now possible through improved technologies to make working systems at very low costs for better health, for better education, for access to infrastructure. Because we know that if those systems can work effectively, they can be the key to breaking the poverty trap and enabling very, very poor communities to get on a path of self-sustaining economic development.

The MDGs and the End of Extreme Poverty IV

A Closer Look at Official Development Assistance

We’ve seen through differential diagnosis how targeted investments in agriculture and health, in education, in infrastructure can help a very poor country, or region to spring itself free from extreme poverty. And once it’s free from that trap of extreme poverty, then by virtue of a higher income and the saving that can go along with that higher income, it can begin to make investments on a self sustaining basis.

A big part of the poverty trap however, is that when a country is impoverished, it can’t afford the very investments, for instance, in electrification, or in health and in education, that are the key to raising productivity to put that country onto a self-sustaining growth path. That, of course, is the poverty trap. How to break free of the poverty trap? Well, the, the best is if a incredible technology comes along, that’s even affordable by the poorest of the poor. Mobile telephony is such an example. Mobile phones have spread massively from a few tens of millions a little over 20 years ago, to more than 6 billion subscribers today reaching the poorest parts of the world, on a purely market basis. But alas, most technologies they are not so effective, that markets alone are, enough. We know that helping the poorest people get healthcare even to buy the bed nets to protect them from malaria or the medicines that they need to stay alive after an effective malaria bite by a mosquito, that they don’t often have the money for that low cost life saving measure that’s needed.

541And therein lies the reality of the poverty trap. Certain investments remain out of reach. And therefore, we need to find effective ways to help those countries stuck in extreme poverty get out of the trap. There are two basic ways. One is for poor countries to borrow the funds they need, thereby raising the income. And using a part of that higher income to pay off the debts. Unfortunately, this is a somewhat unreliable process. Maybe the government borrows, but it’s not able to collect the added tax revenues that it needs to service the debts. Of course, creditors understand that. And they don’t lend to some of the world’s poorest countries in the first place. Even international agencies like the International Monetary Fund have said the very poor countries don’t borrow so much, you could get into a debt crisis. The poor country governments say, yes, but what are we to do if we can’t borrow but we still need electricity, we still need clinics, we still need schools and we can’t afford them out of our own incomes. That is where the idea of temporary official development assistance, ODA in the jargon, should come in. The idea’s been around now for more than 40 years on an officially agreed basis. It’s been around in human experience for more than 60 years, really starting with the Marshall Plan funds of the United States to help rebuild Europe after World War II, that a temporary injection of funds, not as a loan but as a grant, to very poor places or maybe places destroyed by war, can jump start a process of self-sustaining growth. It’s important to understand that nobody advocates or should advocate the use of aid or ODA, Official Development Assistance for the long term as a way of life. Advocates of aid and I am very much one of them, believe that it is a temporary easure to give the help to a poor country so that it can make the crucial investments needed so that it can stand on its own and develop on its own. Indeed we use a term aid graduation to say that aid isn’t a permanent way of life. But the countries that receive aid, by virtue of the economic growth that it promotes, reach a level of income, such that that country graduates from the need for aid and graduates from being in the category of an aid recipient.

Roughly speaking, graduation occurs when a country passes from the low income category to the middle income category. Somewhere around $1,000 or $1,200 per person, per year. Now ODA as a concept, was adopted by the world community around 1970. There was a famous commission headed by then, prime minister of, Canada Lester Pearson, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Called partners in development. And it recommended a kind of partnership to enable the poor countries to get out of the poverty trap. Mitt said that rich countries should devote around 1% of their income to help poor countries in meeting basic needs and basic investments. And of that 1% of national income, 7 10ths of that or 0.7 of 1% of national income, should come through official channels, mainly government to government, or at least government to poor countries. And the other 0.3 of 1% should come mainly through private contributions. Corporate contributions or individual contributions or charitable organizations. So back in 1970 and 1971, the United Nations adopted a standard that the high income countries, which became known as donor countries, should give through official channels 0.7 of 1% of their national income in the form of official development assistance. Consider the United States for example. A $15 trillion economy each year. 0.7 of 1% of that is 0.7 of 150 billion, or $105 billion dollars of official development assistance each year.

542That’s the international standard. Alas, the United States isn’t doing anything close to that, because the official development assistance given by the United States is around $30 billion per year, not $105 billion. So rather than being 0.7 of 1% of the national income, it’s closer to 0.2 of 1% of the national income, less than one-third of the international standard. Have a look at how countries are doing in their official development assistance. You can see on this graph that is ordered from the top being the smallest share of national income, to the countries with the biggest bars at the bottom that five countries among the donors reach at least the targeted threshold of 0.7. Some are up to 1% of their national income, purely through official channels. Those five countries are Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg and Netherlands. And those five countries, all for many, many years have honored the 0.7% of national income threshold. At the other end of the spectrum, are countries that give quite low amounts. The United States is one of those, because rather than 0.7 as I mentioned, it’s closer to 0.2. And in many years, it’s dropped even below 2 10ths of 1% of national income. Now, the United States still gives a lot of money in an absolute level. You can see on the graph showing the total amount, not as a share of income, but the total aid. The United States is the world’s largest donor country, with $30 billion a year currently of development assistance. But as a share of the world’s largest economy, that’s a pretty modest amount, even though in absolute dollars, it’s a large amount, and it makes a big difference. What kind of spending does this money support? Official development assistance has to have the following categories. First, the money is going to poor countries. Once in a while, a rich country gives to another rich country, maybe for foreign policy or military reasons. That’s not part of Official Development Assistance. So first, the recipient country has to be eligible. Second, the money has to be provided by an official agency of the donor country, or by money that goes from an official agency to an international organization, like the World Bank, which then gives the money to an eligible recipient country. Third, the money has to be used for economic development. It can’t be used, for example, for military sales. It can’t be used to support troops. It can’t be used to support soccer games or cultural events as nice as those are. Those aren’t counted as official development assistance, because the idea is that the ODA should be for D, that is for development. There is another important distinction to make because aid comes in many shapes, and sizes, and forms. If the aid is given as a, an emergency relief, for instance food in the middle of a famine, it saves lives, it’s humanitarian relief. Similarly, if it’s emergency help after a massive flood, or an earth quake. That’s also counted as aid. But it won’t do more typically than the crucial job of keeping people alive. It’s only compensating for a terrible disaster. The kind of development aid that can help a country make a break through out of poverty is something else. That’s official development assistance that ends up as paved roads or an extended power grid, or clinics, or schools, or support for community health workers. Or antiretroviral medicines to fight AIDS, or insecticide treated bed nets for malaria. So, looking at these two pictures. One kind of aid is for emergency relief. Very valuable, but only compensating for disaster. And the other is aid as a real investment. In this case, in supporting a farmer’s cooperative, a beekeeper’s cooperative to promote economic development. There’s a lot of confusion about whether aid works or not, because not all aid is the same. If a donor agency in a rather cynical way says, we’re going to give, shoe boxes of cash, to warlords because that’ll be good for our war effort or our foreign policy. Or we’re going to give money to such and such government. We know it’s corrupt, but we, for whatever reason, want to support that dictator. Well that can get counted as aid. But it’s not going to do anything for economic development. The kind of development assistance that works, is development assistance that is truly professionally transferred to real investments in critical areas. Such as disease control.  Such as schools, and teachers, and school materials. Such as infrastructure like roads or rail systems. Such as safe drinking water and, sanitation. When that kind of aid is given, the evidence is very strong. Development assistance works. It promotes long term economic development. Make no mistake about it, aid can be wasted, but aid can be crucial to meet human needs, to help countries achieve the millennium development goals. And beyond that, to help countries escape from the poverty trap and get onto a trajectory to end extreme poverty. During the MDG period, my favorite kind of aid has been aid directed at public health needs. And as this graph shows, which measures the total development aid over the period 1990 to 2010 there was a major increase of development assistance, especially after the year 2000. And that increased assistance has played a huge roll in helping to control AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis. In helping to insure that mothers are safe in child birth. That newborns are kept alive and have a chance to thrive. That children can get nutritional benefits, and can be protected against scourges that otherwise would claim their lives or claim their potential. And we have seen the big breakthroughs that have come. The decreases in mortality rates from killer diseases. The declines of the infant and child mortality rates, especially after 2000, when those reduced mortality rates really showed the huge benefits of these kind of targeted investments. Official development assistance, in other words, can make a huge difference, when it’s operated for development and on a professional basis. It can be the difference of success or failure in breaking free of the poverty trap. It comes at very low cost by definition, under 1% of the gross domestic product. The world, the rich world should make that effort, should make that investment so that we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty.

The MDGs and the End of Extreme Poverty III

South Asia: The Continuing Challenge of the Food Supply

We’ve noted that there are two main regions in the world where there is still extensive, extreme poverty. Sub-Saharan Africa, with investments in agriculture and infrastructure, and a rapid reduction of fertility rates can break free of extreme poverty. So to can the second region, South Asia. Indeed, South Asia’s been making notable progress, but there are still around 400 million poor people in South Asia. And still major challenges of poverty in both the rural and the urban areas.

531What distinguishes South Asia from other regions? Of course, many aspects of wondrous culture traditions and physical environment. But the one that I would want to underscore is the extraordinary population density of South Asia. Consider India, with its 1.2 billion people out of 7.2 billion people total in the planet. That’s roughly 15% of the world’s population, yet India has just 2.5% of the world’s land area. And many parts of that land mass of India are very dry, or even desert. Have a look at the map of population density where countries are shaded according to their population density. And you see that India and its next door neighbor, Bangladesh are indeed shaded as two of the most densely populated parts of the world. The numbers indeed are quite staggering. Bangladesh has on average 1,200 people per square kilometer, India about 410 people per square kilometer. The  nited States by contrast has about 32 people per square kilometer. And so, the population density in India is more than 10 times higher than in the United States. And the implications of this throughout India’s history have been adverse. Indian farms are very, very small. Indian farmers traditionally have been able to grow only a small amount of food. And have eked out an existence of poverty in the thousands of Indian villages from time immemorial.

The cities, too are extraordinarily dense and crowded as India’s and South Asia’s cities more generally have increased. Many people thought the situation was hopeless for South Asia looking in the 1950s and 1960s. They said population is already so large and it continues to rise. India and its neighbors don’t have a chance to feed itself. People forecast that there would be mass dying from mass starvation. Bangladesh, when it gained independence in the early 1970s as notoriously called a basket case, absolutely hopeless. 532Now thank goodness this has not proven to be the case. And indeed India has been one of the best economic performers in recent years. And it has taken a pride of place as one of the leaders of the information technology revolution with wonderful engineering wonderful innovation in using information technology for economic development. And through IT it has become integrated into the whole world economy. Often in cutting-edge industries using information technology with great programming and systems developed by India’s engineers, some of the world’s finest. How did this happen? How did India avoid the fate that was so widely predicted for it? Well there we have to start naturally with agriculture, because once again India was overwhelmingly a small holder, peasant society living in villages and living in poverty.

It was a great breakthrough in technology that enabled India to begin this lift off into sustained rapid economic growth. And that breakthrough in technology has been given a famous name that is the green revolution. The revolution in crop yields that really started in Mexico and India in the 1950s, and then has spread to most of the developing countries, still to be enjoyed by Sub-Saharan Africa. What is the Green Revolution?

533Well the Green Revolution starts with the individual pictured here a great hero of mine, Norman Borlaug. A Nobel Peace Prize winner who, as a highly skilled agronomist, a seed breeder, using his great ingenuity developed high-yield seed varieties for wheat, working in Mexico in the 1940s and the 1950s. Norman Borlaug was invited to India in the early 1960s. His counterpart was another absolutely wondrous a, agronomist pictured here, another hero of mine, M S Swaminathan. The two of them took seeds that Norman Borlaug had developed for Mexican conditions and planted them in Indian soils and Indian conditions. First year didn’t work out that well. They looked again. They decided on a different approach The second year proved that lo and behold, Mexico’s varieties developed by Borlaug for Mexican conditions worked beautifully in the Indian conditions. And they decided from that point on, that a green revolution for India could be within technological reach. To make it happen they had to add a third to this great triumvirate, and he’s shown here.

The minister of agriculture of the mid-1960s, Minister Subramaniam. The idea was to multiply the Sonora, Mexico seeds that Norman Borlaug had developed and that M S Swaminathan had helped to prove would work in India. To combine them with fertilizer and irrigation and transport facilitation, so that India could begin to experience a major takeoff of crop yields. Now, the picture you’re looking at here shows the green revolution for the whole developing world. You see that yields up until the mid 1960s were still under 1,000 kilograms per hectare of arable land. That is one ton per hectare. But then, look what happens after that.

534The march up the yield curve to the point where in recent years, yields on average in the developing world have been between 2.5 and three tons per hectare. With many parts of the developing world achieving more than three tons per hectare. Well fortunately, India is one part of that overall green revolution. It hasn’t had the most stupendous of the results but it has had important beneficial results, as shown in this picture. First you see Mexico’s take off. That’s where Norman Borlaug first developed the high yield seeds. India and Pakistan lagged far behind Mexico already by the early 1960s. Mexico had jumped to two tons per hectare, whereas India and Pakistan were averaging still under one ton per hectare of land. Then came India’s green revolution, also undertaken in Pakistan. And the average yields start to rise of all of the feed grains: wheat, rice, maize, and of other grains where improved variety seeds were also developed and combined with fertilizer and good water management. Well, India and Pakistan did not catch up with Mexico, which went on to more than four tons per hectare planted. India and Pakistan have reached more than two tons per hectare. Well over doubling the average yields of the pre-green revolution crops. This has been the key to India feeding itself. To defeating those pessimistic forecasts of mass hunger. And of helping to set off a process of more rapid economic growth. But, there’s a problem.

535The problem is that India’s population growth remained rapid as well. Have a look at India’s population growth. In 1950 India’s population was about 400 million, a huge and already densely populated country. By today, that population has tripled. So while grain production has roughly increased four-fold, population has tripled, not undoing all of the gains per person, but unfortunately undoing many of them. And measuring India’s feedgrain production per person shows what this has meant. Have a look at this graph which shows the feedgrains per capita from the beginning of the 1950s til close to today. The curve was rather significantly rising up until the mid 1970s. The spikes in the curve come from the fact that some years are good monsoon years and others are bad monsoon years. So, some years are extra good yield, and other years are crop failures and even disaster.

But on average the curve was rising up to the early 1980s. It’s really then that the population increase started to bring the whole burden, because the increase of output per person essentially stopped. And from the early 1990s onward India is now producing less feedgrain per person than it did 20 years ago. This has created a new round of troubling hunger. So, when one takes the combination of a green revolution that produced great results. But not as strong as in some other parts of the developing world. And then, a still fast growing population that continues to grow rapidly today.

536 Because the United Nations forecasts that today’s population of 1.2 billion could still reach 1.6, even 1.7 billion Indians within a few decades. We have a problem that India’s rapid development, while very real, is still burdened, held back by problems in the countryside. And we can see this by looking at one stark indicator, and that is childhood stunting. Childhood stunting is an indication of chronic undernutrition of young children. When young children don’t get the nutrients they need, they don’t achieve their potential height for age. And stunting signifies a significant reduction of height per age relative to the potential of a population. When you look at where stunting is in the world today, alas, it is in many parts of tropical Africa. And it is, alas, continuing throughout South Asia, and with India being the country with by far the largest number of children that are stunted.

What’s the conclusion? Well, one could talk about many wondrous aspects of India’s development and its rapid growth in information technology and in areas of manufacturing. Its leadership in global engineering, and India’s real potential. It’s also true to say, as M S Swaminathan has emphasized repeatedly in recent years, India needs a second green revolution. Not exactly like the first one because this time it’s going to have to be oriented not only towards more yields, but it’s going to have to be oriented even more consciously towards protecting the natural environment. India is going to need to get more crop per drop of water, more efficient water use. It’s going to need to get more output per input of fertilizer. Because the extent of pollution caused by the runoff of nitrogen and phosphorous-based fertilizers has also become very large. India is going to have to focus on higher yields on the existing farmland, because further expansion of farmland means the elimination of remaining forest areas and encroachments on very endangered ecosystems. So India needs a second green revolution. That’s going to have to be science based and dependent on very ecologically focused strategies to economize on water, on fertilizer on land use to get the maximum output per unit of input to ensure environmental sustainability. India and South Asia more generally, also face the continuing challenge represented by MDG 3, and that is gender equality. In traditional society women face massive burdens.

537Not allowed to, to be in the labor force. Very subservient, not allowed to own or inherit property. Not allowed to manage money often. And the burdens of gender inequality of course, were passed traditionally from mother to daughter. One of the great breakthroughs therefore  to note in India’s and South Asia’s recent advances is the continued empowerment of women and girls, gender equality in the South Asian context. And one of the greatest ways that this has been accomplished started in next door Bangladesh a country that was viewed as a hopeless basket case in the early 1970s, but pioneered one of the greatest grassroots directions to unlock the poverty trap. And that has been through women’s groups of empowerment and microfinance. You know the famous non-governmental organizations that arose in Bangladesh, Grameen Bank of Mohammad Yunus, the Nobel laureate, Brock and other great NGOs which pioneered women’s empowerment in the villages, and undertook a massive expansion of microfinancing through a group lending process. And it’s because of that, that microfinance spread throughout the world as a new powerful tool for grassroots empowerment, for gender equality, and for a breakthrough out of extreme poverty. One of the notable features of these women’s groups and the microfinance has been that by empowering young women in Bangladesh, it also gave these young women the sense and the incentive to reduce the fertility rate, to have fewer children. After all, the mother’s now in the labor force. She’s earning her own income. And she knows now through knowledge gained through her peers that having fewer children will enable her to invest more in each of her children so that they have a chance for a better life. And when you look at the decline of the fertility rate in Bangladesh, it is wonderful, good news. Back at the time of independence, Bangladesh’s total fertility rate was around seven, meaning that on average, a woman would have seven children. On average that would mean half of them of course, girls. For every 100 women they would be having 700 children, 350 of whom would be girls, and so in one generation 100 mothers would be raising 350 future mothers. You can imagine how rapidly the population would be growing. But because of microfinance, because of women’s empowerment, you see that the fertility rate on a voluntary basis came down extraordinarily rapidly, so that as of today the fertility rate is at the so called replacement level. Each woman on average is having two children, one of them a daughter. Each woman therefore is you could say, replacing herself with a daughter who will become a mother of the next generation. Leading over the longer term to a stabilization of the population and a much, much better chance for economic development. South Asia, like Sub-Saharan Africa therefore has the end of extreme poverty within reach. But it will require a major effort. Another green revolution, focused investments in infrastructure, empowerment of women, and especially completing the demographic transition as well so that India, like Bangladesh, reaches the replacement rate sooner rather than later. Gives itself that added opportunity to combine its wondrous capabilities in services and information technology in industry with a newly renovated ecologically friendly agriculture. And with a society that is running on the full empowerment of its women alongside its men. Go back to start of transcript.

The MDGs and the end of extreme poverty II

A Strategy to End Extreme Poverty in Africa

The end of extreme poverty is within reach. Where is that extreme poverty that remains on the planet? There are roughly 1.2 billion people living below the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.25 per person per day. That number, thankfully, is down sharply from about 1.9 billion in 1990 and as a share of the population of the still growing developing countries, the poverty rate has fallen by more than half to 20% or so in the year 2010. So where are those remaining areas of extreme poverty?

521The most poverty stricken region of world is tropical Sub-Sahara in Africa. Around 40% of the population of tropical Sub-Saharan Africa remains below the poverty line, though fortunately, that rate is declining now and has been declining since the start of the new millennium. The other place with remaining extreme poverty is South Asia. And there, the poverty rate is estimated to be perhaps around 30% of the population. If you take the total numbers there are, are around 400 million people living in extreme poverty in tropical Sub-Saharan Africa, there are around 400 million people living in extreme poverty in South Asia, that’s about 30% of the total in each case. Around 20% of the total population, around 250 million people are still in extreme poverty in East Asia. Though East Asia seen the fastest decline of extreme poverty, because of the rapid growth of China and neighboring countries. Around 10% of the total population of extreme poor, that is around a hundred million people are in North Africa and the Middle East. And the rest, which is around another hundred million are scattered in the remaining regions of the developing world, for instance, in Latin America and the Caribbean.

522So we know, as we’ve noticed on many occasions that the two big areas for breakthrough are Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Let’s take a look at the differential diagnosis for Sub-Saharan Africa and what can be done to help those parts of Sub-Saharan Africa still stuck in extreme poverty to accelerate the progress out of extreme poverty. Have a look at the year to year growth rates of the whole world economy and of Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the change of gross domestic product taken for the whole Sub-Saharan African region and the gross world product looking at a comparison. And what we can see is some very good news, and that is that the average growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa of the overall economy picked up significantly after the year 2000. And indeed, Sub-Saharan African has been achieving economic growth faster than the average of the world economy. Sub-Saharan Africa has been growing at around 5% per year, now remember the rule of 70 if Sub-Saharan Africa’s growing at 5% per year, divide 70 by 5 that’s 14. That says that the period it takes for the African economy to double in size would be about 14 years. So, something’s going right and it’s possible even to get faster progress. If we make a differential diagnosis of Africa’s problems, of course we see that in those seven big categories where we want to investigate, there are challenges and issues in nearly all of them. In the physical geography, we’ve seen the problems of disease, and the number of land-locked countries, and the distance of population to the coast, which cry out for improved transport infrastructure, which cry out for improved public health, for example, to combat malaria, a geographically determined disease.

524We’ve seen problems cultural attitudes of very high fertility rates in very poor places. Meaning that very poor households that have six or seven or eight children are not able to provide the investments in health care, nutrition and education that their children need to get out of poverty. Of course there have been many political failures and geo-political failures as well. A lot of violence, many wars, though fortunately many of those wars have come to an end. So there are places that have been stuck in conflict that have a chance for development, now that peace, if fragile is present and providing a new foundation for economic development. I think its fair to say that we would want to look at four categories of investment in Africa for that breakthrough. The first is in rural development. Especially to spur agricultural development.

The second is in the urban areas. Africa throughout its history has been predominantly rural, but it’s fast urbanizing and therefore, productive dynamic cities that can meet the needs of their populations is crucial. The third category, broadly I would say is the national infrastructure. The road network. The rail network. The power grids. The management at large scale of water resources. Because Africa, historically, has been bereft of the vital infrastructure that it needs for national or regional development. And the fourth big category that I would bid us to look at is demography and that is the challenge of Africa’s still very, very fast population growth. So let’s take a look at some of that. Turn first to the challenge of agriculture, as you can see in this map, which shows according to color the productivity of agriculture, measured as the amount of grain produced on each hectare of farmland, we see that Africa is among the low yield parts of the world. On average, small holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa have gotten a yield that is a grain output per hectare of farmland generally of between half a ton and one ton of grain per hectare. Now, this is not good in international comparative terms. Many countries have three or four or five tons of grain per hectare of farm land. And in the most productive grain-belts of the world, those yields can rise even to ten times Africa’s yield. Some farms getting ten tons of rice, or maize, or wheat per hectare of land. What’s the cause of this? Well, African farming faces many obstacles.

One is that the farmers traditionally have been too poor to be able to keep the soils filled with the nutrients needed. Especially with the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus needed to have high yields of crops. If you don’t feed your crops with a decent nutrients, you don’t get growth. And in Africa, the soils have been relatively bereft of the key nutrients that are needed for farmers to get a high yield. The next map shows us why. In all other parts of the world, farmers used extensive fertilizers, both organic and chemical to replenish the key nutrients, especially the so called macro nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that are taken out with each crop. When a crop is harvested, out go the nutrients. Somehow those nutrients have to be put back in, whether in green manures so called of organic farms or whether through chemical fertilizer, which puts nitrogen back into the soil. But Africa’s peasant farmers have been so poor that they have been farming without the advantage of those added nutrients. And that has kept them in a poverty trap. Because of their poverty, they can’t buy the fertilizers that they need, whether organic or chemical. Their soils therefore continue to be depleted of key nutrients. The yields remain low. And year after year, the farmers get a very, very meager income and farm families face tremendous bouts of hunger. It’s not only the fertilizer input that’s key, other inputs necessary for high yields include water management through irrigation. And that requires wells and pumps, typically. And good seed varieties where seeds are bred through a variety of means to give high yields. And African farmers traditionally have lacked the means to invest in irrigation and to invest in high yield seeds in just the same way that they’ve lacked the means to replenish the soil nutrients. It all adds up to an agricultural poverty trap. It all tells us that a high priority for Africa to breakout of extreme poverty is to invest in its small holder farmers with government programs that enable even the poorest farmers to get the inputs that they need whether on credit or as a grant so that they can have higher yields, higher income and thereby start investing in these crucial inputs and then peasant farmers stuck in poverty,can become commercial farmers earning a good income and then using a part of that improved income to keep making the investments in soil nutrients, in water management, and in improve seed varieties. Now to bring this about requires investment in infrastructure.

525 We’ve already looked at the difference in the railroad map of Africa and India, but let’s look again. Remember that in India, the rail network was a complete grid created by British imperial rule. Whereas in Africa, you just have small, rail lines not even connected with each other, typically running from a single diamond mine or gold mine, or maybe from a plantation area to a port. Well that’s a big problem, even for agriculture. Because farmers need to be able to buy fertilizer at low cost. They need to be able to market their grain output and other output at low transport cost. And if the transport network doesn’t exist to bring the inputs to the farm and to bring the produce from the farm to the market, eats up a tremendous amount of the potential income, so investing in the basic transport infrastructure, whether it’s the road network, or whether it’s the rail network, is also absolutely crucial. Other aspects of infrastructure are also especially important in the 21st century. I would say it should be taken as a given that there can be no economic development on a sustained basis without electrification. But have a look at this well known world picture taken by satellite by NASA of the Earth at night which basically tells us where there are lights on due to an electricity grid. And you can see the bright lights of the United States. The bright lights of Europe, the lights of China and Japan, the lights of the Arabian Peninsula and of India. But look at sub-Saharan Africa. Its lights out at night. A large part of rural Africa, and that’s the predominant part of the African population, still lacks access to electricity. And that means not only not having lights at night for children to study and for being able to go about one’s activities at home. But it means the lack of reliable power for pumping water, for irrigation, for refrigeration for preservation of agricultural outputs for processing of food for textiles and apparel and every other kind of manufacturing activity. The absence of electrification has been a huge barrier and another aspect of Africa’s poverty trap. Without electricity, productivity is very low. Poverty means the inability to invest in the electricity that could help lift the region out of poverty. That’s the poverty trap once again. The vicious circle. It has to be broken either by Africa taking loans to invest in infrastructure, such as electrification. Or by receiving grants and development assistance that would enable Africa, through the help of richer countries and international organizations to be able to undertake those investments, even if they can’t be afforded out of Africa’s income itself. Now in the 21st century, another aspect of infrastructure worth mentioning is information technology. And here there’s good news. Because these technologies are so powerful and the costs of bringing them in have come down so much that Africa now has massive access to mobile telephony, reaching even the most remote villages. It has several submarine cables of fiber optics surrounding the continent and bringing increasingly the Internet and broadband connectivity to Africa. Like the rest of the world, Africa is now poised for a breakthrough. By targeted investments in agricultural productivity, targeted investments in the core infrastructure of Africa’s fast-growing cities, targeted investments in the national scale infrastructure such as the road and rail network, or the fiber network, Africa can make a breakthrough that has eluded it throughout its history. But there is one final point that is key, and that is that Africa, like the other parts of the developing world, also needs that rapid, voluntary reduction of fertility rates, so that economic growth can keep ahead of a rapidly growing population. Back in 1950, Africa’s population was only 180 million people in the Sub-Saharan region. By now, that population has increased roughly five times to a population of around 900 million. On the current fertility estimates, Africa’s population would continue to soar. So that by the end of the 21st century, Africa’s population would be an astounding 3.8 billion people. This is too much for Africa’s physical environment, for the water and for the crop yields, especially in an era of climate change. It’s too much for very poor families needing to invest in the health and the nutrition and the education of their children. So, in addition to the investments in agriculture, in health and education, in roads, in rail, in fiber optics, in electrification, Africa too needs to invest in the rapid voluntary reduction of fertility rates of today’s poor households making sure that family planning and modern contraception are available, making sure that young girls aren’t forced to drop out of school, because they lack the income to go on, but have the opportunity to go on to a full secondary education, and a university education, so that girls don’t end up illiterate, married young, and starting on another cycle of poverty with six or seven or eight children. When Africa puts together that fore fold strategy of rural, urban infrastructure and demographic transformation, all within reach, Africa, like the rest of the world, will break free of the poverty trap, and by 2030 indeed can end extreme poverty.521

The MDGs and the end of extreme poverty I

The reasons to believe that extreme poverty can be ended

We’ve studied the process of modern economic growth and we’ve seen how economic progress has diffused throughout the world[1]. We’ve adopted the method of differential diagnosis so that we can help regions that are still stuck in low growth or even in a poverty trap to overcome that trap through a careful, evidence based diagnosis of the problems. Therefore, we’ve arrived at a very exciting moment.

511The world is poised, for the first time in human history, to end the scourge of extreme poverty. It may seem fanciful to many people and may seem Utopian, but it’s real. The rate of extreme poverty has been falling. The evidence is clear, it can continue to fall, can decline sufficiently rapidly that this generation could be the generation that sees the end of extreme poverty. Now, what the differential diagnosis tells us is that it won’t happen by itself. It’s not automatic, but the end of poverty is within reach. Just take a look at the numbers. Back in 1980, the World Bank estimates that a little bit more than half of the world’s population in developing countries, perhaps 55 to 60%, were in extreme poverty using the World Bank’s criterion of living at less than $1.25 per person per day, measured in purchasing power adjusted prices. By 1990 that poverty rate had come down to around 44 or 45%.

But since 1990, the progress has been specatcular. From 1990 to 2010, the poverty rate in the developing world fell by more than half. From around 44% to around 20% in the year 2010. And it continues to decline now. This is the reason why finance ministers and development leaders gathered at the World Bank in the year 2013, voted to make the World Bank’s target and mission, to be supportive of the end of extreme poverty by the year 2030. In other words, our generation could be the one to see end of extreme poverty. It’s our job, of course, to understand how this could happen and then to act to make it happen. Before we get to the strategy up to 2030, let me turn back the clock to 1930. It was the depths of the Great Depression, there was a lot of poverty in today’s high income world as well as in the poor countries, the developing world. John Maynard Keynes, that great political economist of the 20th century, wrote a wonderful essay, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. That’s the one where Keynes noted that from the time of the Roman Empire, up until the 18th century, the rate of technological progress had been extraordinarily low, so low in fact, that a peasant from the Roman Empire would have felt at home in rural England in the early years of the 1700s. But Keynes went on in that essay to note the explosion of technology of the Industrial Revolution, and he drew, in 1930, in the depths of the Great Depression, a startling lesson from that technological progress. Because you could imagine in the Great Depression, with mass unemployment, and with the pessimism around, that one could have been overwhelmed feeling that economic progress was at an end. But Keynes said no, let’s look more deeply. Technological change means that even though we have a serious short-run crisis, the long-run is promising. Let me quote what John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1930. And I quote. I would predict that the standard of life in progressive countries 100 years hence will be between four and eight times as high as it is today. There would be nothing surprising in this, even in the light of our present knowledge. It would not be foolish to contemplate the possibility of a far greater progress still. I draw the conclusion, says Keynes, that assuming no important wars and no important increase of population, the economic problem, by that, he means the problem of poverty, may be solved, or be at least within sight of solution, within a 100 years.

This means that the economic problem is not, if we look into the future, the permanent problem of the human race. It’s interesting, 1930, John Maynard Keynes says the economic problem meaning the persistence of poverty, could be a thing of the past within one century and it’s exactly at that century mark that the World Bank now contemplates the realistic end of extreme poverty. A pretty good call. Now, John Maynard Keynes said that he could foresee this if there was no significant increase of population. Of course there has been, because when he wrote in 1930, the world population was 2 billion. Now it’s 7.2 billion, more than three times as large, and by the middle of this century it will be more than 9 billion, most likely. He also said that barring world war. But of course, there was another major war, the Second World War. And despite both of those facts, the massive increase of world population and the continuing tragedies and destruction of war. Keynes’ basic insight, that technological progress can bring about the end of poverty, remains true, and it remains prescient, because we are at the cusp of that final push to end extreme poverty, if we decide to make it happen.

512Now in the year 2000, a remarkable thing did happen. 160 plus leaders of the world gathered together in September 2000, at the United Nations, to usher in the new millennium. And when they did so, they wanted to convey the hope of the new millennium. So the Secretary General of the United Nations, at that time, Kofi Annan, put forward to the world leaders, a millennium declaration. That called for the new millennium to realize the great hopes for human rights, for peace and security, and for economic development and the reduction of extreme poverty that humanity yearns for. The world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration and within it adopted specific development goals, which have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.  Eight ambitious goals to fight extreme poverty adopted in September 2000 and to carry us to the end of 2015. And you are looking now at the schematic of these eight Millennium Development Goals, drawn as a cartoon for each goal, but that by itself is a telling point because these goals are not for high theorists they’re not for the textbooks, they’re for all of us.

They’re for humanity to grasp. To promote, to urge our governments to take seriously, and for us to take seriously in our individual actions, in our roles in business, or academia, or in our places of worship, or workplaces so that we can each contribute to the end of extreme poverty. Have a look at the eight goals. Goal number 1 calls for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Goal number 2 is to achieve universal primary education. Goal number 3 is to promote gender equality. So that women, like men, have rights and, and access for economic progress. So that girls as well as boys go to school and get a decent education. Goal number 4 is to reduce sharply child mortality. Goal number 5 is to reduce sharply maternal mortality and ensure safe and healthy pregnancy for mothers and for their children. Goal number 6 was to fight the raging pandemic diseases of AIDS, TB, Malaria and other mass killers. Goal number 7 is to promote environmental sustainability. And goal number 8 is to promote a global partnership, where by the rich countries help the poor countries to achieve the first seven goals.

513Now in fact, beneath this general description, are some specific quantitative targets and many dozen indicators. For the eight Millennium Development Goals, there are 21 targets, specific and quantified, and there are around 60 detailed indicators to measure the progress. It’s been my honor and pleasure to serve as Special Adviser, first to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, and now to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals. And to help analyze and to help coordinate the UN’s efforts to enable and support poor countries to achieve all of these Millennium Development Goals. It’s been a wondrous process to see how this kind of goal setting can energize civil society.

Can help to reorient governments that may have been neglecting crucial issues of disease control or the safety of childbirth or ensuring that all children go to school. And to reorient priorities, political awareness, budgets to achieve these goals. But progress has been notable, and breakthroughs have occurred for some of the world’s poorest countries. Have a look at the overall trend of extreme poverty, as measured by the World Bank at the $1.25 per person per day threshold. And what you see here is that sharp decline, which I mentioned just previously. That from a poverty rate of around 44% in 1990, the poverty rate has come down to around 20% in 2010 and it continues downward today. The millennium development goals by themselves certainly did not accomplish all of that reduction of poverty.

514There was a powerful trend underway. China’s remarkable economic growth is a big part of the story. But we’ve seen parts of the world and notably tropical sub Saharan Africa achieve a real breakthrough in faster economic growth and therefore in the reduction of poverty after the year 2000 spurred on by the millennium Development Goals. Here you’re looking at the rapid increase of the number of people kept alive by antiretroviral medicines when they are infected with the HIV virus. Now the HIV virus, if not stopped in its tracks by antiretroviral medicines, causes AIDS. And causes a near certain death. But because of the Millennium Development Goals and programs that it has helped to spur, millions and millions of people now receive life-saving antiretroviral medicines. The reduction of malaria burden that has been achieved by the scaling up of focus and attention and budgets to fight malaria through the range of modern technologies. Long lasting insecticide treated bed nets, a new generation of anti malaria medicines and many other advances that have been enabled through better technologies during the last decade. And this is causing a remarkable decline of malaria deaths and malaria disease, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa since the peak was reached in the early 2000s. Well, we can see that the combination of continued rapid technological change, and a good differential diagnosis that helps us to focus investments where the poorest places need it. Whether it’s in infrastructure or healthcare, or getting children in school or safe drinking water and sanitation, gives us a very powerful combination to not only witness the underlying forces of poverty reduction, but to help spur them on so that we can be the generation that brings an end to that long standing human scourge of extreme poverty. The Millennium Development Goals have given us a big push up to the year 2015 and one more major effort form 2015 to 2030 will vindicate John Maynard Keynes’s forecast. A 100 years before that. That the economic problem of extreme poverty can come to an end.




Notes for a Sustentabele Development

In next few days W’ill work on the issus of Sustentable Development.

This MOOC provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, and draws upon the most recent developments in the social, policy and physical sciences. It describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth’s physical environment, and addresses issues of environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development. We aims to achive a broad overview of the key challenges and potential solutions to achieve development in the 21st century.

We writ on the basis of lesson and up dates Professor Sachs and the MOOC staff about any important course-related information.

  1. Lecture 1: What is Sustainable Development?
    1. Chapter 1: Introduction to Sustainable Development
    2. Chapter 2: Economic Growth and Progress
    3. Chapter 3: Continuing Poverty
    4. Chapter 4: Environmental Threats
    5. Chapter 5: Business As Usual Versus Sustainable Development
  2. Lecture 2: Economic Development – How We Measure It, How It Varies Around the World
    1. Chapter 1: Incomes Around the World
    2. Chapter 2: Urban/Rural Inequality
    3. Chapter 3: Income Inequality Within Countries
    4. Chapter 4: Measuring Wellbeing
    5. Chapter 5: Convergence or Divergence?
  3. Lecture 3: A Short History of Economic Development
    1. Chapter 1: Economic Development is New, Starting Around 1750
    2. Chapter 2: The Industrial Revolution Starts in England
    3. Chapter 3: The Great Waves of Technological Change
    4. Chapter 4: The Diffusion of Economic Growth
    5. Chapter 5: Economic Development Since World War II: The Making of Globalization
  4. Lecture 4: Why Did Some Countries Advance While Others Remained in Poverty?
    1. Chapter 1: The Idea of Clinical Economics
    2. Chapter 2: The Role of Physical Geography: Transport, Energy, Disease, Crops
    3. Chapter 3: The Role of Culture: Demography, Education, Gender
    4. Chapter 4: The Role of Politics
    5. Chapter 5: Which Countries Are Still Stuck in Poverty?
  5. Lecture 5: The MDGs and the End of Extreme Poverty
    1. Chapter 1: The Reasons to Believe that Extreme Poverty Can Be Ended
    2. Chapter 2: A Strategy to End Extreme Poverty in Africa
    3. Chapter 3: South Asia: The Continuing Challenge of the Food Supply
    4. Chapter 4: A Closer Look at Official Development Assistance
    5. Chapter 5:  Designing Practical Interventions: The Case of Millennium Villages
  6. Lecture 6: Growth within Planetary Boundaries
    1. Chapter 1: The Planetary Boundaries
    2. Chapter 2: Growth Dynamics
    3. Chapter 3: Growth and Planetary Boundaries: The Case of Energy
    4. Chapter 4: Growth and Planetary Boundaries: The Case of Food
    5. Chapter 5: Growth and Planetary Boundaries: The Case of Population
  7. Lecture 7: Human Rights and Gender Equality
    1. Chapter 1: The Ethics of Wealth, Poverty, and Inequality
    2. Chapter 2: Major UN Covenants and Declarations
    3. Chapter 3: Divided Societies
    4. Chapter 4: Forces of Widening Inequalities
    5. Chapter 5: Gender Inequity
  8. Lecture 8:  Education
    1. Chapter 1: Life-Cycle Approach to Human Development
    2. Chapter 2: Early Childhood Development
    3. Chapter 3: The Rising Returns to Education and the Supply Response
    4. Chapter 4: Social Mobility
    5. Chapter 5: The Role of Higher Education in Sustainable Development
  9. Lecture 9: Universal Health Coverage
    1. Chapter 1: The Human Right to Health
    2. Chapter 2: Poverty and Disease
    3. Chapter 3: Designing and Financing a Primary Health System in Low-Income Settings
    4. Chapter 4: Ten Recommended Steps to Health for All in the Poorest Countries
    5. Chapter 5: The Challenges of Health Coverage in High-Income Countries
  10. Lecture 10: Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger
    1. Chapter 1: Malnutrition
    2. Chapter 2: Farm Systems, Ecology, and Food Security
    3. Chapter 3: How Environmental Change Threatens the Food System
    4. Chapter 4: How the Food System Threatens the Environment
    5. Chapter 5: Towards a Sustainable Global Food Supply
  11. Lecture 11: Sustainable Cities
    1. Chapter 1: The Patterns of Urbanization Around the World
    2. Chapter 2: What Makes a City Sustainable?
    3. Chapter 3: Smart Infrastructure
    4. Chapter 4: Urban Resilience
    5. Chapter 5: Planning for Sustainable Development
  12. Lecture 12: Curbing Climate Change
    1. Chapter 1: The Basic Science of Climate Change
    2. Chapter 2: Consequences
    3. Chapter 3: Mitigation
    4. Chapter 4: Adaptation
    5. Chapter 5: Mitigation Policies
  13. Lecture 13: Saving Biodiversity
    1. Chapter 1: What is Biodiversity?
    2. Chapter 2: Biodiversity Under Threat
    3. Chapter 3: Oceans and Fisheries
    4. Chapter 4: Deforestation
    5. Chapter 5: International Dynamics
  14. Lecture 14: The Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals at Rio +20
    1. Chapter 1: The Sustainable Development Goals
    2. Chapter 2: Goal-Based Development
    3. Chapter 3: Financing for Sustainable Development
    4. Chapter 4: Principles of Good Governance
    5. Chapter 5: Is Sustainable Development Feasible

Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger V

Towards a Sustainable Global Food Supply

Creating a sustainable farm system around the world is absolutely vital to feed a growing world population. And to reduce the tremendous pressures that our current farm system, or systems around the world, are already placing on the Earth and many of the key ecosystems on the planet. We can think about what will happen if we continue with business as usual. And contrast that with what we really need to do, which is to reshape our own behavior with regard to food and to reshape the farm systems that produce food to create an alternative of trajectory, a trajectory of sustainable development. What are the threats of the business as usual path? The chart before you attempts to summarize those risks and to give an expert assessment of how serious the particular risks are in particular regions of the world.

1051The boxes that are shaded red are major alerts that these are places in the world and kinds of challenges that are of the first order of significance. The boxes that are yellow are like yellow warning signs, things could get bad in these areas with regard to these particular threats. Business as usual, for example, will mean increasing food insecurity in some parts of the world. The places at greatest threat are Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the two epicenters of under-nutrition. But also one would add North Africa and the Middle East. Why? Because this is a place where all of the climate evidence suggests there will be significant drying in the future, and therefore, crop production will be under even greater threat than it is today. Certainly the business as usual course will put dangers in East Asia and Southeast Asia as well because there will be places of tremendous water stress. There will be places where higher temperatures play havoc with the food supply. Malnutrition in the sense of deep undernourishment, of course, will continue to have it’s intense epicenter in Sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia. But the other kind of malnutrition, obesity. On a business as usual path is likely to worsen significantly in North America, in many parts of Latin America, it’s already epidemic proportions in Mexico for example, in Europe, and with serious risks in Southeast Asia, in in East Asia. And in India and in other parts of South Asia as well. Land use change we know will have huge costs especially in the rain forest regions. That means in Latin America, in Sub-Saharan Africa. And in parts of Southeast Asia. Soil degradation is already a major crisis in, in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. In many place in south and in east Asia, where the land has already eroded the soils often have been swept away because of trying to grow crops on steep slopes for example. Or in places where the winds blow the topsoil away, as is occurring in many parts of China. We know that biodiversity loss is threatened pervasively. One could say that the threats are moderately or acutely high in every region of the world. One can think about losses in the rain forest regions, one can think about losses in the places likely to experience serious drying such as the Mediterranean basin. One can think about losses of biodiversity in places where population growth is so rapid that encroachments on land that are bound to threaten and profoundly imperil biodiversity as is occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. The chart in other words by region, by risk. Is filled and while there are a few regions that escape some of the risks, there are no regions that escape all of the risks. And today’s poor regions are of course as is usual with poverty, at extreme peril because they’re already living on the edge. They’re already people living in fragile environments, for example in tropical ecosystems in dryland ecosystems, part of the their poverty has come from the fact that the, natural environment is already fairly inhospitable. But with environmental change, what is now a difficult environment, can be a, an impossible environment to support human life. When that happens, not only will people suffer, will people die, will there be conflict, there will be migration. And there will be environmental refugees created by the millions, the tens of millions, even the hundreds of millions. And we know, sad to say in a world which does not do well with migration. Where newcomers, especially poor newcomers that are forced to move ,uh, can face a very, very hostile environment to when they arrive and so we’re in for a lot of trouble if we maintain this business as usual trajectory. What to do? How to move to a sustainable development trajectory? Again, because of the complexity of the food system, the fact that we’re talking about land use, the fact that we’re concerned about nitrogen use, the fact that we’re concerned about chemical pollutants, the fact that we’re concerned about the vulnerability of crops to higher temperatures or more water stress. Means that the kinds of responses that are needed, also are going to have be varied, holistic in nature, and carefully tailored to local contexts. Boy, that makes this among the toughest challenges that we face because the world is in crisis. The problems will get worse. It’s not easy to say that one region will bail out the others because all regions will have stresses. And also there will be no magic key that suddenly will sweep the world, and make it possible to solve this problem. Each region is going to have to identify its own pathways to sustainable agriculture. What are some of the things that can be done? The first is to improve our ability to grow food. And to be more productive in terms of higher yields, and more resilient in terms of the ability of food crops to withstand the shocks that we know are already coming. Just as Norman Borlaug and his colleagues Emma Swaminathan and Minister Supranamian. That triumvirate made possible the Indian Green Revolution and comparable events in other parts of the world where higher yields came because of the advent of high yield varieties combined with fertilizer inputs and often with irrigation. We’re going to need another Green Revolution of new crop varieties that are going to be especially propitious for the challenges that we face. For some regions this will mean a special importance of drought resistant varieties. Because the frequency of serious droughts is likely to become much higher. We know that certain plants in nature have a high level of drought tolerance. The plant scientists now are attempting to identify those genes and through various means, conventional plant breeding or the use of genetic modification as it’s called, create new crop varieties that also share, the drought resistance. Partly the natural breeding has helped to develop new seed varieties that are better able to withstand bouts of of low rainfall, in other words dry spells during the growing season. GMOs, the genetically modified organisms, or GMO crops have taken the experimental pathway of identifying the gene complexes in naturally occurring, drought tolerant plants. And transplanting those gene complexes into crops that for the food supply. Now many, many people find this idea of genetic modification to be very threatening, very dangerous, and it poses risks to the environment and potentially to human health. So, whatever is done in this research domain of using cutting edge genomics, both to identify potential genes that can add to crop traits that are desirable, and then to transplant them into food varieties to raise the resilience of those crops. Needs to be tightly monitored and tightly regulated. But I would argue, despite some critics of this technology, that we should certainly test these technologies to see what they have to offer. They seem very promising. That by identifying genes for drought resistance or by identifying genes for saline tolerance, for saline soils, or for identifying genes as shown in this picture for the ability of rice to resist submergence. We can get major advances. What you’re looking at in this picture is a transplanted gene from a species of rice that is able to tolerate being underwater for several days and still survive. To the kinds of rice that are normally grown in Bangladesh, in India, in Pakistan or other parts of Asia, that don’t have that submergence trait. Turns out, wonderfully, taking that gene for submergence and putting it into popular, high yield traits for rice, has led to high yield, submergence-tolerant rice a wonderful breakthrough for farmers in Bangladesh that suffer repeated episodes of submergence of their rice. Those who say don’t even go that way with technology aren’t thinking, in my opinion, clearly enough about the needs of that farm family in Bangladesh to have this kind of variety. We shouldn’t dismiss a whole class of technology, because while it may pose risks those risks are controllable, monitorable and the technology itself can offer important breakthroughs. Now, relatedly is a second step of what can be done. And this is to make crop varieties more nutritious. Not only to grow better in harsh conditions, but to express more nutrients and this is the idea that you’re looking at, in this picture of so-called Golden Rice. This is a, a crop that has been developed by the International Rice Research, Rice Research Institute, in Los Banos, Philippines the Rice Research Institute that helped bring the Green Revolution in rice. Now what scientists at IRRI, I-R-R-I, are doing is to put in genes that express beta carotene, a precursor for vitamin A. So the children who eat this rice, and you see how it’s golden or looks more red, a little bit more like a carrot carrot color then have the vitamin A that they need for health. And we’ve already identified that vitamin A deficiency is one of the key kinds of hidden hunger. How wonderful it will be if a nutritious rice that provides a basis for vitamin A can successfully be diffused and taken up by populations of rice eaters around the world. A third direction for us, absolutely essential is known as precision farming or information rich farming. This is already being used in high income countries by relatively wealthy farmers who can afford high tech approaches. But in coming years, because of the declining costs of information technology, it will increasingly be used by by poor farmers as well. What precision farming means is having a much more precise application of fertilizer, for example. Just in the places where the soils require it. Not in the places where it’s not used and just in the amounts that can be taken up by the plants without experiencing the harmful side effects of the massive run off or loss of that fertilizer, both into the waterways and into the atmosphere. Precision agriculture depends on information technologies, on detailed mapping of soil types, often on on global positioning systems that can tell a farmer exactly where that farmer is in the field, and what’s happening in the soil in that part of the farm. That relates more to, to a more general category of, better nutrient management through better soil testing, soil mapping using a, a local chemistry. Even reading the qualities of the soil on handheld devices. Or from satellite, it will be possible to get a much more detailed resolution of soil needs. What needs to be added here, what needs to be added there, where’s fertilizer not needed or needed only in very small amounts? And that sort of nutrient management of the soils offers places with soil nutrient depletion a massive potential boost in yields, Africa  being number one in the line for that. It also offers the chances for places that use far too much fertilizer, like China, to cut down very, very sharply on the fertilizer use. Another breakthrough is water management. Of course, we need to apply less water to get more crop per drop, because we’re depleting the scarce water we have, and the conditions will get tougher in the future. Not only because of the depletion, but because of the climate change. Another major breakthrough that offers us a real boost will be better harvesting, storage, and transport of crops. To avoid the very large losses, sometimes estimated as, as much as a third, or even 40% of the crops to post-harvest loss, to pests, to rotting to rodents, to physical loss of the crops left to exposure to rains and so forth. Simple means of more effective storage systems at very,very low cost and better incentive systems and empowerment of local farmer cooperatives to invest in community-based storage facilities offer a tremendous hope for reducing losses in the value chain of agriculture. With big gains not only for farm incomes, but also big gains in effective productivity of the farm systems, and our ability to ease up on the big human pressures, on the farm systems. Next I would argue that better business models  for poor smallholders is vital not only for ending extreme poverty but also for making all of these investments in more efficient crop varieties, more efficient irrigation more efficient water management, more efficient storage. There is productivity through aggregation into farmer cooperatives. Farmer based organizations, new kinds of models, new connections to local, regional, and global value chains that are already proving their worth. And finally, we have to take responsibility ourselves for our health. And for the way we approach the issues of food. When we have massive epidemics of obesity. We know that something is seriously wrong. A lot of it comes from the fact that we have heavily subsidized the wrong kinds of foods. We’ve heavily subsidized carbohydrates or trans fats, or other kinds of, of foods stuff that are absolutely unhealthy in the ways that they’re being consumed right now. And, our economic incentives have often played against the very kinds of foods that are better for our diets, for our health. We have subsidized in effect the feed grains that have led to massive and the evidence shows from a health point of view, an environmental point of view, overconsumption of beef in the United States and Europe. To the point where so much meat is eaten that it’s bad for human health, contributing to cardiovascular and other diseases, and it’s exceedingly bad for the environment when we are deploying ten or fifteen kilograms of feed grain for every kilogram of beef that is consumed. Tremendously multiplying the burdens on the land, on fertilizer use, on water supplies, aggravating all of the natural problems. We’re also aggravating these problems by diverting food production, or what should be food production, into the gas tank. In the United States through absurd subsidies driven more by politics than by any common sense or ecology, we’ve turned a significant part of our annual food and feed grain production, especially of maize into ethanol for automobiles. It’s a miserable deal because so much resources used to produce that ethanol. It’s creating no savings for the natural environment but what it is doing is diverting a tremendous amount of food and feed grain away from the the food systems. It’s pushing up food prices. It’s putting extra pressures on the natural environment. It is being done at the behest of a few powerful companies with powerful lobbies in Washington. And Europe isn’t off the hook because it has a similar problem of biofuels diverting valuable farmland in Europe. The pathway to sustainable development involves behavioral change, public awareness, taking responsibility, and the mobilization of new systems and new technologies that can dramatically reduce the pressures on the natural environment. And help to make our economy and our way of life more resilient to the environmental changes that are already underway. It’s a huge problem and a huge challenge. It’s an unsolved one. It’s one of the areas that will require the most intensive kinds of problem solving, at local levels all around the world, during the period of the sustainable development goals from 2015 to 2030, the years that lie ahead.

Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger IV

How the Food System Threatens the Environment

So we have a big problem. The problem is how to grow enough food and the right kind of food for a healthy and growing population. And we’ve seen that the problem’s going to get tougher as the population grows. And as the environmental threats multiply in the coming years. But the problem’s even more complicated. And that is that agriculture itself is one of the major causes of environmental threat.

The agricultural sector is the single most important sector from the point of view of human-induced climate change, and other environmental damages to the planet. I always find this a little bit counterintuitive. I think the automobile age, that must be the big, damage to the environment the energy system and fossil fuels. Of course those are huge factors in climate change and in environmental costs. But if we look at a particular sector of the economy we come back to the original one, to food production itself. And to agriculture more generally as the key human activity that puts the most pressures on the planet. What kinds of pressures? I think it’s worth mentioning quickly, before delving more deeply into three of them, the range of pressures that the agricultural system and farm practices put on the planet. First is greenhouse gasses.

1041We’ll turn to this in some detail, but the farm sector is a major emitter of the three main greenhouse gasses; carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. And this by itself means that farm practices need to be rethought as we desperately need to move to a low carbon and a low greenhouse gas emission world.

The second major impact Is through something very rarely discussed in in in the, the public but of increasing concern among specialists and that is on the nitrogen cycle. There’s a natural nitrogen cycle our atmosphere is 79% nitrogen in the form of N2. That kind of nitrogen is inert odorless without taste and not very useful, actually, for us. But nitrogen in it’s reactive forms of nitrates and nitrites and ammonia and ammonium, ion, and, its other reactive forms is absolutely vital for us and for all the rest of, living, species. Because nitrogen’s the backbone of amino acids and of proteins, it’s absolutely core to our metabolism, and to every aspect of our lives, including the ability to grow food. It’s for that reason we put a lot of nitrogen on the soil in the form of nitrogen-based fertilizers, to help feed the nutrients to our crops so that our crops feed us. But the damage of that human intervention into a natural nitrogen cycle is enormous. We’ll look at that in just a moment.

A third major way that the farm system impacts on the planet is the destruction of habitat for other species. Not entirely surprising when we consider that 40% of the total land area of the planet is agricultural land whether the arable land or the meadows and pasturelands. Humanity’s already grabbed so much of the land area for us, but it’s grabbing more, especially in the form of deforestation, and the rain forests that are at risk right now are places of incredible and irreplaceable biodiversity. And so one of the major ways that the earth is vulnerable to the sixth rate extinction wave that we have already discussed is through the tropical rain forest deforestation, which is part of the ongoing process of clearing lands for arable and for pasture land.

There are many other ways, which I’ve mentioned, where the environment is at threat from farming activity. The pesticides, the herbicides, the other chemicals that are used in farm production are a major threat to biodiversity. And especially the massive amounts of water that are used, around 70% of the total human use of fresh water goes through agriculture with only 10% going through household use and the remaining 20% or so for industrial processes. Agriculture is a voracious user of water and that water, itself, is under threat. So, for all of these reasons, the agriculture sector Is a key driver of anthropogenic environmental loss, and we’re going to need to change technologies and processes and patterns of land use to make the food system compatible with a sustainable planet. Let’s have a look at the first of those three drivers that I discussed. Climate change, nitrogen cycle, and land use where I want to look more deeply at the role of agriculture.

This pie chart shows us the estimated total amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted, allocated across the various sectors of the economy. The power sector for example, through the burning of coal, oil and gas, is responsible for a massive amount of CO2 emissions, and for an estimated 24%, roughly a quarter of the total greenhouse gas emissions.

The transport sector, the internal combustion engine in the cars and in the trucks, is responsible for an estimated 14% of total emissions. Industrial processes, for example, steel production or petrochemical production, another one-seventh or 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions. The non-energy sphere is responsible for around one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions. 1042That is CO2 emissions, methane, nitrous oxide, and chemical pollutants from specific chemicals like hydrofluorocarbons that are not the emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. Within that category, agriculture plays a huge role. Of course, agriculture emits greenhouse gases in the transport sector in tractors and in transport of food. It emits greenhouse gases in the industrial sector for the production of chemical fertilizers. But there’s a massive amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is not directly from fossil fuels at all. This includes for example, the emissions that come from clearing forests. As the trees are chopped down, as they are burned, as they decay, CO2 that was sequestered in the forests are emitted into the atmosphere. And several billion tons every year of CO2 come from deforestation. Agriculture also is a major source, as I mentioned earlier, of the second and third ranking greenhouse gases. Methane, CH4, is emitted in certain crop productions such as paddy rice. And it’s also emitted through livestock, through the ruminants who through the natural processes of their digestion give rise to quite a lot of methane emissions, both from the front and the back of the animals, I should mention. And this also contributes to the increasing concentration of methane in the atmosphere, a very powerful greenhouse gas. Nitrous oxide, N2O, is also emitted from agriculture. It is one of the ways that nitrogen-based fertilizers degrade.

Instead of being taken up by the plants, they volatilize,  go into the atmosphere, they go into the the water supply. And one of these parts of the nitrogen cycle is from, the livestock and from the fertilizer use, into increased emissions of nitrous oxide. And this also adds to the total amount of greenhouse gases that agriculture contributes to the overall process. When you look at it, more than one third of total emissions are due to land use change such as deforestation, and the direct emissions of greenhouse gasses from agricultural production.

1043It’s astounding. Roughly one third of total greenhouse gases directly come from the agriculture sector, and there are bits and pieces more through the fertilizer manufacturing and through the direct expenditure of fossil fuel based energy as inputs to agriculture on top of that one third. So we see that indeed the agriculture sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, and to climate change. As well as the first sector to lose from this. This is a terrible two-way problem that needs to be addressed through improved agricultural processes, as I’ll be discussing shortly. Let me turn to the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle vital for life has been overtaken by humanity. Absolutely extraordinary. In nature the N2 molecules in the atmosphere are converted into reactive nitrogen through various biological processes of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, as well as through physical processes, of lightning, for example, that breaks the very strong triple bond of the N2 molecule and by disassociating the N2 molecule, leads to the formation of ammonia and other reactive nitrogen. In that normal process the cycle from N2, to reactive nitrogen compounds like nitrates, nitrites and ammonia, and then back through respiration uh,and through through biological processes to back to N2 is a natural nitrogen cycle. But humanity is now creating even more reactive nitrogen than nature itself. We’re doing it in our industrial plants at a mega scale, 100 million tons or more per year of nitrogen-based fertilizers. Back in the early years of the 20th century, two great chemical engineers, Haber and Bosch, developed a process that some consider to be the single most important innovation of the 20th century, one that almost none of us has heard of, in fact, but changed the world. The Haber-Bosch Process, so called, is a way, through application of high amounts of energy and the use of various identified catalysts, to break that N2 bond to create in a chemical process in, in a factory basis, ammonia. And that ammonia can then be used to provide the base stock for urea and other nitrogen-based fertilizers. Up until the Haber-Bosch Process, the nitrogen that was deposited on the soils either came from the manures of farm animals or it came from the mining of excrement off the coast of Peru and Chile of bats and birds, the so-called guano which was being mined as a nitrogen source for fertilizer for Europe. But it was being quickly depleted.

And there was a crisis at the end of the 19th century, what are we going to do with the encroaching nitrogen scarcity? Along came Haber and Bosch, the Haber-Bosch Process, nitrogen-based fertilizer. And what was then a world population of under two billion became during the twentieth century a population of more than three times that, and now reaching 7.2 billion people. And it was the advent of nitrogen-based fertilizer, among other things and including, of course, the high-yield seed varieties and other agronomic advances, that made it possible to produce enough food to support 7.2 billion people, even if, I must add, a large number of them, 3 billion, are not well-nourished on that food supply. But, with all that nitrogen now being converted from N2 into reactive nitrogen, we have a mega problem.

And the mega-problem is shown in this complicated flow chart of what happens to that nitrogen when it is used in the farms and then it runs off. In some ways, it enters the water supplies, nitrates, causing a danger to the water supply. Some of it runs into the rivers and the sea and we’ve already seen how that leads to algal blooms and nutrification.  some of it enters the atmosphere, no

t as N2O, but as NO2, which causes smog in our cities. And so from the fertilizer deposit come a host of problems. There’s addition to greenhouse gases. There is acidification of soils by the nitrogen that is put into the soils. There is the worsening water quality that comes from the nitrates and the nitrites running into the water supply. There is the damage to ecosystems of eutrophication of the estuaries. There’s the fall of air quality as the noxes, the NO2s, NO3s, and other, effects of the nitrogen enter the urban atmosphere to create smog, to create tropospheric ozone, and to create massive health hazards, in our cities. So here is a, a dilemma, that is a mega dilemma, and hardly discussed in our day to day life. We need the nitrogen for our food production, and yet the consequences of the nitrogen on the physical environment in multiple ways, from climate change to eutrophication to urban smog to poisoning of our water supplies, is growing. This map comes from a study showing estuaries around the world suffering from eutrophication, from nitrogen and phosphorous based fertilizers. A huge problem, these are the dead zones in our coastal areas, killing vital parts of the marine ecology. And the problem is growing and it is likely to get worse unless we address how to use nitrogen in a more responsible way.

1044Third area that I wanted to mention in-depth is the forests. And just to point out that the forest loss that is occurring in all of the great rain forest regions, in the Amazon and the Congo Basin and, and in the Indonesian Archipelago have multiple drivers that differ across regions. In the Amazon most of the loss of the rain forests has come through the clearing of the rain forest to make way for new pasture land and new farm land, or because of the building of infrastructure such as roads in the Amazon. In southeast Asia where there’s also a large loss, the drivers are somewhat different. The drivers there are logging for tropical hardwoods in huge demand for China’s booming economy, and also for clearing the rainforest to grow tree crop plantations, of which the fastest growing, taking over large areas in Indonesia and Malaysia, is palm oil. In Africa there is yet another driver and that is peasant small holder agriculture. Not clearing especially for tropical logging or for tree plantations or even for large pasture land, but just the spread of small holder farmers into the forest margin. And often a huge use of the forests, and an unsustainable use for fuel wood and for charcoal. In the wealthier regions of the Amazon in Brazil, and in in Southeast Asia, the fuel wood problem is not as severe because there are alternative energy sources. But in the Congo Basin for example, and in other forest areas of Africa where populations are very, very poor and where alternative fuel sources such as natural gas or or electricity are not available, charcoal is used in such large amounts that that is a key driver of the deforestation and a key driver of the loss of habitat. Clearly in each of these areas, in order to preserve habitat, protect biodiversity, reduce the greenhouse gas emission consequences of deforestation, actions are going to need to be introduced that are responsive to the particular challenges in those areas, and the particular needs of the local populations. This will play an enormously important roll in helping to reduce the rate of uh,climate change, but also will be absolutely vital if we are to succeed in heading off the massive loss of biodiversity

Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger III

How Environmental Change Threatens the Food System

So we have a problem. Here we are in the 21st century. And still around 40% of the world’s population is malnourished. And around 30% of the worlds population is undernourished, either in open flagrant hunger, nearly billion people, or another billion in addition to those also suffering from hidden hunger of micronutrient deficiencies. Farm systems everywhere are already under stress. Unable to provide the healthy diets and nutrition in economical way, to meet the needs of the world’s population. But, there are some big challenges ahead that are going to make all of these problems even tougher than they are now. The most direct of these challenges is the fact that the world’s population continues to grow and continues to grow relatively rapidly, even if not in percentage terms, in absolute terms. Every year another 75 to 80 million people add it to the world population. By 2025 we’ll reach eight billion people. By the early 2040s, nine billion people. And on the current medium forecast of The United Nations we’ve seen, almost 11 billion people by 2100. At the same time that we’ll be grappling with the challenge of feeding more and more people.

1031The current food supply, which is already putting so much stress on the world’s environment is also going to be stressed by another couple of features. One is that for those parts of the world getting richer. The tendency and we, we hope it’s a large part of the world I, I should quickly emphasize. The tendency will be to add more meat to the diet, even too much meat. Too much meat for for human health and well-being. But as meat is added to the diet that is a kind of amplifier of the demand for grain production, because for animals like cows and pigs which give us our beef and pork. For every kilogram of beef that we consume, there have been around 10, and in some farm systems, up to 15 kilograms of feed grain consumed by the cow to produce the 1 kilogram of beef. So there’s a huge amplifier as diets shift to meat in terms of the underlying demand for feed grains on the planet, and therefore for the total demand on the agricultural system. There’s a second major reason however, in addition to that stress and that is environmental change is going to make it harder and harder to grow food in many places in the world. So much so that we can’t really know in detail but we have major cause for worry. I’d like to discuss those environmental challenges to the food supply to the prospects for the increased food production that will be needed to feed a growing world population. These environmental threats the risks come in many shapes and forms start with climate change, the biggest of all. As the climate changes under the force of human emissions of green house gases, we know that the changes in the climate. Are complex and for many parts of the world at least highly adverse for food production, of course the dominant form of climate change is warming, warming of the planet that is already nearly 1 degree centigrade above the pre-industrial average temperature. But could, on our current trajectory, reach several degrees centigrade warmer than the pre-industrial earth. Higher temperatures, in general, are going to be harmful for food production. But especially in the warmer regions of the world. And that means ironically, especially in the poorest parts of the world, crops face many kinds of temperature stresses. At high temperatures crops may not develop at all. Seeds may become infertile. At higher temperatures plant respiration means a net reduction of yields of farm crops. Higher temperatures mean faster evaporation of water in the soils and more transpiration of water through the stomata of the leaves of plants. Combining those two factors of the ecologists call that evapotranspiration, but it means that moisture and water on the earth returns to the atmosphere as water vapor at a faster rate threatening the plants with the inad, inadequate amount of water supply. So, climate change threatens the soil moistures. Threatens the productivity of crops as result. Climate change of course, means more than warming. We know, it means changes in precipitation patterns. Many parts of the world will become drier. And many dry parts of the world will find it extraordinarily difficult, perhaps impossible, to grow a crop. If the general principle that the dry places will tend to get drier and the wet places tend to get wetter is valid as a very rough summary of the effects of human induced climate change. We can see the trouble ahead because places that are in the margin of crop growing right now, may find themselves pushed right over the edge. Where the growing seasons are too short, the rainfall too small, the precipitation too erratic. To be able to support farming in places where there are large numbers of people, right now. We know the climate change also means rising sea levels. It means the places that are farmed right now in lowland areas near the coast will be threatened. Places like Bangladesh, which are built on the deltas of the the great rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Ganges it can be completely inundated. And not only will sea level rise essentially force, major loss of cropland in such areas. But it will also mean many more floods and storm surges of the kind the New York City felt when it was hit by Superstorm Sandy in the fall of, of 2012. Because the sea level had already increased by nearly a foot. Compared to the century earlier. So climate change, it’s got it all. And it’s causing tremendous dislocation already. But with a lot more to come. We’ve already talked about the rising acidity of the oceans. But have a look at what that acidification means for another part of our food supply for marine life, for the shellfish. What you see here are tests of shellfish growing at different concentrations of carbon dioxide. And the higher the concentration, the smaller are the shellfish. Because these animals with the shells or with other kinds of exoskeletons. With the even the microscopic plankton that have calcareous shells can’t build their shells when the ocean is more acidic. Which changes the chemistry for them to be able to, to have the, the normal development of their exoskeletons or their shells. And this is also already causing destruction of many highly productive estuaries but there is a lot more to come. And so we see that again even aside from the climate change the rising carbon dioxide concentrations are a profound threat for us. In addition to climate change, ocean acidity, many other environmental changes already are degrading farmland and threatening agricultural productivity. Farmers use large amounts of pesticides and herbicides to grow the crops, but the poisoning of the soils and the environment is taking its toll, on biodiversity. We’re seeing a drop of significant biodiversity of many kinds of species, including pollinators, for example, like honey bees. And other pollinators that are vital for crop productivity for growing fruits and other kind of flowering crops. And this has led to alarming and so far, to an important extent, unexplained declines of biodiversity that we’re going to discuss later on. But this is another major threat to farm productivity. Invasive species, meaning when species are relocated from one environment to another environment. Sometimes intentionally because farmers have the idea that they’ll plant crops that have been grown in other parts of the world. But when, species are moved to new environments, perhaps not having, the predators, or the rest of the ecosystem, that holds them in check, there can be wild spread of weeds, super weeds in new environments, or rodents, or other kinds of pest and pathogens, that overtake farms. We’re seeing a lot of new pathogens emerging in many places, threatening major crops and we know throughout human history that potato blight and other pathogens can devastate crops and devastate populations. Farmland depends on water, of course rain fed and irrigation. And irrigation is the farm system of choice for farmers when they can afford it, because it offers the chance of water control. And multi-cropping years. In other words, rather than just one season depending on the rains. In warm climates, there can be two or three growing seasons, doubling or even tripling the amount of production coming from hectare of arable land. But the problem is that environmental stress also threatens our irrigated lands because our current irrigation depends on rivers on glaciers and on ground water all of which are threatened now. Glaciers are retreating. As they melt under the warming climate, the short response is more riverflow. This can give the impression of a boom, even the rivers flow as the glaciers melt in the, the, the warmer winter and spring days. But, when those glaciers disappear, the flow goes from excess to zero. And it can be, a devastating and dramatic loss to populations that depend on rivers fed by glacier melt. Many rivers they have been so overused at this point. Dammed and used for irrigation that they’re also not even flowing to the sea. And under the pressures of climate change, the natural forces will mean less river flow in addition. The Nile, for example which, on which hundreds of millions of people depend. Will have a most likely significant decline of river flow as a result of climate change. The Yellow River in North China another vital waterway for China and for farmers that are in the Yellow River Basin. Are experiencing the consequences of declining river flow, in a river that no longer reaches the ocean. And ground water that is pumped for irrigation, as it is in the U.S. Midwest, as it is in the Ganges Plains, face the terrible. Reality that the pumping to grow more crops for growing population is taking place far faster than the natural recharge of those aquifers. The groundwater is falling, and when it falls far enough, it no longer can be the basis for agriculture. So the environmental threats ahead of depleted fresh water supplies, weather from the glaciers that reduce river flow, or the depletion of groundwater is another extraordinarily serious menace. That threatens farming in many parts of the world. Under the pressures of intensive agriculture, often when farms have encroached on forest lands or in topography not really suitable for farms, the result is also rapid land degradation. Soil loss. Depletion of soil nutrients. And often after new areas are cleared for farmland or pasture land, say in the amazon, they’re abandoned a few years later because they were never suitable. But the consequences are very high, there’s been deforestation, loss of habitat, emission of carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. People have depended on a short-term burst of farm productivity. And then that farm productivity quickly diminishes and then disappears, and the farm is abandoned. All of this emphasizes the fact that farm systems more than any other human activity are dependent on the climate we know, on the hydrologic patterns we know, on the ocean chemistry we know, all of which are under enormous human change. The anthropocene is creating a new world and it will be a dangerous one. Of course, there are possibilities for adaptation. Of course there are possibilities for more efficient resource use, but the inertia of the way we do things now and the instability that results when, we have the collision of nature and our current systems. Not leading to problem solving, but leading to crises and conflict. Need to make us sit up and realize how big the challenge will be. It was hard enough feeding a planet. The challenge we haven’t even accomplished with our current population, and our current technologies and our current environment, but now when we consider the rising populations and the growing environmental stresses, we realize how big the challenges are that lie ahead.

Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger II

Farm Systems, Ecology, and Food Security

One of the challenges of addressing the food security issue is how varied the farm systems are around the world. This isn’t surprising, the world itself is incredibly varied in what’s grown, where, how, climate, soils, topography biodiversity, all have an enormous effect in shaping farm systems. And because of that, there is certainly no single answer to how farms can become more productive for example. Or how local populations can become healthier in what they eat. Different places grow different foods. They eat different foods. They face different climatic and agronomic challenges. And, part of our proper, problem-solving our diagnostics and our solutions for the issues of a sustainable food supply, depend on us understanding, in detail, how these farm systems differ around the world. Well to do that, let’s take a look at the world in the big picture to get a very macro sense of how farm systems are shaped and how they differ in different places in the world. Consider the land area of Earth in its entirety.

1021There are about a 130 million square kilometers of land on Earth. And of that, a remarkably large proportion are already taken by humanity for human needs. Agriculture, meaning, both farmland, arable land, used to grow crops, and meadows and pasturelands, grasslands, used to feed animals, constitute together around 50 million square kilometers or roughly 40%, a little under 40% of the world’s total land area. This by itself is rather astounding. One species of the millions on the planet has requisitioned land for us to feed us. And when we discuss the declines of biodiversity, the first thing to keep in mind is how much of the output of food on the planet. How much of the photosynthesis on the planet is taken for human need, and how much that leaves the rest of the biosphere behind and threatened by this human grab for the planet’s primary production of, of food. So, 50 million square kilometers used for arable and pastureland, roughly of that, 14 million for arable, that’s for croplands. And roughly 34 million square kilometers for meadows and pasturelands. So, the farmland itself accounts for a little over 10% of the world’s land area. Pastures, much bigger around a quarter of the total land area on the planet in grassland regions used to graze animals. Another 39 million or so square kilometers is for forests. Many of those forests are managed forests, plantations for pulp and paper for example, for timber for logging. Some of those forests are not managed the boreal, vast boreal forests in the high latitudes as an example.

The forests in total account for another 30% or so of the Earth’s land area. The remainder is another roughly 30% it’s another 41 million square kilometers. A lot of that is desert. A lot of that is uninhabitable. A few percent of the world’s land area’s in our cities, where half the world’s population live, but we’re so densely settled in the cities, that the cities themselves, the urban extent only accounts for a few percent of the, 130 million square kilometers. Most remains either in the form of agricultural land, forest land or deserts and uninhabitable land areas. You’re looking at a map now, of where the agricultural land is. Both the crop land and the grazing land. And the colors here are showing you places where the cropland is very concentrated. Not every place where land is used to grow crops, but places where a very high proportion of the land in that area is actually arable or cropland, that’s the green shaded areas.

It’s the midwest of the United States, it’s parts of western central, and eastern Europe. It’s much of China and India. In Africa and in in South America you see land that is mixed in grazing land and in cropland. The drier areas tend to be places where food crops can’t be grown with high productivity.  If the rains fall below a certain amount during the rainy season, then crops can’t grow at all. And to the extent that people live in those environments, that they’re not desert, but rather are arid but not extreme hyper arid regions, they are places that are used for grazing animals. So livestock production tends to be in the drier areas. Nomadic populations, who are pastoralists full-time for their livelihoods, often with no crops at all, are living in places just on the margins of the desert. In Africa you see these grazing land areas just south of the Sahara Desert. In the top half of the African continent.

1022 And then around the Kalahari Desert in the southern part. The forests are shown in the next graph. And there are two major forest areas to keep in mind. First is the forest areas around the Equatorial belt. These are the rainforests. The Earth’s climate is of course providing most solar radiation at the equator. It’s the warmest at the equator. The land eh, is heated. Air masses rise and provide continuous rainfall or heavy rainfall, I should say, in the equatorial regions of the world. And that provides the climatic base for the three great rainforests of the world, the Amazon, in South America, the Congo Basin in Africa, and the great rainforests of the Indonesian Archipelago in Southeast Asia. That’s the band around the equator. Then you see the other major forest region which is in the high latitudes. The boreal forest for example in, across the vast Eurasian land mass, and across Canada. Many of these forests are being threatened especially today the rain forests. Because these are all areas where populations are encroaching for a variety of reasons. Either to clear the rainforest to make way for pastureland and for cropland. Or poor people encroaching on the forest for fuel wood and for other goods and services that they can procure from the forest. But sometimes in such great numbers that they are deforesting in an unsustainable way. This pattern of where the cropland is and where the forests are, you can see is very deeply rooted in the ecological conditions. The climate, including temperatures, rainfall, the topography. The shape of the land, whether it’s steeply sloped and not possible to farm or whether it’s flat land in plains much easier and more productive to farm. Whether irrigation is feasible, because there is ground water, or rivers nearby that can be used for irrigation. Whether the soils are adequate. And the range of soil types depending on the the underlying geologic conditions also shape the farm systems. It’s worthwhile for us to take one deeper look in one part of the world, to see the geography shaping the farm systems, shaping the societies in effect in these agricultural regions. And, and that’s in Africa, where we can see very, very clearly how the distinctive characteristics of climate cause very distinctive farm systems and very distinctive economic results as well.

1023This is a map. Quite a beautiful map, I think, of the various farm systems in Africa. 14 major agro-ecological zones. Each one a specific kind of farm system. Perhaps it’s a good idea to decipher this map in, in stages starting at the equator. In the large green area, right it, at, at the center of the African continent. That’s the Congo Basin, that’s the great Congo rainforest. And rain forests are very particular when it comes to agriculture. Very difficult to farm, often. soil, nutrients are bombarded by heavy rainfall. If trees are cleared as is sometimes done to try to make farms, it often is the case that the soil nutrients which were up in the trees themselves rather than in the soil are quickly depleted and it turns out that the land is not suitable for intensive farming. And not even suitable for pastoralism or for livestock management. If you, we move from the equator we come to different farm systems graded, to a very important extent, according to how much water is actually available through rainfall and other other resources. Take a look at West Africa, for example, just above the Atlantic Ocean. And right along the coast, the entire coast, of West Africa is a still wet, though not rain forest region which is ideal for tree crops. For the cocoa plantations of Ghana, the rubber plantations of Ghana, Benin, Togo and Liberia. So this is a climate not of annual grain crops but of tree crops because of its humidity and its ideal circumstances for tree crops. Move north of that, away from the equator. You move into an environment where there is a rainy season. But, the farther north you go into the northern hemisphere. The drier is, are the conditions and the shorter is the rainy season. So, just north of the rubber and cocoa plantations, one finds what is called the root crop systems. For example, where cassava is grown and other tubers and root crops are grown in this relatively wet environment. But not wet enough to support cocoa trees or rubber trees. Move just north of that and then you’re into a grain belt. For example where maize or in the United States we call it corn is growing. This is now a, a part of Africa where instead of the year-round rainfall of the equator, you have one rainy season which may give a growing season of 150 days for one crop of maize per year. it can be rather productive if the topography and the soils are right, and if the rains are good. It can be a disaster if it’s a year of bad rainfall. And there is relatively high variability in these places. And in the African context, at least, relatively low use of irrigation. So a dependency on the variation of the rains. Now as you continue the march north from the equator, towards the north pole, the rainy season gets shorter and shorter. So after the band of grain growing region is another farm system and this is a farm system that mixes crops with livestock. The livestock to graze on the grasses, the crops to capture a short growing season. But now it has to be crops that are pretty resilient to short rains and even to drought. Those are sorghum and millet for example. So, we have passed through the maize region into the sorghum and millet region combined with more livestock. And this is the so-called agro-pastoralist zone. Because it’s both agriculture and pastoralism. Move a bit north of that and you move into a range that is an all pastoralist region. And these are places often of nomadic populations such as the Tuareg in Northern Mali. The population densities are very low. The populations are nomadic, because they have to follow the rains. And as the rains move throughout the season the grasses spring up for short periods of time in these dry environments. And the animals better be where the grasses are so the animals move around. Also the  nomads move across national boundaries. No one told the animals and no one told the rain this is Mali, this is Chad, this is Niger, stay in your place. And these artificial boundaries that have been put first by the imperial powers. And now as part of our political world. Have wreaked havoc on the pastoralist traditions that find themselves cut off from their family, neighbors, and their grasslands across a political boundary that has no ecological sense. Now, consider one step north of the pastoralist lands and in you’re in the Saharan Desert. We have, er, I should say Sahara because it’s the desert. because, so, in, in, in fact, you’ve entered the desert. And we have seen the graded transition by latitude band from a rain forest to a tree crop region, to a root and tuber crop region, to a grain region to a agro-pastoralist region to a pastoralist region and then to the desert. It’s not surprising this is complicated. It’s complicated for countries to manage this diversity it’s complicated when populations like pastoralists need to move across boundaries. It’s complicated to get international agreements on what to do about issues of climate, or energy, or food production, when we see these strong variations of farm systems across the regions. It’s very hard, often, for people to speak with each other and to understand the problems and the stresses that are unfolding. This is one of the reasons why the world has failed to comprehend challenges like the crises of the Horn of Africa and the ongoing crises of the Sahel. These are agro-pastoralist regions, or in some cases, pastoralist regions only. Very poor. Very much dependent on rainfall. Suffering the burdens of climate change, instability of rainfall, rising populations, falling trend in total precipitation, increasing hunger. And, as a result, increasing instability and violence We need to understand these farm systems, where they are, how they vary around the world, if we are to achieve sustainable agricultural yields that can feed and keep populations healthy in the future.

Sustainable Food Supply and the End of Hunger I


We need to consider one of the most complicated and unsolved problems of sustainable development. How are we going to feed ourselves? It’s an age-old problem, it’s been with humanity for a long time before, but for quite a few decades. This is problem that many people thought was already solved with the great breakthroughs in food productivity. In increasing farmland, increasing yields, it seems that food production would inevitably stay ahead of The growing world population. Now we have some serious doubts. Not only are we coming to realize how badly fed the world population is in certain ways, but how many real threats there are ahead. That is our challenge. 1011We can’t say we haven’t been warned. The warnings have been with us for more than two centuries. They started, as I mentioned, with Thomas Robert Malthus, who in 1798 in his Principles of Population posed the basic question of how food production can stay ahead of a growing population. When Malthus wrote, there were around 900 million people on the planet. Now with 7.2 billion people, an eight-fold increase, the challenge is with us again. In fact perhaps in an even more complicated way than Malthus imagined. Because now, we come to understand that not only is the world not feeding itself but in a healthy and fair manner. But there are many, many obstacles that lie ahead. Let’s start with the question of, what does it mean to feed ourselves in a healthy way? And we can ask that by looking at the question of malnutrition. Malnutrition is a pervasive problem on the planet. One can argue, I think convincingly that perhaps 40% of the world’s population, 40% is malnourished. In one way or another. But to understand that, we have to understand what we mean by malnutrition. Now, one thing that jumps to mind, of course, is hunger and undernourishment. Undernourishment in it’s most direct sense is, simply not taking in The calories that are needed for daily activity and daily survival. Hungry people feeling the pangs of hunger and not having enough energy for more than mere survival and in some desperate cases, not even that, remains a problem afflicting hundreds of millions of people.

In the world. There’s another kind of under nourishment. That is a bit less visible. And that is a category sometimes called hidden hunger. The calories may be there. But the micro-nutrients nutrients such as vitamins and. Particular fatty acids and other components of food are not present in adequate supply so that people are unhealthy and perhaps chronically disabled as a result of bouts of micro-nutrient deficiency. There’s a third kind of malnutrition, which has become An epidemic in many parts of the world, especially the richest countries. But also many middle income countries. And that is malnourishment in excessive consumption of calories. We have an obesity epidemic underway in the world. And it’s estimated that roughly one third of all adults in the world are overweight. And perhaps around 10 to 15% are obese.1012

When you add it up, the numbers are staggering. Roughly speaking, we can say that Between 800 million and a billion people are on the planet are chronically undernourished in the sense that they do not get the daily energy intake in their diets to be healthy and to be satisfied with the, what they’re eating. But another billion people, who are not counted in the hunger category, are in the hidden Hunger category. So, roughly, 1.8 to two billion people are undernourished either in the direct sense of not enough energy intake. Or, in the sense of micro-nutrient deficiencies. And then, the estimates vary on obesity. But it is certainly well over a billion people who are overweight, and several hundred million, perhaps 700 or 800 million adults who are obese. You add it up and it’s plausible to think around 2.8 billion people on a planet of 7.2 billion people. Are malnourished, about 40% of the population.

1013We have a food crisis. It varies in different parts of the world, sometimes it’s hidden, sometimes it’s the wrong kinds of foods, sometimes it’s simply not enough food. But any Serious, Focus on the sustainable and secure food supply for the world, has to view the crisis in all it’s dimensions. From those who lack the basic caloric intake to those who, in grade of happiness, often are suffering. From obesity, and from all of the massive ill effects that come from that. Let’s have a look at where these problems are distributed. Under nourishment, is concentrated in tropical Africa, and in South Asia. So we see in Tropical Africa, especially in Central and Southern Africa, that more than a third of the population is undernourished.

1014This means simply not enough calories, or by some measurements, not enough calories and proteins needed for basic sustenance. And in south Asia we see that the proportions of chronically under-nourished are between a fifth, 20% and a third, around 33%. Serious levels of under nutrition and fortunately in the rest of the world, lower levels than that. In the high-income countries, very little under nutrition in that sense, though massive problems of malnourishment when one considers the problems at the other end of the spectrum. When children are undernourished Of course they suffer a massive disability in their growth that lasts a lifetime. If the undernourishment effects them in the critical growing stage in the early years of life, and we measure that under nutrition with several different concepts. But two are especially important. One is stunting. Stunting means that a child is undernourished to the extent that the child is very short low height.

1015That is for age and the standard is measured against a Regular distribution for normal population of height by age. And then children who are far to the low end of that scale, more than two standard deviations below the norm, are considered stunted. And stunting, of course, reflects the Inadequacy of dietary intake, but it often also reflects chronic infection. Worm infections for example that where the worms take the nutrients that should be going to the young child, or other kinds of infections That mean that the child is shedding nutrients, maybe through bouts of diarrhea or that make the nutrients not bioavailable to the child, they can’t be metabolized while the child was sick. So, when we see stunting, we usually are. Looking at, circumstances of chronic, dietary undernourishment, combined very often, with repeated bouts of illness. And the stunting, we see is most severe, where we, normally find it tropical Africa. And the highest stunting rates in the world in South Asia. Especially in India which overwhelmingly has the largest numbers of young children who are stunted. The second concept for children is even more urgent and that is wasting. Wasting is low weight for height. So stunting is a chronic condition that means that the child doesn’t grow.

1016Wasting is when the weight is even less than it would be for that low stature.  It’s often a sign of acute Undernutrition. Life-threatening undernutrition. The kind of undernourishment that one sees in a famine, in a megadrought. And then one sees children wasting and there needs to be an urgent rescue through therapeutic foods and and often em, emergency procedures to help keep the children alive in those circumstances. When we talk about undernourishment in general, we tend to separate it, and need to separate analytically, the chronic undernutrition, which is the day in, day out hunger.

1015That does lead to the stunting from the acute episodes of undernutrition that come from disasters, from displacement of populations, from droughts. And when those acute episodes occur, not only is there massive suffering, there can be massive death. From the undernutrition. In the worst cases from starvation itself. In other cases from diseases which take advantage of the undernutrition and the immunosuppression that comes along with the undernourishment. There’s also another massive reason for suffering that comes with acute episodes of of hunger that follow droughts, and other disasters. And that is the conflict often follows on.

1018Have a look at a map for the Spring of 2012. When they were two regions of Africa. Both battling drought. Looking at the map which is a map that is Used to measure emergency situations we see. The acute food insecurity both in west Africa and in east Africa. There were indeed large population movements, resurgent violence. A civil war broke out in Mali, not only for the reasons of hunger, but hunger stokes these conflicts. And so this is another scourge that accompanies food crises. When we turn to hidden hunger, it of course also, is lurking in populations where the visible hunger is also seen. Now you’re looking at a map of, an estimate of the hidden hunger of micro nutrient deficiency. Which kind of nutrients are we talking about? Vitamins such as vitamin A or vitamin B in several of its forms. Iron, iodine, zinc, folates. All crucial micronutrients that when not adequate in the diet can lead to Terrible health disabilities, death in extreme cases, and also, very great dangers for child birth. Mothers who don’t have enough folates during pregnancy often give birth to children with devastating defects. And this is a Pervasive condition that afflicts the poorest countries.

1019We see again, India and South Asia, much of tropical Africa the Andean Region. Some of the other countries of Western Asia and of Southeast Asia where there is considerable micro-nutrient deficiency. Unfortunately, the knowledge and the data of the hidden hunger are themselves hidden. There are not precise estimates known for many of these  micro-nutrients. In terms of where they really are seriously lacking in diets. The next map shows you an estimate for vitamin A deficiency. Again regions of the world that you would expect. But a larger area of the world. Even including many middle income countries in Latin America, and also China. Now let’s look at the other end of the malnourishment spectrum. One that also is causing a tremendous amount of morbidity. In other words disease. And premature mortality. And that is the obesity epidemic, that is sweeping much of the world There have been enormous increases of obesity in the last 30 years. What is obesity? Obesity is a specific measure the typical definition is to use the so-called Body Mass Index, a person’s weight in kilograms is divided by the square of the person’s height measured in meters. And that BMI, the body mass index, if it’s over 30, is considered obese, if it’s over 25 it’s considered overweight. And by that measurement we have a massive epidemic of adult obesity. In many of the high income countries, 30% or more, in the United States and in some other high income countries. Why?

Partly it is the total amount of caloric intake, partly it’s the type of calories being consumed often. Carbohydrates trans fats and other foods that are known as having high glycemic indexes that they’re easily, the sugars are easily metabolized. Part of it is the relative inactivity. In our new urbanized environment, where people sit, maybe watching television for hours at a time. A combination of too many calories, the wrong kinds of calories and physical inactivity. What to do. A starting point is to combine The food growing challenges with the nutritional science. What should be grown? What should people eat? And here breakthroughs in nutrition science are giving us better indicators. One of the leaders of modern nutrition, and rethinking what is wrong With our diet is Professor Walter Willette.

1019aA chairman of nutrition at Harvard University. And he has proposed the right kind of food pyramid as it’s called shown here which depicts the kinds of foods and the relative Frequency and amounts of those foods that should be eaten. And just to indicate very briefly what the findings of modern nutrition are because they’re important. It tells us that our diets as they evolved with the fast foods of The high income countries have become very imbalanced the source of, this, pandemic of obesity and, overeating. And what is needed is diets that are rich in vegetables, in fruits, in vegetable oils so called unsaturated fats which are healthy. As opposed to the animal fats and the industrial fats, the so called trans fats which can be very dangerous for health. And when grains are eaten, they should be eaten as whole grains. And so the dietary mix is. Quite different from the diet. Of the high income world,which is heavily concentrated in the wrong kinds of fats in in refined grains rather than in whole grains and in a very heavy meat-based diet which has its own Great difficulties for health especially. A large amount of beef eating. I mention this because it’s going to have a, big consequence when we discuss what kind of agriculture system, should be consistent with the kind of diet. That is healthy for people. Of course this kind of food pyramid viewed from the perspective of the poorest countries is a dream. How can we get from where we are, not even enough calories in the day, to this kind of balanced diet that can be healthy, and provide not only the macro caloric intake and proteins, but also the micro nutrients And the balance of different food components conducive to health. The world is in increasing stress when it comes to the food system. More mouths to feed, a rising demand for meat products which amplifies the demand for the grains to feed. The animals that are being consumed in larger number. All combined with environmental threats that are undermining the stability of the food production itself in many parts of the world. We’ve already gotten, a taste of it if I could put it that way in Rising food prices that are a major challenge for poor people in the world. If you look at this graph of food prices since the late 1970s, you see that for all of the major grains, the staple grains maize Rice, wheat and soy beans prices were falling from the 70s until the end of the 20th century. But since the beginning of the 21st century, the price of food has been rising and rising sharply. For wealthy people, this is a, an inconvenience, a discomfort. For poor people, whose diets consume a much larger part of the family income, this is more than just an annoyance or a hindrance. It is a profound threat. To their well being. We see Engel’s Law in operation here. The idea that, for poor people, the food consumption occupies a much larger share of the total household income, and therefore rises in food prices Can be very devastating for households that buy their food from the marketplace. So here we have it, 40% of the world still not properly nourished. And a food supply under threat, yet facing rising demands. From growing populations and from parts of the world with higher incomes, putting even more intensive demands on the food supply. Huge puzzles, what can we do about it. We have to look closely now at how food is grown. Where it’s growing, what the threats are, what can be done about it.