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At the IDB, we believe that together we can go farther. Our partnership network is making positive differences in Latin America and the Caribbean every day, and this blog is our channel for telling that story. Stay tuned for literature on partnership perspectives, stories from the field, changing trends, outlooks for development and the region, information on ways and opportunities to partner, and more. Thanks for stopping by.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

Want to Save the World? Invest in Latin America — Together

By - Aug 6 2015


This post was originally featured on the Fin4Dev Blog.

How much can we accomplish in fifteen years? A lot, if we work together. That’s why the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is ramping up its partnership efforts around the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), objectives designed as a roadmap to guide our journey to global growth, progress, and prosperity. Though partnership is a vehicle essential to achieving all seventeen of the SDGs, today we will talk about Goal #2 and how rallying around this objective is essential to feed the world.

SDG #2 pertains to food. With the aim of “ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture,” this goal resonates deeply with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), a region endowed with abundant natural resources and thus well-equipped to feed our hungry planet. Despite advances on the original eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which conclude this year, food insecurity remains a real and persistent issue.  63 countries have reached the hunger target of MDG-1, yet the State of Food Insecurity Report of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveals that 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished. Factoring in the challenges of climate change and population growth, undernourishment is likely to worsen: To feed the nine billion people who will inhabit Earth by 2050, global food production must increase by 60 percent.

It is essential that sustainable production increase throughout the world to meet this demand. Yet as we collaborate around this critical objective, Latin America and the Caribbean will be a key player, for seven reasons:

  1. LAC is the largest net food-exporting region on the planet.
  2. LAC has a third of the world’s fresh water resources.
  3. LAC has 28% of the world’s medium to high potential farmland.
  4. Thirty-six percent of LAC’s land is within six hours travel time to a market.
  5. In just sixteen years, Latin America is projected to meet 166% of its food demand, while East Asia and Africa may meet only 79% and 25%, respectively.
  6. Small farmers account for 80% of all farms in the LAC region and 64% of agricultural employment.  Supporting family agriculture helps address local and national food security.
  7. The region has only met a fraction of its potential to produce sustainably-sourced food.

The next 10 to 20 years offer a critical window of opportunity to advance new forms of productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture in the region. In collaboration with the Global Harvest Initiative and another thirty-plus partners, the IDB has begun by sparking critical dialogue about this window of opportunity and what we can do to capitalize on it. But talking will not suffice. Rather, taking action now will make the difference between a hungry planet and a well-fed one. Where do we begin? Find out here.

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