Ensuring food and nutrition security in a green economy

Ensuring Food and Nutrition Security in a Green Economy

Shenggen Fan, Claudia Ringler, Ephraim Nkonya, Alexander J. Stein
ifpri policy brief

As the population continues to grow and natural resources become scarcer, the need to shift toward an environmentally responsible, socially accountable, more equitable, and “greener” economy has become increasingly apparent. Despite differing perspectives and definitions among stakeholders, the “green economy” is often seen as an economy that pursues growth while also promoting sustainable development through more efficient use of resources. Thus aligned with concepts of sustainability, the objective of a green economy is to simultaneously work toward economic development, environmental protection, and greater social welfare, in particular by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and nonrenewable resources.

At the same time food and nutrition security remains under stress. For the 900 million undernourished people in the world and the more than 2 billion people suffering from micronutrient deficiency, the poor management and increasing scarcity of natural resources like water, arable land, and energy make the production of and access to adequate, nutritious food difficult. Moreover, food insecurity is closely linked to limited access to sanitation and clean water as well as low use of energy, all of which is particularly apparent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This raises some important questions: What are the implications of a green economy for the poor and hungry? How can the poor benefit from and thrive under a green economy? What role can agriculture play? What are the possible trade-offs and synergies between different policy objectives, and how can each be measured?