As the world continues to face mounting demographic pressures, food insecurity challenges will persist while the demand for food surges. Increasing urbanization, deteriorating agricultural spaces, and resource scarcity all work to exacerbate economic, political, and social drivers of conflict. Food insecurity requires a dynamic and comprehensive policy approach that reflects the issue’s natural integration of economics, development, and national security at both the domestic and international levels. Stimson’s Food Security program analyzes governance, innovative technology, and public-private partnerships to offer innovative solutions to the transnational threats that food insecurity presents. The Food Security program is part of the Managing Across Boundaries initiative.
Food is a national security issue. Where food was once considered a development or humanitarian challenge, the 2008 global food crisis alerted the world to the security dimensions. From understanding how food insecurity drives conflict, to examining the hurdles to feed a world with over 9 billion people by 2050, the Food Security program will examine the way technology and innovation can drive solutions to hunger, poverty, and wider access to food. Through innovative partnerships with the private sector, governments, and multilateral organizations, the program’s experts address ways to elevate the importance of access to food as central to global peace and security. The program focuses on the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia as regions where U.S. interests are at stake.
Food security requires a multidimensional approach that connects climate change, rapid urbanization, and the decline in agricultural production as components of a larger complex challenge. The program relies on partnerships with organizations in academia, the private sector, and NGO community to generate knowledge that will address the security and development challenges to prevent future global food crises. A prevention approach will ensure that the program’s work — on food access, agricultural innovation, food waste management, functioning markets, and open trading systems — fosters a way forward to a world that has adequate food access for all.
Recognizing that food insecurity is a threat to national security requires new approaches that educate a broad community of actors — civilian and military. Stimson’s Food Security program starts by identifying the existing capacities in the U.S. government to take on food insecurity by reporting periodically on this subject. The program recommends ways to ensure a unified response to this threat. Stimson, along with other partners in the academic and private sector, maps the new disruptive technologies that hold the solution to feeding a planet of 9 billion by 2050. Leveraging the private sector to support development in ways that create a strong base for economic growth will ensure that the poverty reduction targets of the Sustainable Development Goals have a way forward.
The program works with partners in the private sector involved in investments in new technologies. The program engages partners in academia, think tanks, the United Nations system, and advocacy groups such as the World Food Program, USA. The growing interest in food security offers many new opportunities to reach a larger audience about the nexus of the security and development agenda.