I ain’t no delinquent, just misunderstood…

…Deep down inside me there is good!

Just a bit delinquent at keeping up on my blog these days…

Not sure why, but haven’t felt a real motivation to write much about our global food system. Maybe it is because the world is just so messy right now. Maybe it is because I can’t find anything positive to write about – just the same ol’ same ol’ being written and discussed over and over like a hamster on a wheel. Maybe it is because blogging is overrated, overhyped, and overdone. Or maybe it is because I just haven’t had time to organize my thoughts as 2012 fast approaches. Let’s go with the last option.

So, 2011 is out the door like a lion. North Korea’s supreme leader is dead, the Arab Spring is looking more like a long December, and there are still close to a billion hungry with the Famine in the Horn of Africa’s dried up tears no longer on the front pages. We hit 7 billion. Let me say it again – 7 billion. And we are feeling the squeeze. The Occupy was/is a good effort but we say we want a revolution. But we’d all love to see the plan…

I do think that 2011 had some real downers, but also some glimmers of hope as well.

First, we have the Scaling Up Nutrition movement that is gaining true momentum. I agree with Lawrence Haddad’s prediction, that the emphasis on nutrition on the global development agenda isn’t going to slow up in the near future. We now have 22 countries that have signed on to end undernutrition in their respective countries. That is something in itself. In 2012, we will have to see deeper commitments and plans from countries and donor backing. International organizations will have to be ever present, to backstop and support countries as they scale up nutrition interventions. We need all three working together: government, international and local organizations and donors. We also have the 1000 days initiative that not only is keeping everyone abreast via twitter but also pushing the agenda for children under two years of age.

Second, there have been many debates in food security, challenging the “way we were.” The undernourishment indicator, long maintained by FAO, has come into question and is under review on how to improve it. The multi-sectoral approach (or whatever else you want to call it – multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, integrated or maybe “holistic daydreaming”) that everyone is calling for in global food and nutrition security is not well understood and perhaps not necessary, all the time. And the ways we measure impact on the ground, in communities, impacting people’s lives and how we ‘measure’ the quality of their “life” and we had something to do with it (egads!)…has come under serious scrutiny. The idea of Randomized Control Trials as the golden standard of scientific certainty is in need of a makeover, particularly for large-scale sustainable development projects.

Third, journalists continued to be the leaders in letting the world know that something is wrong with our global food system. Mark Bittman took off his NYTimes chef hat, and delved into the deeper issues. He along with Pollan, Nestle (yes, she is a professor, but rolls with the media), Alice Waters, Raj Patel, Anne Lappe, et al are fighting the good fight – one that the academics, technocrats and beaurocrats have failed to do.

But we still have not done enough – a situation of 1 billion hungry and over 1 billion overweight and obese isn’t a situation, its a tragedy. But as someone else recently said to a large audience at a nutrition conference: “So we have 1 billion on one end, another 1 billion on the other, the other 5 billion are doing okay. That is a lot of healthy people.” Not too shabby! But two billion people burdened and challenged with malnutrition is not okay.

Let’s hope 2012 moves beyond rhetoric and we see some positive changes, not only in the food security arena but globally.

Gee, Officer Krupke, 
We’re down on our knees, 
‘Cause no one wants a fellow with a social disease. 
Gee, Officer Krupke, 
What are we to do? 
Gee, Officer Krupke, 
Krup you!

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This entry was posted in aid, food Insecurity, hunger, nutrition and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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