We have barely more than a decade left between now and 2030, the deadline for meeting Sustainable Development Goal 2 and ending hunger, and yet we’re still not clear on what policy interventions will be effective in meeting that goal, nor how much they will cost.
Ceres2030 is looking to change that. We are a partnership among Cornell, a land-grant university with a 150-year history of serving agriculture; the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a hybrid organization within the UN framework dedicated to food systems; and the International institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), an independent think tank championing sustainable solutions to 21st century problems. We are dedicating our shared efforts to one overarching objective: increasing the quantity and improving the quality of overseas development assistance (ODA) for realizing SDG 2.
Ceres2030 is built on two pillars. The first is an economic model that costs the trade-offs inherent in financing agriculture-related policy interventions. The second is an in-depth review and synthesis of the available evidence to identify which policy interventions are proven effective in ending hunger. For Ceres2030, “effective” is ambitious. We want governments to be able to realize an end to hunger (SDG 2.1) while also doubling small-scale producer income (SDG 2.3) and protecting the environment (SDG 2.4).
To date, many economic models have been unable to capture all the dynamic effects of agriculture-related investments, such as what donor-driven investments to support one type of policy intervention imply for both the national economy and for individual households. The economic model that Ceres2030 is working with can do this. At the same time, despite the breadth and depth of existing research on agriculture and food systems, policy-makers lack easy access to a synthetic understanding of which policy interventions are effective in tackling hunger. Ceres2030 will answer those questions too. Along the way, we are creating tools to make future research easier for academics, economists, and policy makers alike. Here’s how:
It’s an ambitious task, and one we don’t take lightly. We are navigating this landscape amid myriad other confounding factors: for example, we know that efforts to end hunger must also protect and promote biological diversity, and the policy interventions we identify must ensure people have access to high-quality food, and not “empty” calories that may tick the “ending hunger” box but worsen health outcomes.
The situation is urgent, too. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) placed the global number of hungry people at 821 million in 2017. That marked the third straight year that global hunger numbers ticked upwards, with particularly worrisome figures coming from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Climate change and conflict complicate these challenges, while threatening the enormous gains against hunger made in recent decades. Meanwhile donors face increasing pressure to show that public money is being put to good use, amid shrinking budgets and an increasingly diverse slate of competing priorities. There is no time to waste.
We will be reaching out to several stakeholder groups throughout the process to solicit feedback, while presenting our findings at different events as the project unfolds. We will also be circulating a regular newsletter with updates on our progress. We welcome feedback and look forward to collaborating with others as we work towards our shared goals.