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global economic crisis

What’s Up (or Down) with Global Hunger?

Duncan Green's picture

Guest post from Oxfam Research Policy Adviser Richard King (right)

Today the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is celebrating World Food Day, and is playing host to the latest Committee on World Food Security meeting. Last week, to warm things up, the FAO, World Food Programme, and International Fund for Agricultural Development launched their joint 2012 ‘State of Food Insecurity in the World’ (SOFI) report, with the FAO’s latest estimates of global hunger. If you’re familiar with oft-cited facts such as ‘nearly one in seven people go to bed hungry’, or ‘nearly a billion people don’t have enough to eat’ reverberating around the echo chamber, they’re based on the calculations in previous editions of this publication.

The annual report has commanded a lot of interest over the past few years, partly because we’re living through a time of extraordinary food price volatility, but also because some of the FAO’s estimates of hunger (or more properly ‘undernourishment’) during the global food and economic crises have raised eyebrows. I won’t rehash here previous critiques of the recent estimates; suffice to say the shortcomings have been increasingly recognised by the FAO itself, and they’ve been beavering away behind the scenes to improve both their calculations and the data that they rely on. So it was with much anticipation that we waited to see what changes last week’s report would bring. And [fanfare!] here they are…

A "Global" Economic Crisis? Mind the Frame.

Antonio Lambino's picture

“Global problems require global solutions,” a newspaper editorial recently asserted in its analysis of the current economic crisis.  From a communication studies perspective, stressing a particular aspect of an issue – in this case, the global nature of the crisis -- is called “framing.”   To further one’s position, advocates frame an issue by emphasizing some aspects of the phenomenon and deemphasizing others.  Contrasting frames on economic issues have been ubiquitous in the media for some time.  Compare, for example, the ways in which The Economist and CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight interpret economic realities.  Given the current crisis, the framing battle is even more apparent.  Protectionists might prefer to focus on a country’s deteriorating local job market and claim that the most pressing need is for government to protect domestic employment or a “domestic jobs frame.”  In contrast, those who believe in free markets might argue that protectionist policies will lead to contracting national economies and that the solution is greater liberalization or a “free trade frame.”