Published on Voices

Towards an informed, transparent, and accountable response for global food and nutrition security

Maize seeds being held by a hand. Maize seeds being held by a hand.

Record high food prices due to COVID-19, worsening conflict, climate change and natural disasters have exacerbated the global hunger crisis, driving millions more into extreme poverty and threatening to erase hard-won gains in development. Over 222 million people across 53 countries may suffer from acute food insecurity, their lives or livelihoods in danger because they do not have enough to eat.   

Swift action is critical. But despite the strong commitment from the global community, there are significant challenges to monitoring the severity of the crisis and level of financing available, hindering efforts to match solutions to improve food security in the long-term.

Real time data that can help track the drivers of food and nutrition crises have uneven country coverage. A vast number of indicators are needed to capture the full range of factors that can lead to a crisis, which is critical to inform early warning systems. Funding and response activities span many partners who track, categorize, and report in different ways.

This fragmentation makes it difficult to obtain a snapshot of the funding that has been mobilized to date and the activities that are being organized across the broader community. If this information were available, we would be able to use funding more effectively, reaching those that need assistance most in a timely and impactful way.

This is where the new Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard can help. The Dashboard is a publicly accessible platform that will track up-to-date data on food crisis severity, global food security financing, and research and analysis to advance country-level food security policy. It was developed in collaboration with a wide range of partners by the Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS), launched in May 2022 by the Group of Seven (G7) Presidency under Germany together with the World Bank. From firsthand experience I know how important such a food dashboard is, having developed a national one in the aftermath of the 2008 global food crisis when I was Minister of Trade of Indonesia.

By bringing together disparate information into one place and make it accessible to all – a simple but ambitious idea – the Dashboard aims to reduce transaction costs, improve transparency, and speed up analysis, enabling governments and country teams on the ground to make better decisions. It can also help speed up financing by highlighting funding needs and gaps. The goal is to inform a coordinated global food crisis response while also helping to advance medium to long-term food security analytics.

The Dashboard is one example of how GAFS is working to deliver results, leveraging existing systems ranging from publicly available food security indicators to financial tracking systems.

Over the course of the next 6-24 months GAFS aims to focus on three “A”s:  

Advice: Support coordinated and regular just-in-time information exchange among decision-makers and reporting of trends in key indicators to inform swift and decisive action.

Action: Track and share information on financing for food security responses for the crisis to help identify funding priorities, gaps, and opportunities.

Advance: Bring together leading agricultural research institutes and forward-looking research to facilitate the advancement of innovative research and analysis on food security policy.

While the impacts of food crises are felt by everyone, they are especially devastating for the world’s poor. Experience has taught us that it is vital to support developing countries affected by food price increases and shortages to meet their urgent needs and avoid derailing longer-term development goals . Broadly speaking, this means providing immediate support to the vulnerable and facilitating trade and international supplies of food in the short-term, while boosting production and investing in climate-resilient agriculture in the long-term.

The Dashboard will help drive the response across these efforts, to prioritize the most vulnerable, keep food moving, and invest in the future.  Accurate, country level data on food security and financing can help strengthen safety nets for vulnerable households, make sure that the World Food Program has sufficient resources, and help vulnerable countries cover the cost of increases in food import bills.

Quality data and transparent reporting also holds the potential to help avert the proliferation of harmful reactionary food trade policies. The Dashboard will help to generate new knowledge and research on topics along the lines of CGIAR’s Research Initiatives, to evaluating food security programming and policy response effectiveness.

At the World Bank, we are making up to $30 billion available over a period of 15 months ending September 2023, including $12 billion of new projects as part of a comprehensive, global response to the food crisis.  About $5.3 billion in total IBRD/IDA commitment had already been approved by end of June 2022. We are also helping countries transform their food systems through financing and policy advice to support a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery.

Ultimately, the goal we are all working towards is not only to get out of this crisis, but to become more resilient to such crises in the future in the face of rising climate, conflict and economic risks.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration with governments, private businesses and international partners to achieve food and nutrition security, through more productive, resource-efficient, diverse and nutritious production systems. The Global Food Security Dashboard is a valuable contribution towards these efforts for all stakeholders.


Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard:


Mari Elka Pangestu

Former World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships

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