David Laborde, FAO, Italy
David Laborde is the Director for Agrifood Economics division at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations since February 20231. In this role, he supervises a number of flagship publications, such as the State of Food Security and Nutrition (SOFI) or the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), and leads the division’s work on policy monitoring, policy reform, and realignment of incentives to support agrifood system transformation. He also provides leadership on two priority areas for the institution: resilience and bioeconomy.
Before joining FAO, David Laborde worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute of the CGIAR in Washington D.C. for 16 years as part of the Markets, Trade, and Institution Division. He led the research theme on Macroeconomics and Trade and was also co-director of the Ceres2030 project.
David Laborde’s research interests include food security and nutrition, especially in the context of globalization and climate change. He has worked extensively on measuring and modeling domestic and border farm and food policies in a general equilibrium context, as well as on reforms of these policies facing environmental (climate change, biofuels, sustainability) and social (poverty) issues1. Since 2015, he has been focusing on costing the roadmap to achieving SDG2 in a globalized context while considering the role of goods, capital, and migration flows while delivering on key climate actions.
David Laborde has developed a number of partial equilibrium models, in particular the MIRAGE and MIRAGRODEP models, and databases such as MAcMapHS6 on tariffs as well as TASTE software. He is a contributor to the GAP database and a GTAP research fellow since 2005. For his contributions, he received the Alan Powell award in 2018.
Throughout his career, David Laborde has published extensively with more than 150 publications, and edited a number of books and high level policy reports.
Talk: Adapting to the new normal: Challenges and solutions to deliver sustainable food security and nutrition in an era of poly-crisis
Abstract: The first part of the presentation will focus on the recent evolution of food security, and nutrition, and the underlying drivers. It will be based on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2023 report. The report highlights that global progress in ending hunger has stalled at unacceptably high levels. In our era of poly-crisis, this evolution has been driven by specific disruptors, climate extremes, economic slowdowns, and downturns, in the context of growing inequality. These different elements, with compound effects are challenging our efforts to achieve the SDGs. The proportion of the world population facing chronic hunger in 2022 was about 9.2 percent, compared to 7.9 percent in 2019. After increasing sharply in 2020 in the midst of the global pandemic, and rising more slowly in 2021 to 9.3 percent, the prevalence of undernourishment ceased to increase from 2021 to 2022. The economic recovery from the pandemic helped to stem the rising tide of hunger, at least at the global level. However, since it was introduced in 2015, the objective of eliminating hunger by 2030 has never seemed farther than today. The positive effects of the post-COVID 19 recovery have been limited by the countervailing winds caused by the global repercussions of the war in Ukraine and rising prices of food, agricultural inputs and energy, together with other drivers of food insecurity such as conflicts and weather-related events. Other food security and nutrition indicators provide a similar picture. Beyond caloric hunger, the presentation will focus on the affordability of healthy diets and how such indicator has become increasingly relevant to address various forms of malnutrition, in particular, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis felt around the world.
Based on this situation, and the associated cost of agrifood system failures, including hidden costs as illustrated in the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2023 report, the second part of the presentation will focus on solutions using the latest FAO report: Achieving SDG 2 without breaching the 1.5 °C threshold: A global roadmap as an illustration of integrated and system-level strategy to provide good food for all, today and tomorrow. The FAO Global Roadmap outlines how the transformation of agrifood systems should address food security and nutrition needs and facilitate actions aligned with mitigation, adaptation, and resilience objectives under the larger umbrella of climate action. It encompasses a diverse portfolio of 120 actions grouped into ten domains of actions including: livestock, crops, fisheries and aquaculture, clean energy, food loss and waste, forests and wetlands, healthy diets, soil and water, data, and inclusive policies. In addition, 20 global milestones have been identified as key control points to track progress and foster accountability. The Roadmap involves an extensive process which started at COP28 in 2023 and spans three years. It commences with a global vision for what ails agrifood systems today and goes on to explore financing options for the required actions, culminating in a discussion of how to attract concrete investment and policy packages by the time COP30 takes place.
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