Food and Agriculture
Hunger levels have been rising for the past five years. Almost 690 million people go to bed hungry every night. COVID-19 could push 130 million more people into hunger by the end of 2020 unless action is taken. Food production and agriculture matter: they provide livelihoods for more people in the world than any other sector.
We provide high-quality advice to governments and parliamentarians to strengthen countries’ food security and livelihoods and to improve the quality of public and private investment in agriculture and food systems, while protecting land rights and responsibly managing natural resources.
We also seek to make food systems and value chains more resilient to climate change. Our experts support governments in implementing policies and regulations that enable food systems and communities to absorb climate shocks.
See Our Projects
Ceres2030: Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger
Our mission is to provide the donor community with a menu of policy options for directing their investments, backed by the best available evidence and economic models.
Working With Parliamentarians on Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems
Through their legislative, oversight, and representative functions, parliamentarians hold a strategic position: they can inform political and legislative agendas with the purpose of fostering change on the ground.
Toward More Equitable and Sustainable Trade in Food and Agriculture
IISD’s work on trade in food and farm goods seeks to improve the extent to which trade policy supports sustainable development outcomes and expand the space for informed discussion among a wider set of policy actors.
The ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry
The ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry were prepared for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat and were adopted in October 2018 by ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) during their annual meeting, held that year in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Model Agreement for Responsible Contract Farming
Offering a simple and practical legal tool for buyers and producers to improve their business relations and to help make responsible agricultural investment a reality.
Advisory and Capacity Development Services on Legal and Policy Frameworks for Responsible Agriculture Investment
We advise and support governments in the drafting of model contracts in various sectors, including large-scale farmland investments, agricultural investment laws, legal frameworks for agricultural growth poles and zones, policies for attracting foreign direct investment in agriculture, contract farming templates and laws, and market opportunities for voluntary sustainability standards.
Best practices bulletins: Legal Tools for Responsible Investment in Agriculture
In this best practices series, IISD analyzes key legal and policy issues arising from the legal tools used by states to govern responsible investment in agriculture and food systems, with a particular focus on developing country and sustainable development perspectives.
Food and Agriculture: Emerging Policy Issues
Emerging issues policy briefs is a series produced by the IISD Agriculture, Trade & Investment Team. The series highlights and explains emerging issues that affect the resilience and sustainability of food and agriculture systems, particularly in developing countries.
Towards the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit
Expanding the original scope of the Ceres2030 project, this project will focus on the interrelation between nutrition and climate change and the results will provide options for country-level transition pathways towards sustainable food systems.
More Resources on COVID-19
The current crisis has underscored the need for policymakers to better understand the linkages between health, ecosystems, and sustainable food and agriculture systems to increase bolster countries’ ability to withstand a variety of shocks and crises (i.e. increase resilience) and respond quickly and effectively.
How Are African Governments Responding to Avert a COVID-19 Hunger Crisis?
This Ceres2030 webinar brought together African ministers responsible for agriculture and trade to discuss the measures their countries are taking to avert a hunger crisis by ensuring that livelihoods are secured and food systems remain functional.
Foreign Investment in Decline
UNCTAD predicted last month that COVID-19 would cause a 40% drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020.
Good Food For All – Averting a COVID-19 hunger crisis
This virtual event is intended to drive investments in the Sustainable Development Goal 2 related to ending hunger via raising awareness of numbers and costs needed.
Events & Publications
Virtual Policy Dialogue on Trade and Food System Shocks
This event will explore how trade policy can help governments anticipate and respond to food system shocks while avoiding harm to producers and consumers in other countries. It will also look at the particular role of major importing and exporting nations in helping to safeguard the stability of global food markets.
Certification insulates cotton against market shocks
GENEVA – A new policy brief released by a major global think tank claims that compliance with voluntary sustainability standards can help smallholder cotton farmers to be more resilient to global shocks – such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farmers’ group wants cash for ‘climate-friendly’ agriculture in budget
An organization representing more than 20,000 farmers across the country is urging the federal government to follow a key takeaway from a report it recently published on Canada’s shortcomings in agro-environmental policy.
The Sustainable Use of Natural Resources: The Governance Challenge
Over-exploitation of natural resources harms the health of ecosystems and the livelihoods and wellbeing of people, but there are fair policy options.
Virtual Workshop for Eastern African Policymakers on Responsible Contract Farming
This workshop will discuss legal, policy and institutional innovations to support and promote contract farming, as an important inclusive business model for responsible investment in agriculture.
IISD Trade and Sustainability Review, Volume 1, Issue 2, March 2021
This second edition of IISD's Trade and Sustainability Review features analytical pieces and commentaries that focus on a series of transitions in the realm of trade and sustainability development.
Executive Director, IISD Europe; Senior Director, Economic Law & Policy
Senior Law Advisor
Suzy H. Nikièma
Director, Agriculture, Trade & Investment
Francine Picard Mukazi
Senior Policy Advisor & Lead, Partnerships
Senior Law Advisor & Coordinator, Advisory Services
Susan H. Bragdon
Senior Policy Advisor
Lead, Monitoring and Governance, Tracking Progress
A Thirst for Distant Lands: Foreign investment in agricultural land and water
This paper examines how water is the main driver behind a new wave of foreign investment in the agriculture sector. Investors have made it clear that acquiring land without water resources has no economic value. Governments with scarce or depleted water resources are actively acquiring fertile land with abundant water resources. What is often referred to as the "great global land grab" may actually turn out to be a "water grab."
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