Bringing the nexus between food and human security

Marie-Alice attended the 2012 G20 Summit in Mexico where she represented The Australian National University. Marie-Alice is studying a Bachelor of Arts & Asia-Pacific Studies.


Human and food security are mutually reinforcing and the accomplishment of these two objectives can reduce poverty levels and lift development worldwide. The UNDP defines human security as freedom from fear and freedom from want,1 where all basic needs are met, including food, shelter and education2. Food security, on the other hand, is the basic ‘right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food’,3 including physical and economic access.4 The clear nexus between these two objectives indicates how their achievement may assist in raising the standard of living of those in the developing world. The recent food crisis in 2008 increased the number of food insecure people to 925 million people,5 and in the Asia-Pacific this number increased to 582 million.6 Rising food prices contributed to the recent food crisis, reasons for which included rising energy prices and increased usage of biofuels and their flow-on effects to food prices. Increasing food prices leads to greater social instability and malnourishment, which further perpetuates the poverty cycle. Actions can be taken to mitigate these negative effects including greater investment in agriculture and agricultural research and development, as well as looking towards alternative programs such as small-scale agriculture. Achieving greater food security is crucial for achieving human security which can lead to greater stability and security worldwide. Given Australia’s location in the Asia-Pacific region alleviating food security is central for poverty reduction and enhancing regional security.

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