Sandakerveien 130 (map)
1st and 2nd floor
There are numerous well-intentioned global efforts and development agendas and a multitude of stakeholders involved in saving lives as well as promoting long-term development in many developing countries. But what characterizes the relationship between good intentions and actually achieved results? How well are such activities coordinated? How effectively can external actors make a meaningful contribution to alleviating local problems? And most importantly, whose priorities do such interventions address, and to what extent are the so-called “beneficiaries” consulted?
A little over a decade ago, there were widespread concerns over a major decline in global agricultural production and a corresponding rise in food prices. With the world’s largest share of arable land, Africa began to witness increased interest from foreign investors, who were optimistic of their ability to transform the continent’s agriculture sector while ensuring that their own countries would enjoy a steady supply of food. A decade later, and with hindsight, such ambitions appear to have been rather naïve.
In a recent report, Philip Alston – the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights – points to the flip side of human progress. He argues that the impact of climate will be greatest on the people living in poverty and that climate disruption will threaten democracy and human rights in large parts of the world.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the launch of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 (SOFI) report at the United Nations in New York. The report does not make for pleasant reading.
An estimated 38 million people in the world today are vulnerable to famine and 815 million suffer from various forms of hunger. No country epitomizes the hunger challenge better than India. The country's much touted success in preventing famine due to democratic political institutions (as famously argued by the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen) has not been replicated in the field of chronic hunger, which remains a major concern and affects large groups in the population.