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Global Monitoring Report 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals

GRM 2012 cover image

What has been the impact of yet another food price spike on developing countries' ability to make progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? How many poor people were prevented from lifting themselves out of poverty? How many people, and how many children, saw their personal growth and development permanently harmed because their families could not afford to buy food? How did countries react to the last two food price spikes of 2007/08 and 2011, and how did it affect their progress toward the MDGs? And, what can countries do to respond to higher and more volatile food prices? The Global Monitoring Report 2012 examines these questions; summarizes the impacts of food prices on several MDGs; reviews policy responses; and outlines future prospects.

Key Findings
  • The food price spikes in 2010/2011 have prevented millions of people from escaping poverty because the poor spend large shares of their incomes on food.
  • Higher food prices have increased undernourishment. As a result, progress towards MDGs closely linked to food and nutrition is lagging, particularly child mortality (MDG 4) and maternal mortality (MDG 5), with 105 countries of the 144 monitored not expected to reach MDG 4, and 94 off track on MDG 5.
  • Urban, non-farm, and female headed households are affected the most in the short term by higher food prices.
  • Higher food prices raise the poverty headcount in most developing countries. The food price spike of 2010/11 is estimated to have prevented 48.6 million from escaping poverty in the short-run. In the medium to long term farmers and rural households are likely to benefit and escape extreme poverty.
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Briefs: Food Price Impacts across regions

East Asia and Pacific

The region has achieved several targets, while those on maternal and child mortality are lagging.

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Europe and Central Asia

Increased efforts must be undertaken with regards to improving child and maternal mortality.

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Latin America and Caribbean

The region is performing well on child mortality but lagging on maternal mortality.

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Middle East and North Africa

Progress is fast on universal primary education and gender equality but lagging on maternal mortality.

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South Asia

Progress has been made on education and poverty but is off-track on child and maternal mortality.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

The region is lagging on most MDGs, with urgent attention needed on child and maternal mortality.

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