The Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the Food Security Program hosted a “Launch of the IFPRI 2018 Global Food Policy Report: Food Security from Global to MENA” under its FAFS Seminar Series on Tuesday, July 3. The launch event was held in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), one in a series of launches that have been held in major cities around the globe including Washington, Rome, Beijing, and New Delhi. IFPRI’s 2018 Global Food Policy Report (GFPR) reviews the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2017, and highlights challenges and opportunities for 2018 at the global and regional levels. This year’s report focuses on the rise of antiglobalism.
The Beirut launch event featured two speakers: Clemens Breisinger, senior research fellow and IFPRI’s country program leader in Egypt, highlighted the global themes of this year’s GFPR. While globalization has brought significant benefits in terms of poverty reduction and improvements in food security, globalization has also had negative impacts including in terms of worsening inequality. If globalization is to advance, it must be managed to the benefit of more people or else risk further reaction and rejection. Next, Nadim Khouri, an independent researcher focused on food security and an advisor to IFPRI, presented relevant findings for the Middle East and North Africa region. Conflict-affected countries of the region have experienced reversals of progress in achieving food and nutrition security; meanwhile, non-conflict countries of the region have continued to make progress and adopt food policy reforms, though these countries could do more to support advances across the region. Looking to the future, Khouri cautioned that MENA will not be the focus of the global debate around food insecurity and hunger, and therefore the region will have to address its own needs to ensure its forward movement.
The speakers were joined for a panel discussion by Majida Mcheik, head of the Program Department at the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture and an advisor to the Minister; Nassib Ghobril, Chief Economist and Head of the Economic Research & Analysis Department at Byblos Bank SAL; Marwan Mikhael, Head of Research and Investment Banking at BLOMINVEST Bank; and Lamis Jomaa, Assistant Professor at the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. The discussion that followed raised vigorous debate on the current structure and priorities of Lebanese agri-food policies, including production subsidies; the appropriate roles for government and the private sector in fostering growth and investment in the agri-food sector; and divergent views of agriculture as a productive economic sector versus as a source of livelihoods for producers, small farmers, and rural households. The event illustrated the need for a continued, robust, and evidence-based dialogue across all relevant stakeholders – including government, the private sector, academia and researchers, and NGOs and civil society – to inform and improve food policy in Lebanon and the region.
An audience of 80+ participated in the event, including faculty, students, alumni, and external guests from the private sector, from organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, and from NGOs and civil society.
1 - 2018 GFPR Opening Remarks and Introduction: Dean Rabi Mohtar and Ms Rachel Bahn
2 - 2018 GFPR Key Findings: Clemens Breisinger, Senior Research Fellow and Country Program Leader for Egypt, IFPRI
3 - 2018 GFPR Regional Perspective - A Tale of Two MENAs: Nadim Khouri, Independent Researcher, IFPRI
4 - 2018 GFPR - Discussion: Majida Mcheik, Head of Program Department and Advisor to the Minister, Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture
5 - 2018 GFPR - Discussion: Nassib Ghobril, Chief Economist and Head of Economic Research and Analysis Department, Byblos Bank
6 - 2018 GFPR - Discussion: Marwan Mikhael, Head of Research and Investment Banking, BLOMINVEST Bank
7 - 2018 GFPR - Lamis Jomaa, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, FAFS
8 - 2018 GFPR - Questions and Answers with Audience and Closing Remarks