Sunday, October 16th was World Food Day, a day to reflect on the fact that almost 800 million people remain chronically hungry in a world where food production is at all-time highs. In honor of the occasion, we have just published an update on progress in ending the rural component of global hunger. We wanted to see if there is evidence yet for a potential break from business-as-usual global trends. Unfortunately, we were not able to find it. If anything the pace of progress might be slowing rather than accelerating.
Globalization—the integration among national economies of markets for goods, services, technology, capital flows, and, to some degree, labor—has played an enormous role in advancing global prosperity. Yet a backlash has emerged, manifested in the recent U.K. Brexit vote, strident “local first” demands, and calls to block trade agreements. The issues are not entirely new. In 1997 Dani Rodrik’s book famously asked Has Globalization Gone Too Far? Joseph Stiglitz published Globalization and Its Discontents in 2002. In between, the 1999 “Battle in Seattle” protests forced the World Trade Organization’s ministerial to shut down.
The new global agenda hammered out in 2015 is more comprehensive in scope, more universal in its relevance to countries across the income spectrum, and more ambitious in its targets than the MDG agenda of 2000-2015. The three central goals now are to reignite growth, deliver on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and ramp up actions in line with the ambitions of the Paris climate agreement.