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New Books – Greening the economy

Towards Agricultural Change? | FAO Statistical Year Book 2012 | Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific | The State of Food Insecurity in the World | Green Growth, Resources and Resilience | Towards a Green Economy | Development through a Low carbon pathway | Gender and climate change research in agriculture and food security for rural development

Development, the Environment and Food: Towards Agricultural Change?

Book cover - Development, the Environment and Food: Towards Agricultural Change?

Pierre Jacquet, R. K. Pachauri, and Laurence Tubiana (Eds), 2012,
The Energy and Resources Institute, Darbari Seth Block, IHC Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110 003, India;
Email: teripress@teri.res.in; http://bookstore.teriin.org, 264 p., Rs. 655.00,
ISBN 978-81-7993-443-2

Development, the Environment and Food: Towards Agricultural Change? is a comprehensive book that unravels the many controversies hidden behind the renewed international consensus on investing in agriculture. The book brings together works by over 30 international experts in their fields to discuss, amongst others, the role of agriculture for development, opportunities for investment in agricultural lands, the relationship between agriculture and our environment in a time of climate change and resources scarcities, and illustrates that issues of food security go beyond the sole agricultural sector. Global agriculture, as portrayed in this book, is faced with great challenges, and will need to change in order to meet them. To help steering these changes towards greater sustainability, this book raises awareness about how crucial it is to change our representations of agriculture, change the visions that guide projects for change and the policies regulating this sector.

Divided in 15 chapters, the book delves into the diversity of food and agricultural issues. It analyses the whole food chain – from agricultural R&D, to farmers and farming systems, down to agro-industries and consumers – and contains case studies from all five continents, from the development of organic agriculture in Thailand to the reforms of agricultural policies in Europe and North and South America.

World Food and Agriculture – FAO Statistical Year Book 2012

Book cover

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Publishing Policy and Support Branch, Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy,
ISBN 978-92-5-106913-4

The 2012 edition of the FAO Statistical Yearbook represents a break away from FAO tradition. Through employing data from global statistical providers, including FAO, the publication presents a visual synthesis of the major trends and factors shaping the global food and agricultural landscape and their interplay with broader environmental, social and economic dimensions. In doing so, it strives to serve as a unique reference point on the state of world food and agriculture for policy-makers, donor agencies, researchers and analysts as well as the general public.The book is subdivided into four thematic parts, where an attempt is made to exhaustively present the spectrum of issues relevant to the subject matter:

Part 1 – The setting measures the state of the agricultural resource base, by assessing the supply of land, labour, capital, inputs and the adequacy of infrastructure, and also examines the pressure on the world food system stemming from demographic and macroeconomic change.

Part 2 – Hunger dimensions gauges the state of food insecurity and malnutrition, measuring the multitude of dimensions that give rise to hunger and those that shape undernourishment.

Part 3 – Feeding the world evaluates the past and present productive capacity of world agriculture together with the role of trade in meeting changing food, feed and other demands.

Part 4 Sustainability dimensions examines the sustainability of agriculture in the context of the pressure it exerts on the environment, including the interaction of agriculture with climate change, and how it can provide ecosystem services in relation to the bio-based economy.

Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific – How Can Countries Adapt?

Book coverVenkatachalam Anbumozhi, Meinhard Breiling, Selvarajah Pathmarajah and Vangimalla R Reddy, April 2012,
SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd., 404 p.,
ISBN: 9788132108948

Climate change is now widely regarded as one of the most serious challenges the world faces, and adapting to it is an urgent requirement for countries across the world. The less developed countries of the Asia and Pacific region, despite contributing the least to the emission of greenhouse gases, are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific: How Can Countries Adapt compiles policies and best practices on climate change adaptation, emphasizing the fact that the Asia and Pacific region needs immediate measures-both structural and nonstructural-in order to adapt to climate change. The discussions elaborate on issues related to water resources, agriculture, and natural resources management, which are some of the most vital sectors for the region from environmental, social, and economic perspectives.

Although the policies and measures discussed in the book are specific to the Asia and Pacific region, the key findings will be relevant to other regions as well; for example, Africa and Latin America.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World

The State of Food Insecurity in the World
FAO, IFAD, WFP, 2011, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy; sofi@fao.org

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 highlights the differential impacts that the world food crisis of 2006-08 had on different countries, with the poorest being most affected. While some large countries were able to deal with the worst of the crisis, people in many small import-dependent countries experienced large price increases that, even when only temporary, can have permanent effects on their future earnings capacity and ability to escape poverty.

This year’s report focuses on the costs of food price volatility, as well as the dangers and opportunities presented by high food prices. Climate change and an increased frequency of weather shocks, increased linkages between energy and agricultural markets due to growing demand for biofuels, and increased financialization of food and agricultural commodities all suggest that price volatility is here to stay. The report describes the effects of price volatility on food security and presents policy options to reduce volatility in a cost-effective manner and to manage it when it cannot be avoided. It will be important to provide improved market information, create gender-sensitive safety nets that are designed in advance and can be implemented quickly in times of crisis, and invest in agriculture for the long-term to make it more productive and resilient to shocks.

Green Growth, Resources and Resilience: Environmental Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific

Book cover

Asian Development Bank, February 2012,
ISBN: 978-92-1-120635-7

This report—Green Growth, Resources, and Resilience—describes an evolving policy landscape characterized by a changing economic reality, rising demand for resources, increasingly apparent impacts of environmental and climate change, and increased risk and uncertainty. The report provides new insights into Asian and Pacific resource use trends and outlines key actions, including reforming economic incentives and promoting more inclusive and adaptive governance approaches, that governments can pursue to help bring economic growth strategies in closer alignment with the objective of sustainable development. It also provides examples of strategies for improving resilience to help deal with the increasing levels of risk faced by societies and economies.

The report is the product of a combined effort by three institutions: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is the sixth in a series of reports prepared by ESCAP for successive Ministerial Conferences on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, and is the third in ADB’s Asian Environment Outlook series. It is also in line with the mandate of UNEP to keep the state of the environment under review.

The report provides timely support to policymakers and other stakeholders as they prepare for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) and as they continue work to address persistent and emerging challenges on their way to more sustainable development.