Feeding the World in 2050

By the year 2050 the global population will have risen by 50% with an additional 3 billion mouths to feed. In the same period, it is predicted that climate change will cause agriculture output to fall by as much as 25% in at risk areas.

In January 2013, the Institute hosted a two-day symposium to discuss possible global actions and solutions to these issues. The symposium was held in association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It was attended by over 200 delegates from around the world and its aim was to stimulate policy makers to consider the issue of global food security and the role which Ireland can play in the area.

The conference was opened by the President of Ireland Mr Michael D Higgins with presentations from leading experts in the areas of food security, biofuels and climate change. Mr Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for  Agriculture, Food and the Marine, gave the closing address.

All the presentations from the two day event can be watched below and the slides are available for download. A series of short interviews with a number of the speakers highlighting some of the issues raised during discussions is also available.

Prof Brian O'Neill

Prof Brian O’Neill is the head of the Integrated Modelling group within the Climate Change Research section at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research based in Boulder, Colorado, USA. In his presentation he assesses current demographic trends and expectations over the next 40 years, review research on how demographic changes may affect the outlook for climate change, and discuss policy implications.

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Prof Joachim von Braun

Professor Joachim von Braun is Director of the Center for Development Research and Professor for Economic and Technological Change at University of Bonn, Germany. In his presentation Prof von Braun discuss the global risks that severely impact on the food security of the poor and the national and international actions required.

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Prof Tim Wheeler

Professor Tim Wheeler is Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK Department for International Development and Professor of Crop Science University of Reading. Prof Wheeler's presentation focuses on how climate change due to human activities will affect crops grown for both human consumption and livestock feed, and the adaptation strategies and investment that will be needed, both to respond to climate change and to meet the increasing demand for food products expected over the coming decades.

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Prof Ian Graham

Professor Ian Graham holds the Weston Chair of Biochemical Genetics and is the Director of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at the University of York. His research interests focus on the metabolic regulation of gene expression in higher plants and metabolic engineering of novel oils and other high value chemicals. In his presentation Prof Graham examines the part that can be played by biotechnology in meeting the increasing demand for food against a backdrop of climate change and a growing scarcity of water and land.

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Dr Mark Rosegrant

Mark W. Rosegrant is the Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC. His presentation focuses on the challenge to current and future food security by growing water scarcity and water quality constraints especially as agriculture continues to be the largest user of freshwater resources for all regions.

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Dr Siwa Msangi

Siwa Msangi is a Senior Research Fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division with a focus on the major socio-economic and bio-physical drivers affecting agricultural production and trade, and their impacts on nutrition, poverty and the environment. In his paper, he addresses the implications of changing food consumption patterns, and what they imply for market prices, food security and nutrition.

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Prof Patrick Paul Walsh

Professor Patrick Paul Walsh is Chair of International Development Studies in the School of Politics and International Relations at UCD. In his paper, Prof Walsh puts the case forward for a global institution that regulates prices, standards and competition in the food industry to address the current imbalance whereby global incomes and food markets ensure that the rich pay a lot for poor quality food and the poor lack access to food.

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Prof Patrick Paul Walsh

Professor Patrick Paul Walsh is Chair of International Development Studies in the School of Politics and International Relations at UCD. In his paper, Prof Walsh puts the case forward for a global institution that regulates prices, standards and competition in the food industry to address the current imbalance whereby global incomes and food markets ensure that the rich pay a lot for poor quality food and the poor lack access to food.

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Dr Tom Arnold

Tom Arnold was CEO of Concern Worldwide from 2001 until February 2013. He was previously Assistant Secretary General and Chief Economist in the Department of Agriculture and Food in Ireland. Tom has served on a number of high level bodies including the UN Millennium Project’s Hunger Task Force the Irish Hunger Task Force. In his presentation Dr Arnold outlines how investing in nutrition is investing in the future of a country and how a holistic, multi-stakeholder approach is required to ensure the integration of nutrition across different sectors and programmes.

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Dr Tommy Boland

Dr. Tommy Boland is a lecturer in ruminant nutrition and sheep production in the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science. His current research interests include rumen function, including dietary effects on fermentation, methane emissions, nitrogen metabolism and the interaction between diet and rumen microbial profile. In his presentation Dr Boland discusses how decisions made in the short and mid-term in relation to the management of current natural resources to feed the increasing population, have the potential to exert disproportionate influence on the future of the planet, presenting major challenges and opportunities for all sections of our global society.

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Prof Shane Ward

Shane Ward is Professor of Biosystems Engineering at University College Dublin. Professor Ward has a particular interest in the food vs fuel debate, which addresses the challenge of how to exploit the b2e potential of agriculture while also meeting the food needs of mankind and the output aspirations of the industry.

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Dr Hugh Brady

Video presentation below

President Michael D Higgins

Video presentation below

Mr Kevin Farrell

Video presentation below

Minister Simon Coveney

Video presentation below