Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting: Food security issues
6 October 2008 - 8 October 2008
Commonwealth Secretariat

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges the Commonwealth Secretariat website as the source of these reports.
The full set of papers from the 2008 Finance Ministers meeting can be downloaded at:

  • The challenges of high food and fuel prices
    October 2008

    Twenty-five of the Commonwealth of Nations member states have populations below 1.5 million people, the threshold usually adopted to define small states; and six are fragile states, defined by the World Bank as states with weak institutions and policies (see Appendix).

    The economy of these states, especially the smaller ones, is intricately associated with the expansion of world trade in goods, services and factors of production. They benefit from imports and exports, from open migration policies, and sometimes from outsourcing some government functions to regional organizations. But they suffer disproportionately when the expansion of world trade is at risk and when uncertainty is high.

  • Civil society statement on the implications of high food and energy prices for economic management
    September 2008

    We, representatives and leaders of civil society organisations from across the Commonwealth, met in Castries, Saint Lucia, from 8 to 10 July 2008 to assess the impact of the food and energy crisis on the poor and to mobilise civil society opinion and build consensus in advance of the 2008 Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting (CFMM) on what role civil society can play to make a meaningful impact on sustainable development and poverty reduction.

    The theme of the pan-Commonwealth consultation - the implications of high food and energy prices for economic management - which is also the special theme for the 2008 Finance Ministers Meeting in Saint Lucia in October 2008, was chosen as high fuel and food prices pose different challenges in all Commonwealth countries and all members are currently developing policy responses to meet those challenges.

  • The implications of high food and energy prices for economic management private sector perspectives
    September 2008

    This paper provides a private sector perspective on issues related to high food and energy prices for consideration by Finance Ministers. It complements the analysis and views provided in papers by the Commonwealth Secretariat and recent work on this topic by the IMF and World Bank.

    The upward price rises of both food and energy over the past year have posed a number of challenges for governments and the private sector world-wide. The impact on countries has been different depending on whether they are net importers or exporters of both food and energy. For low-income countries, there has been a double shock of increasing costs of oil and food imports. There has also been a differential effect on markets and the private sector, depending on the nature of different businesses (energy producing or consuming; farmers and users of grains and producers of fertilizer and foodstuffs). However, the resulting turbulence for the wider international economy has had a destabilising effect, provoking social turmoil in the form of protests and food riots in many countries. It is therefore in the wider interest to address the volatility, particularly since it is likely to continue.

  • Trade, climate change and sustainable development: Key issues for small developing countries
    September 2008

    The interface between trade and climate change both from the perspective of mitigation and adaptation has entered the international high-level policy arena. The interests and concerns of developed and large emerging economies in this area have received significant attention. However, the prospects and perspectives of smaller developing countries including small and vulnerable economies, least-developed countries, and small island developing states remain obscure. For smaller developing countries to understand the opportunities and challenges they face with regard to climate change and trade policy, and to make informed policy choices, they need solid background information and an inclusive debate involving relevant stakeholders from their regions.

  • Food prices and agricultural production in emerging markets new solutions from insurance
    September 2008

    Food prices for wheat, maize, corn or soya beans have risen in the last year markedly, mainly as a result of a growing imbalance between supply and demand for agricultural products. Since 2000, prices for food have nearly doubled around the world. The supply side is not keeping up with the increase in demand. Direct investments into agriculture production are still remarkably low. In order to increase agricultural production and investment, reducing the volatility of agricultural production would assure stable returns for investors, allow farmers to retain their capital to invest in future production, and reduce the burden on governments to support farmers in the event of a natural disaster. This is an area where insurers can draw on their expertise to add value.

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