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In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Last Friday I spoke at this event “What Works in Education”, a research colloquium sponsored by the World Bank, J-PAL, and USAID (which, like the World Bank, has recently released a new education strategy).
Our motto at CGD is “Independent research & practical ideas for global prosperity.” Translating ideas to action requires world-class policy research, effective outreach, and teamwork with colleagues in many global institutions, When everything goes right, my colleagues at CGD produce some real gems that command global recognition.
This just happened to CGD senior fellow David Wheeler, whose work with colleagues at the World Bank and United Nations Development Program has received the first annual prize for excellence awarded by the journal Climate Policy.
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently reported that the December 2010 Food Price Index surpassed the peak reached in June 2008. A closer examination of the data, however, provides some modest hope that the worst effects of the 2007-08 price spikes can be avoided, with luck and better policies.
First, it is important to note that only two of the five components of the Food Price Index were above 2008 levels—meat (slightly above) and sugar (more than twice as high). Second, as shown in the chart below, staple grain prices, which are key to preventing hunger among the poor, are increasing sharply, while rice and, to a lesser degree, wheat remain well below their 2008 peaks. Maize is the exception, thanks in part to U.S. policies supporting corn-based ethanol that bring to mind the zombies populating popular culture—they just won’t die!