Biofuels and Food Security

Fischer, G., Hizsnyik, E., Prieler, S. ORCID:, Shah, M., & van Velthuizen, H.T. (2009). Biofuels and Food Security. Final Report to Sponsor: The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Vienna, Austria (March 2009)

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Biofuels development has received increased attention in recent times as a means to mitigate climate change, alleviate global energy concerns and foster rural development. Its perceived importance in these three areas has seen biofuels feature prominently on the international agenda. Nevertheless, the rapid growth of biofuels production has raised many concerns among experts worldwide, in particular with regard to sustainability issues and the threat posed to food security. The UN Secretary General, in his opening remarks to the High-level Segment of the 16th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, stated that: "We need to ensure that policies promoting biofuels are consistent with maintaining food security and achieving sustainable development goals."

Aware of a lack of integrated scientific analysis, OFID has commissioned this study, Biofuels and Food Security, which has been prepared by the renowned International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). This seminal research work assesses the impact on developing countries of wide-scale production and use of biofuels, in terms of both sustainable agriculture and food security. The unique feature of this study is that its quantified findings are derived from a scenario approach based on a peer reviewed modelling framework, which has contributed to the work of many scientific fora such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the United Nations (Climate Change and Agricultural Vulnerability, World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg).

One of the key conclusions of the study is that an accelerated growth of first-generation biofuels production is threatening the availability of adequate food supplies for humans, by diverting land, water and other resources away from food and feed crops. Meanwhile, the "green" contribution of biofuels is seen as deceptive, with mainly second-generation biofuels appearing to offer interesting prospects. Sustainability issues (social, economic and environmental), the impact on land use, as well as many risk aspects are amongst the key issues tackled in the research.

With the publication of this study, OFID seeks to uphold its time-honored tradition of promoting debate on issues of special interest to developing countries, including the OFID/OPEC Member States.

Item Type: Other
Research Programs: Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes (LUC)
Bibliographic Reference: Final Report to Sponsor: The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Vienna, Austria (March 2009)
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Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:42
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:20

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