Interview: IFPRI's Johan Swinnen on the COVID-19 pandemic, food security, and building future resilience

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The following is a transcript of a World Food Program-USA (WFP-USA) Hacking Hunger podcast interview with IFPRI Director General Johan Swinnen focusing on COVID-19 and its impacts, challenges and potential effects, along with solutions that might protect vulnerable people now and in the future.

WFP USA: Johan, thanks for joining us today. Could you give us a brief background on IFPRI?

Johan Swinnen: Sure. At IFPRI, our objective is to provide research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. So, we do research to provide to get evidence and suggest solutions, and that evidence then goes into policy advice that is used by international organizations, donors and governments—national and local.

WFP USA: What role is IFPRI playing in the COVID-19 crisis and have your priorities changed at all since it’s hit?

JS: COVID-19 has impacted IFPRI’s work in many ways, but the most obvious of them is that we’ve shifted our focus to studying the potential impacts of the virus. We started this very early on, because we have staff in China who began analyzing the virus when it was solely there. Since then, we’ve continued and broadened our research and have reported our findings in original publications and analyses. In that way, IFPRI has taken global leadership in this field. We hope to do even more in the months ahead.

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