Between 2005 and 2008, global food prices increased 83 per cent. The price of wheat rose by 127 per cent, rice by 170 per cent and that of maize tripled. As a result the number of people suffering from chronic hunger reached a historic high of 1.02 billion in 2009, with the Asia- Pacific region accounting for 63 per cent of that total (642 million people). Although the situation improved in 2010 due to a more favourable economic environment and a fall in both international and domestic food prices, the future remains daunting. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for example, forecast that the average wheat and coarse grain prices over the next 10 years will increase by between 15 and 40 per cent in real terms compared to average levels during 1997–2006. These events and projections demonstrate the global nature of the food problem, and underscore the importance of deeper regional cooperation.
To address this growing food problem, the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and the Department of International Relations of the Australian National University (ANU) jointly organised a Public Forum and Workshop entitled 'Securing Food Futures in the Asia-Pacific: Evaluating Regional Frameworks for Food Security' on 6–8 October 2010 at the ANU in Canberra, Australia. The event is co-funded by the Japan Foundation under its Intellectual Exchange Programme and the MacArthur Foundation's Asia Security Initiative.