Just as the world economy was showing signs of a recovery, a new global recession and a financial crisis in Europe are looming on the horizon. The economies of the great majority of countries grew in 2010, albeit at different speeds. While growth in the most developed countries was sluggish and in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) averaged a little over 4%, the production of the developing economies rose by more than 6.5%, with China and India, the new engines of the world economy, leading the way. Paradoxically, the specter of recession has appeared when the global economy is also showing growing inflationary pressure, fueled by the behavior of the emerging economies, in which food and energy weigh more heavily on consumption. A rise in the cost of the food basket has once again turned the spotlight on the problem of food security and highlighted the climate of instability in the markets, reflected in the volatility of commodity prices. These conclusions are based on the macroeconomic and sectoral contexts presented in the first part of the latest report prepared jointly by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) for 2011, entitled The Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas: a Perspective on Latin America and the Caribbean. The report is divided into four sections, comprised of 11 chapters and a statistical annex.