The Huffington Post is running “a series of blogs by leading NGOs to call attention to a range of issues that should be raised at the G8 summit at Camp David in rural Maryland from May 18-19,” according to the news service. The following summarizes some of the posts published over the past three days.
Environment and Climate Change
“This G8 summit was, yet again, a missed opportunity for international leaders to make a real commitment to long-term food security and support for African and developing world farmers,” Eva Clayton (D-N.C.), a former Congresswoman and former assistant director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), writes in this post in the Huffington Post’s “The World” blog. “In the realm of food security, the G8 had an ideal opportunity to provide a clear solution that embraces trade and opportunity, a new paradigm if you will, in international development and food security,” she continues, adding, “Unfortunately, G8 leaders emerging from Camp David still spoke of the same old aid commitments without any backbone, all the while ignoring the impact that trade barriers and U.S. and European multi-billion dollar subsidies have on food production in those countries most in need of development.”
Aid Agencies Warn April's Steep Increases In Grain Prices Will Affect Sahel Nations During Lean Season
“Unexpectedly sharp price rises in April for local cereals like millet, rice, and maize in parts of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad mean many vulnerable people in the drought-hit Sahel could find it even harder to get enough to eat,” IRIN reports. “Prices are expected to keep rising until the end of August — during the lean season — but the size of recent hikes has surprised food price analysts and humanitarian aid personnel,” the news service writes (5/25). In an article detailing the situation in Senegal, the Associated Press notes, “More than one million children under five in this wide, arid swath of Africa below the Sahara are now at risk of a food shortage so severe that it threatens their lives, UNICEF estimates” (Larson, 5/27).
“I have just returned from a whirlwind visit to Washington, D.C., and Chicago, where I participated in a number of events around the G8 and NATO Summits focused on food and nutrition security,” Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern Worldwide, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, adding, “Among so many world leaders and high-level representatives from civil society and academia, I felt a sense of critical mass beginning to form in the fight to end global hunger.” He continues, “It’s a feeling I’ve had before — perhaps not this strong — only to be disappointed when promises went unfulfilled. We must keep calling our leaders to persevere, especially those in the G8, to ensure that does not happen this time.”
U.N. Official Calls For More Leadership, Funding, Comprehensive Plan To Address Potential Humanitarian Crisis In Sahel
U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos on Thursday “called for strong leadership and a comprehensive response plan, as well as donor support, for the food crisis in West Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region, warning that hunger could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe,” the U.N. News Centre reports (5/24). Amos “met with President Macky Sall in Senegal and Blaise Compaore in Burkina Faso on a four-day trip to west Africa to examine the impact of the food crisis,” Agence France-Presse writes. “We can do more to avoid the crisis from becoming a catastrophe in the region but to save more lives we need strong leadership … and continued generosity from the regional and humanitarian community,” she said, the news agency notes (5/24). The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which Amos heads, said that in addition to food aid, “priorities for those in need of assistance include health care and water and sanitation services,” according to the U.N. News Centre (5/24).
Aid Groups Warn Yemen Needs Immediate Assistance To Prevent Food Security 'Crisis'; Donors Pledge $4B For Development
“Seven aid groups on Wednesday warned Western diplomats that Yemen was on the brink of a ‘catastrophic food crisis’ and urged them to bolster efforts to salvage the situation as they meet in Riyadh for an international conference to help the nation,” Agence France-Presse reports (5/23). The meeting of the so-called “Friends of Yemen” is expected to focus on political transition and improving security, but “[i]n their warning, the aid agencies — CARE, International Medical Corps, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, and Save the Children — say this focus is preventing action to alleviate poverty and hunger,” BBC News writes (5/22). Reuters notes that the “United States, European Union, France, Egypt, and Russia were attending the Riyadh summit on Wednesday, as were Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman” (Kane, 5/23). The donors have promised $4 billion to support development projects and stabilization efforts in Yemen, with Saudi Arabia pledging $3.25 billion of the total, Devex reports (Mungcal, 5/24).
“The U.K. will hold an international food security summit during the Olympic games in London this summer, British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced in a statement to the House of Commons,” AlertNet reports (Caspani, 5/23). “The move follows last week’s G8 summit in the U.S., where eight of the world’s wealthiest nations pledged to speed up progress on combating hunger and malnutrition,” the Guardian writes, noting that President Barack Obama last week launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
Ahead of the Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, “CGIAR, the world’s largest publicly funded research body, has published a seven-point ‘call to action’ plan,” which “call[s] for an improved commitment to deliver nutrition security and lessen the need to aid,” BBC News reports. The Rio+20 meeting “will focus on two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development,” and will include seven priority areas: “decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness,” according to organizers, the news service notes, adding that CGIAR is expected to present its plan at the meeting (Kinver, 5/23).
In his Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) blog “The Internationalist,” Stewart Patrick, senior fellow and director of the CFR Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, writes about the first U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security (.pdf), which “predicts that by 2030 humanity’s ‘annual global water requirements’ will exceed ‘current sustainable water supplies’ by 40 percent.” According to Patrick, the document says “[a]bsent major policy interventions, water insecurity will generate widespread social and political instability and could even contribute to state failure in regions important to U.S. national security.” He describes several factors that are pushing a “combination of surging global demand for increasingly scarce fresh water in certain volatile regions of poor governance.” Though “the intelligence community has performed a great service” with this report, “the policy response to date has been just a drop in the bucket,” Patrick concludes (5/8).
Kansas City’s KCUR 89.3 FM reports on the 2012 International Food Aid & Development Conference, where experts gathered this week to discuss food aid programs. The news service writes, “The challenge for governments, aid agencies and recipient countries is to create a collaborative food aid system that accommodates both the needs of the U.S. agriculture industry and growing food insecurity among a mushrooming population,” and quotes a number of experts who spoke at the event.