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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).

G8 Leaders Must Follow Through On Food Security Commitments

“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.”

British Prime Minister Cameron To Hold Food Security Summit During Olympic Games In London

“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.

Research Group To Present Plan To Improve Nutrition Security At Rio+20 Summit

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).

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).

Humanitarian Crisis Worsening In Yemen, State Department Officials Say

“Yemen is not only one of the most dangerous countries in the world, it’s also home to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, according to the grim numbers offered today by State Department officials,” ABC News reports. “The United States is providing more than $73 million of humanitarian assistance to Yemen, which is being used for food aid, food vouchers, water and sanitation programs, and medical clinics,” ABC News writes, noting, “Yemen has not had a proper government for nearly a year, since the fall of President Ali Abdullah Saleh” (Hughes, 5/21).

U.S. To Provide $30M In Assistance Through USAID To World Food Programme For South Sudan

The U.S. Government, through USAID, is providing $30 million in emergency assistance to people affected by conflict and food insecurity in South Sudan, United Press International reports. The money will be delivered through the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), according to a USAID press release, the news service notes (5/21). The money will help WFP position food supplies across the country before many of the roads become impassable because of the rainy season, according to the press release. “The U.S. Government is the largest supporter of WFP’s operation in South Sudan, and including this donation, has contributed more than $110 million in 2012 to WFP’s emergency operation in the country,” the press release notes (5/21).

Opinion Pieces Discuss Global Action On Food Security

The Hill’s “Congress Blog” on Friday published two opinion pieces addressing global food security, the G8 summit, and the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security. The following are summaries of the pieces.

Chicago Council On Global Affairs Publishes Several Commentaries On Food Security

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought” blog on Sunday published several commentaries addressing food security issues. Commentators include Roger Thurow, senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy at the Council; Lisa Dreier, director of food security and development initiatives at the World Economic Forum USA; Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president and senior director at the National Security Council, and Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator; Danielle Nierenberg, co-project director of State of World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet for the Worldwatch Institute; Glynn Young, director of online strategy and communications for Monsanto Company; and Sam Dryden, director of the Agricultural Development initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (5/20).

7 Ways For Programs Combating Hunger To Better Reach Women

“Through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, women are being recognized as playing a major role in tackling global hunger,” guest blogger Seema Jalan, director of global development policy at Women Thrive Worldwide, writes in this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog.” She lists “seven things we at Women Thrive believe any program — whether from government, an NGO or private company — have to do to succeed by reaching women,” including ensuring property rights for women and providing women farmers with the tools and training they need (5/18).

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