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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).

Obama Announces $3B Food Initiative For Africa

In a Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security on Friday, President Barack Obama “announced a plan to accelerate investments in developing world agriculture to meet rising food demands and improve nutrition, calling the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition a moral, economic and security imperative,” IIP Digital reports (Porter, 5/18). The new program, unveiled “in conjunction with African leaders from Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania, will parlay more than $3 billion in private assistance into a public-private partnership with an ambitious goal: lifting 50 million people from poverty over 10 years,” according to USA Today’s “The Oval” (Wolf, 5/18). The initiative “will constitute the next phase of a groundbreaking program begun during the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy,” Inter Press Service writes (Brion, 5/18). More than 45 companies have pledged to invest in the initiative, Devex notes (Ravelo, 5/10). A fact sheet on the New Alliance is available on the White House website (5/18).

Obama To Announce New Initiative Aimed At Boosting African Agriculture In Advance Of G8 Summit This Weekend

On Friday, President Barack Obama is expected to announce “new investments in African agriculture in a speech in Washington … as a precursor to the weekend Group of Eight [G8] summit at Camp David, Maryland,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Bjerga, 5/18). “The president is scheduled to speak to African leaders at a summit on food security Friday,” VOA News writes, adding, “[The] new initiative is expected to target 50 million food-insecure people by boosting agricultural investments” (5/17). According to NPR’s “Morning Edition,” “The leaders of Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana are among those in Washington to launch the new food security initiative, which [USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah] says will include several billion dollars in investments from private companies” (Kelemen, 5/18). “We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment,” Shah said, the New York Times writes (Strom, 5/17).

U.N. Appeals For More Than $500M In Emergency Aid For South Sudan; WFP Says $360M Shortfall To Address Food Insecurity In Sahel

The U.N. is calling for $505 million in emergency aid for the people of South Sudan, with the bulk of the funding going “toward providing food to tens of thousands of South Sudanese, many of whom are returning home from Sudan,” VOA News reports (Doki, 5/15). “It is uncertain whether the appeal will be fully funded, given the status of last year’s humanitarian appeal,” Devex writes, noting that “[o]nly one-third of the nearly $800 million appeal in 2011 has been funded as of May 16” (Ravelo, 5/16). Lisa Grande, the U.N. humanitarian aid program coordinator in South Sudan, “said the amount of food needed for the region has doubled compared to last year,” according to VOA (5/15).

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