In this post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Rick Leach, president and CEO of World Food Program USA, examines the empowerment of small-scale farmers to become active participants in the global economy as a strategy to tackle world hunger. Leach provides examples of successful initiatives…
Environment and Climate Change
“The [U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization] FAO index of global food prices hit an 11-month low in October, reflecting sharp falls in grain, sugar and oils prices, the U.N. food agency said on Thursday, Reuters reports (11/3). “The agency attributes the decline to an improved supply outlook for a number of commodities and uncertainty about global economic prospects,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/3). “Nonetheless prices still remain generally higher than last year and very volatile, FAO said,” according to an FAO press release (11/3). On Tuesday, the World Bank Group released its Food Price Watch ahead of this week’s Group of 20 (G20) summit, stating that “[w]orld food prices remain high and are hitting the poorest countries hard,” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (11/1).
“Millions of children and women of child-bearing age in North Korea face malnutrition which can leave them at higher risk of death or disease, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. UNICEF urged donors to fill a funding gap to prevent a “nutrition crisis” in the country, the news agency states (Nebehay, 11/1). According to Agence France-Presse, “UNICEF had asked for $20.4 million for 2011, but has received just $4.6 million” (11/1).
The VOA News audio program “Explorations” on Tuesday discussed international humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa. The program features interviews with Kurt Tjossem, the International Rescue Committee’s regional director for the Horn of Africa and East Africa; Shannon Scribner, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy manager; and Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
Several countries in West Africa, including Niger, Mauritania and Chad, are facing food insecurity crises “unless the international community acts now, the United Nations warned on Friday,” AlertNet reports. “Communities in the Sahel, which faces increasingly frequent droughts, have not had time to recover from the last food crisis,” which hit the region last year, the news service reports.
In the clinic of Hilaweyn, one of four camps at Ethiopia’s Dollo Ado complex for Somali refugees seeking relief from famine and poor security conditions, “[a] massive infusion of humanitarian resources … appears to be turning the tide” against child mortality, according to Doctors Without Borders, which operates the clinic, VOA News reports. “When Doctors Without Borders opened the Hilaweyn clinic … in August, children were dying of malnutrition at the rate of more than one a day. Two months later, the clinic’s emergency coordinator Aria Danika said they treat 1,000 cases a day, and only one child has died in the past two weeks,” VOA writes (Heinlein, 10/28).
“Despite a massive increase in humanitarian operations and international funding since famine was formally declared 100 days ago, the relief effort in Somalia is expected to miss almost all its key targets for 2011, a draft United Nations report reveals,” the Guardian reports, adding, “[m]alnutrition rates have more than doubled, less than 60 percent of the 3.7 million people targeted have received monthly food assistance, and only 58 percent of a targeted 1.2 million people received critical non-food aid items.”
In this New York Times opinion piece, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tina Rosenberg reports on the use of food vouchers by some aid organizations in Somalia, highlighting the efforts of World Concern, “a Seattle-based Christian humanitarian group, and its Somali partner, the African Rescue Committee, [which] provide 1,800 families every two weeks with rice, beans, cooking oil, salt and sugar for their tea.”
U.N. Calls For Concerted Efforts On Food Security Issues; Australia Drives Food Security As Commonwealth Meeting Theme
“United Nations officials [on Thursday] called for concerted efforts to ensure the world’s fast-growing population has enough food, stressing that global food production will have to double by 2050 when the planet is expected to host one billion inhabitants,” according to the U.N. News Centre. “Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that guaranteeing sustainable food and nutrition security for all will require the full engagement of governments and the private sector” and “said he was encouraged by the renewed political interest in food security, including the prominence that is being given to the issue by the Group of 20 of the world’s largest economies,” the news service adds (10/27).
“One month after [USAID] announced the FWD (famine, war, and drought) public awareness campaign at the Social Good summit, they officially launched the campaign across the country though celebrity public service announcements (PSAs) developed with the Ad Council,” according to a post in the Department of State’s “DipNote” blog. The ads feature…