“During his visit to Kenya, E.U. Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs announced new support to address food security in Kenya, which is often affected by recurrent drought,” an E.U. press release states. “Up to 40 million euros [approximately $52.5 million] will be dedicated to nutrition, water supply, and livelihood support,” and “mothers and children will be in particular focus of this initiative, as they are the first victims of drought and hunger,” the press release notes, adding, “The funding comes as a part of the new 250 million euro E.U. initiative, called ‘Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience (SHARE),’ to support the people in the Horn of Africa to recover from the recent drought and to strengthen the population and regional economy to better withstand future crises” (5/2).
Food Security and Nutrition
UNICEF on Wednesday “warned that thousands of acutely malnourished children in Somalia are at risk of death because little money is available to help them,” VOA News writes, adding, “UNICEF said it has received only 12 percent of its $289 million emergency appeal for humanitarian operations this year.” “The famine declared in southern Somalia last year is over,” but “Somalia remains the world’s most complex humanitarian situation,” the news service writes, noting that UNICEF “reported that almost one-third of Somalis are unable to meet their essential food and non-food needs.”
At Least 1M Children At Risk Of Death In Sahel Drought Crisis; European Commission Donates Over $20M To UNICEF Appeal
“At least one million children are at risk of dying of malnutrition in the central-western part of Africaâ€™s Sahel region due to a drought crisis, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said [Wednesday], adding that more resources are urgently needed to help those in need,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “There are currently 15 million people facing food insecurity in the Sahel, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea,” the news service writes, adding, “The nutrition crisis is affecting people throughout Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and the northern regions of Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal.”
“Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to feed their families in the parts of Syria hardest hit by violence, activists and aid workers say, with access to food cut off by ruined infrastructure, rocketing prices and, say some, security forces who steal and spoil food supplies,” the Washington Post reports. Last month, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) “scaled up assistance to reach a quarter-million people” and “is planning to increase that to 500,000 by the end of this month,” according to the newspaper. “[T]he government in March introduced a system of price-fixing for essential foods that has stabilized the cost of bread, sugar and meat — although they remain much higher than they were a year ago,” the Washington Post writes, adding, “Despite efforts to mitigate the problem, around half of Syrians may live in poverty, said Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Institute in Doha, who argued that this is increasing anti-government feeling” (Fordham, 5/1).
Speaking at a conference in Brazzaville, Congo, on Friday, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva “appealed to oil- and mineral-rich nations to set up a fund to combat the food crisis gripping the Sahel desert region and other parts of Africa,” Agence France-Presse reports. He said the organization needs $110 million in the short term to combat hunger in the region, which includes Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger, according to the news service (4/27). He said, “We are very concerned about the Sahel because there are already many conflicts in the region,” Bloomberg notes, adding “[m]ore than five million people in Niger are facing food insecurity, along with three million in Mali and 1.5 million in Burkina Faso, according to the FAO” (Mbakou, 4/27).
In a Foreign Policy opinion piece, former U.S. Ambassador Jack Chow, who served as a special representative for HIV/AIDS under former Secretary of State Colin Powell and currently is a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College of Public Policy, examines the challenges of delivering humanitarian aid and how “[t]he technological versatility of airborne drones, the flying robots that are already transforming warfare, … has the potential to revolutionize how humanitarian aid is delivered worldwide.” He describes the work of several start-up companies looking to employ drones for such a purpose, saying “waves of aid drones might quickly deliver a peaceful ‘first strike’ capacity of food and medicines to disaster areas.”
“The policy changes in the [Senate’s draft Farm Bill] represent improvements to U.S. food aid policy, but we think Congress could do more,” Kelley Hauser, a policy analyst with ONE, writes in this post on the Care2 blog. She describes a letter sent by ONE to U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), “asking them to buy emergency food aid closer to where it is needed — to save on shipping and food costs, as well as to speed up delivery” and “to require more efficiency when organizations sell U.S.-grown food in developing countries to fund development projects.” She concludes, “By increasing the impact of our food aid dollars and making monetization more efficient, we can save more lives and help more people break the cycle of malnutrition and poverty as part of ONE’s Thrive campaign” (Matsuoka, 4/27).
“A new report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs applauds U.S. government agencies for food security leadership but calls on them to up the game in the face of rising global challenges and shrinking aid budgets,” Connie Veillette, director of the Center for Global Development’s rethinking U.S. foreign assistance initiative, writes in the center’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog,” adding, “While it is a positive assessment, the report highlights some areas of concern that could affect U.S. leadership in future years” (4/27). John Glenn, policy director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, notes in the organization’s blog that Chicago Council “co-chairs Catherine Bertini and Dan Glickman called for the progress made to be institutionalized with Congressional authorization. Significant increases in food production, they suggested, will only be visible after a decade, which would require sustaining the commitments of the past three years for another seven years” (4/27).
Tjada McKenna, deputy coordinator for development for Feed the Future, and Jonathan Shrier, acting special representative for global food security and deputy coordinator for diplomacy for Feed the Future, examine efforts to end global hunger through a “whole-of-government approach” in this article on the initiative’s webpage. McKenna and Shrier highlight efforts in Haiti, Guatemala, Senegal, Uganda, Ghana, and Bangladesh, noting “all are supported through a range of different U.S. Government organizations under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.” They continue, “Together — and with the help of our development partners from universities, the research community, multilaterals, the private sector, and the NGO community — we are working to break the cycle of poverty and food insecurity that has led millions in the developing world to lives of chronic hunger and undernutrition” (4/26).
U.S. Government Made ‘Strong Progress’ In Fight Against World Hunger, But Much Remains To Be Done, Report Says
According to the 2012 Progress Report on U.S. Leadership in Global Agricultural Development, released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Thursday, “[t]he U.S. government risks losing the gains it has made in fighting world hunger unless it maintains its effort of the last three years in improving global agricultural practices and food security,” Reuters reports. The council’s “Global Agricultural Development Initiative evaluated the U.S. government and agencies for their leadership in global agricultural development,” and “examined the impact the efforts from Washington had in Ethiopia, Ghana and Bangladesh,” the news service writes.