“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.”
Food Security and Nutrition
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.
In this article on the Feed the Future initiative’s webpage, 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, ask and answer five questions about the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launched last week by the Obama Administration. The authors discuss the participants in the initiative, the specific commitments of these participants, as well as the costs of the initiative (5/23).
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.
Anirban Chatterjee, chief of health and nutrition for UNICEF in Ghana, said the country “is doing a lot” to fight child mortality — referring to a recently launched vaccination campaign and an initiative to educate mothers about nutrition — but “I don’t think it’s enough” to reach the fourth U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two thirds by 2015, Inter Press Service reports. “I think there is definitely scope and need for more improvement,” he added, according to the news service. A GAVI Alliance-supported campaign to provide vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcal disease is underway, but Chatterjee added that efforts to improve nutrition need to be provided simultaneously because he “said malnourishment can sometimes double or triple the chances of dying from a condition like diarrhea or pneumonia,” IPS writes.
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).