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IRIN, IPS Examine Pending U.S. Legislation To Address Global Hunger, FGM

IRIN reports on the Global Food Security Act, a bill aimed at expanding the U.S. government’s role in combating hunger around the world.  The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

The bill, which IRIN reports is expected to pass the Senate before moving on to the House of Representatives, “would allocate several billion dollars over five years to research and development, to enhance ‘food security, agriculture productivity, rural development, poverty and malnutrition alleviation, and environmental sustainability.'” It would also create a “food czar” position to coordinate the implementation of the bill. The new funding in the bill is “‘in addition, and complementary, to food aid provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture,’ most of which is not permitted to be purchased in the areas where a food crisis is occurring,” the news service notes.

“The legislation would also establish a U.S. Emergency Rapid Response to Food Crises Fund that would authorize a $500 million appropriation for ‘local and regional purchase and distribution of food’ and ‘provision of emergency non-food assistance, including vouchers or cash transfer, safety net programmes, or other appropriate non-food assistance,'” according to IRIN.

The article also looks at advocates’ reaction to the legislation and examines a contentious part of the bill, which would provide funding for “research on biotechnical advances appropriate to local ecological conditions, including genetically modified [GM] technology” (6/14). 

Another piece of legislation, which is awaiting congressional committee review, would make it illegal to transport a minor outside the U.S. for female genital mutilation (FGM), Inter Press Service reports. The measure aims to close a “legislative loophole” because the U.S. currently does not ban U.S. citizens and residents from undergoing FGM beyond its borders, according to the news service. IPS notes that women who undergo FGM could face infertility, cysts, urinary tract infections, complications at childbirth, death and the need for surgery as a result of the procedure.

The bill, known as the “Girls Protection Act,” was introduced by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) (Paez, 6/12).