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Opinion Pieces Address Malnutrition Ahead Of G8 Summit

The following is a summary of opinion pieces addressing the issue of malnutrition ahead of the G8 summit taking place in London next week.

  • David Nabarro, Inter Press Service: “In recent years many leaders have made commitments to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition. The intensity of focus and action has mushroomed in 2013 and in June it is higher than ever before,” Nabarro, special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for food security and nutrition, writes. He highlights a number of recent publications, initiatives and meetings addressing the issue of nutrition and continues, “As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals nears, the international community is considering the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals. Though negotiations are still underway, there is growing support among governments and other stakeholders for food security and good nutrition for all people to be one of the goals.” He concludes, “It will not be easy, and progress may not be linear, but we have an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate one of humanity’s most ancient scourges” (6/11).
  • Raj Patel, The Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog: “Over centuries, modern agriculture has bred the nutrients out of our food. The G8 will next week try to go one further — within a generation, they want to squeeze the politics out of hunger,” Patel, an author who will speak at the World Development Movement’s activist conference, “Not the G8,” in Leeds on Saturday, writes, adding, “If they succeed, they’ll have licensed an army of development technicians who’ll be free of democracy, accountability or history.” He continues, “It’s not easy to take a complex question — one that needs democratic debate, mechanisms of accountability, and principles of justice — and convince people that it’s a purely technical matter. But business and governments have been doing their best to ‘nutritionize’ development.” Patel adds, “The vision offered by G8 leaders will be one in which business needs to be free to ‘modernize’ agriculture, particularly in Africa, by being able to buy land, sell chemicals, [and] privatize genetic material” (6/12).
  • Sarah Degnan Kambou, The Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog: “A discussion on ending hunger must take into account factors that affect women’s ability to produce, process and prepare food for their families. We must make sure that ending all forms of violence against girls and women is a priority as the international community looks beyond the 2015 Millennium Development Goals,” Kambou, president of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), writes. ICRW “is delighted to see that the U.N. High-Level Panel’s report last week outlined the need for a stand-alone goal to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls,” she states, adding, “This year’s G8 declaration on preventing sexual violence in conflict is a remarkable first step towards that end.” She continues, “I urge the G8 leaders meeting in County Fermanagh on June 17 and 18 to follow the U.K.’s lead by making comprehensive commitments to the cause across different international platforms” (6/13).