In commemoration of World Food Day, Secretary of State Clinton and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack held a conference call to discuss and answer questions on the Administrations recently announced â€œGlobal Hunger and Food Security Initiative.â€ Secretary Clinton provided an overview of the initiative while Secretary Vilsack discussed the role that the USDA would fill. Additionally, the Secretaries responded to questions on the role of biotechnology, the monetization of food aid, and the ability of the Administration to fulfill the goals of the food security initiative.
In observance of World Food Day, Secretary Clinton stated that “fighting hunger and poverty through sustainable agricultural development . . . is a key foreign policy objective of the Obama Administration” and that the Administration is “committed to working with our partners across sectors on this issue for the long haul.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and described the institute as “the Department’s extramural research enterprise.” Secretary Vilsack stated that one of the goals for NIFA is to “support our ability to keep American agriculture competitive while ending world hunger.”
In an effort to inform the discussion on the Administration’s plans to develop a “new global approach to hunger,” GAO summarized and evaluated previous food assistance reports with the objectives of “(1) updat[ing] U.S. agencies’ responses to GAO’s previous international food assistance recommendations and (2) identif[ing] potential oversight questions for Congressional consideration.” As a result of this evalution, the GAO “identified five issues for Congressional consideration to ensure more efficient and effective international food assistance: (1) coordination and integration, (2) needs assessments and market information, (3) transportation and logistics, (4) nutrition and food quality control, and (5) monitoring and evaluation.”
During the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, PEPFAR and USAID announced a partnership with General Mills to “improve the capacity of small and medium-sized food businesses across sub-Saharan Africa to produce healthy, fortified food products.”
In a press release about the partnership, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, stated that “if PEPFAR HIV/AIDS programs and broader health and development efforts are going to be sustainable, they must be owned and led by partner countries . . . This partnership with General Mills and USAID will support local food companies to help meet the nutritional needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, while bringing health benefits to the larger population through improved nutrition and broader economic development.”
Secretary Clinton co-hosted a food security event with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and reiterated the principles guiding the Obama Administration’s food security initiative that she outlined the previous day at the Clinton Global Initiative.
After Secretary Clinton’s announcement of the Administration’s food security initiative, Cheryl Mills, Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff and Counselor, held a briefing to provide details and answer questions on the program. Aspects of the initiative including agricultural productivity, nutrition, U.S. government coordination, recipient country involvement, and funding were covered.
Secretary Clinton discusses the Administration’s global food security initiative at Clinton Global Initiative
During a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative, Secretary of State Clinton summarized the Obama Administration’s food security initiative stating it would be guided by five principles:
- “First, we will work with partner countries to create and implement their plans.”
- “Second, we are addressing the underlying causes of hunger.”
- “Thirdly, we will improve coordination at the country, regional, and global level.”
- “Our fourth principle is leveraging the benefits of multilateral institutions.”
- “Fifth, we pledge a long-term commitment and accountability to our efforts.”
In a speech at the closing of the G20 Summit, President Obama summarized the summit outcomes including the creation of “a new World Bank Trust Fund to support investments in food security and financing for clean and affordable energy.”
The fact sheet provides a set of “principles for advancing global food security” and summarizes U.S. commitments “to work as part of a collaborative global effort centered around country-led processes to improve food security.”