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Secretary of State Clinton’s statements and actions on global health issues during diplomatic trip to India and Thailand

On July 17, 2009, Secretary of State Clinton began an seven day diplomatic trip to India and Thailand. During her trip Secretary Clinton discussed U.S. global health policy before the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), food security during a tour of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, and agreed to a “Strategic Diaglogue” with the Government of India that included health as one of “five principal pillars.”

President Obama announces “new approach” and financial commitments to agricultural development and food security agreed upon at G8 summit

President Obama announced a “new approach” towards “agricultural development programs to help fight world hunger” that was agreed upon by countries represented at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy. President Obama described the new approach as “a coordinated effort to support comprehensive plans created by the countries themselves, with help from multilateral institutions like the World Bank when appropriate, along with significant and sustained financial commitments from our nations.” A summary of the agreement provided by the White Houses states that the Administration “will seek to increase [U.S.] investment [in agricultural development assistance] annually, and provide a least $3.5 billion over the next three years” and that the total financial commitment agreed upon by countries represented at L’Aquila was $20 billion over the next three years.

S. 1406 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010

The FY 2010 agriculture appropriations bill as reported by the Senate Committee on Appropriations includes $1.69 billion for international food assistance through the P.L. 480 Title II Grants Program (Food for Peace) and an additional $199.5 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. The proposed bill “also includes $13 million, as requested, for USDA to assist in the development of sustainable food systems in countries with chronic food shortages. In addition, funds are provided for research to develop new food aid products to provide higher nutritional content to food aid recipients.”

H.R. 3077 – Global Food Security Act of 2009

The bill creates the position of “Special Coordinator for Food Security” to advise the President on international food security issues, authorizes funds for agriculture, rural development, and nutrition programs under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and fosters collaboration between eligible countries and institutions of higher learning in order to improve agricultural productivity and alleviate hunger.

H.R. 2817 – Roadmap to End Global Hunger and Promote Food Security Act of 2009

The proposed bill would establish the “White House Office of Global Hunger and Food Security” to advise the President and coordinate U.S. government efforts to address global hunger and food security. This office would be required to create “a comprehensive government wide strategy to address global hunger and food security, . . . establish indicators to measure progress with respect to specific global hunger and food security targets,” and submit an annual report to the President and Congress on the status of U.S. efforts to address global hunger and food security.

The proposed bill would also create a “Permanent Joint Select Committee on Hunger” comprised of sixteen members (eight Representatives and eight Senators) that would be able to “hold hearings, conduct investigations, issue independent reports and analyses, make policy and program recommendations,” and oversee the progress of the White House Office on Global Hunger and Food Security to implement the government wide plan to address global hunger and food security.

The bill authorizes over $50 billion in funding for FY 2010 through FY 2014 to fulfill the requirements previously outlined.

Secretary Clinton comments on U.S. approach to address hunger during 2009 World Food Prize Announcement Ceremony

During remarks given at the 2009 World Food Prize announcement ceremony, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that “the Obama Administration is committed to providing leadership in developing a new global approach to hunger.” In her comments, Secretary Clinton summarized a set of principles such as improving agricultural productivity, increasing trade, and maintaining natural resources that will guide U.S. efforts to support sustainable agriculture throughout the world. Secretary Clinton also stated that, in the Administration, “sustainable agriculture won’t be a side project. It is a central element of our foreign policy.”

State Department releases fact sheet titled “One Table: Advancing Agriculture to End Hunger”

The State Department released a fact sheet titled “One Table: Advancing Agriculture to End Hunger” that summarizes U.S. policies aimed at addressing chronic hunger throughout the world. The fact sheet states that the U.S. “objective is to build sustainable agriculture systems so all people have reliable access to nutritious food” and includes a list of “principles” and “key areas” that guide the U.S. approach to address chronic hunger.

GAO Report – International Food Assistance: Local and Regional Procurement Can Enhance the Efficiency of U.S. Food Aid, but Challenges May Constrain Its Implementation

In an analysis of the U.S. approach to delivering food aid, the General Accountability Office (GAO) compared local and regional procurement (LRP) of food aid to in-kind donations. The GAO found that LRP “offers donors a tool to reduce food aid costs and delivery time, but multiple challenges to ensuring cost-savings and timely delivery exist.” Some of the challenges faced by using LRP are: uncertain food quality, insufficient local and regional delivery capabilities, existing U.S. legislation requiring U.S. production and transportation of food assistance, and uncertain impacts on local markets (i.e. potential increased prices due to increased demand).