In a statement on the Senate floor, Senator Casey praised the Administration’s announcement of a Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative and called for passage of the Global Food Security Act stating that U.S. involvement was necessary for both humanitarian and national security reasons.
U.S. Agency for International Development
GAO Testimony – International Food Assistance: A U.S. Government-wide Strategy Could Accelerate Progress toward Global Food Security
In testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, GAO representatives discussed “(1) host government and donor efforts to halve hunger, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, by 2015, and (2) the status of U.S. agencies’ implementation of GAO’s 2008 recommendations” to address food security issues, which included “(1) develop an integrated government-wide U.S. strategy that defines actions with specific time frames and resource commitments, enhances collaboration, and improves measures to monitor progress and (2) report annually to Congress on the implementation of the first recommendation.”
Secretary of State Clinton’s statements and actions on global health issues during diplomatic trip to Pakistan, the Middle East, Morocco and Egypt
On October 28, 2009, Secretary of State Clinton began a diplomatic trip to Pakistan, the Middle East, Morocco and Egypt. During her trip, Secretary Clinton discussed U.S. food security policy at a Roundtable with business leaders in Pakistan, announced science envoys and an increased number of health officers in U.S. embassies during remarks at the “Forum for the Future” in Morocco, and commented on the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) during an “Embassy Meet and Greet” in Morocco.
USAID announces new program to address substandard and counterfeit medicines in developing countries
USAID announced the Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) Program, a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) that “will serve as a primary mechanism to help assure the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines that are essential to USAID’s priority health programs.”
USAID “issued a consensus statement about the importance of family planning as a key component of post abortion care.” The consensus statement, which was also signed by International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), and the International Council of Nurses (ICN), “notes that all women should receive counseling and family planning services after any abortion – spontaneous or induced – irrespective of the pregnancy termination or evacuation procedure used.”
USAID launched an Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program that will work “to pre-empt or combat, at their source, newly emerging diseases of animal origin that could threaten human health” by focusing “resources on detecting dangerous pathogens at an early stage, building appropriate laboratory capacity to support surveillance, responding in an appropriate and timely manner, strengthening national and local response capacities, and educating at-risk populations on how to prevent exposure to these dangerous pathogens.”
H.R. 2997 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law No: 111-080)
The 2010 agriculture appropriations bill approved on September 30, 2009 by the House-Senate Conference Committee includes $1.69 billion for international food aid through the P.L. 480 Title II Grants Program and an additional $209.5 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Additionally, the bill provides funds “for research to develop new food aid products to provide higher nutritional content to food aid recipients . . . [and provides guidance] . . . to the Secretary to improve audit systems for maintaining the quality of food aid commodities and to generally improve the efficiencies of administering food aid programs.”
- The Senate passed by a voice vote an amendment (S.AMDT.2253) introduced by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and co-sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) “to require a report on the status of the reorganization of the Foreign Agricultural Service and future plans to modify office structures.” (August 3, 2009)
- The Senate passed by a voice vote an amendment (S.AMDT.2229) introduced by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and co-sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “to establish within the Food and Drug Administration two review groups to recommend solutions for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of rare diseases and neglected diseases of the developing world.” (August 3, 2009)
Timeline of the bill:
- The House Committee on Appropriations approved by voice vote a draft version of the 2010 agriculture appropriations bill on June 18, 2009.
- Introduced, referred to the House Committee on Appropriations, reported on by the committee, and placed on the Union Calendar on June 23, 2009.
- The bill was passed by the House (266-160) on July 9, 2009.
- The bill was received in the Senate and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders (Calendar No. 105) on July 10, 2009.
- The bill was passed with amendments by the Senate (80-17) and referred to a House-Senate Conference Committee on August 4, 2009.
- The House disagreed with the version of the bill as amended by the Senate and agreed to refer the bill to a House-Senate Conference Committee on September 29, 2009.
- The House-Senate Conference Committee met, approved the bill (with changes), and submitted a conference report on September 30, 2009.
- The House approved (263-162) the House-Senate Conference Committee Report on October 7, 2009.
- The Senate approved (76-22) the House-Senate Conference Committee Report on October 8, 2009.
- The President signed the bill into law (Public Law No: 111-080) on October 21, 2009.
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.”
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.”
GAO Report – International Food Assistance: USAID Is Taking Actions to Improve Monitoring and Evaluation of Nonemergency Food Aid, but Weaknesses in Planning Could Impede Efforts
In this report, which was mandated by Congress in passage of the Food for Peace Act in 2008, GAO “reviews (1) USAID’s plans and actions to improve its monitoring and evaluation of nonemergency food aid programs and (2) the extent to which USAID has integrated its monitoring and evaluation of nonemergency food aid with program management.”