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Empty Promises Remain With New G8 Commitment to Food Security

Empty Promises Remain With New G8 Commitment to Food Security
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By Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide

I have just returned from a whirlwind visit to Washington, DC and Chicago, where I participated in a number of events around the G8 and NATO Summits focused on food and nutrition security.  Among so many world leaders and high-level representatives from civil society and academia, I felt a sense of critical mass beginning to form in the fight to end global hunger.

It’s a feeling I’ve had before – perhaps not this strong – only to be disappointed when promises went unfulfilled.  We must keep calling our leaders to persevere, especially those in the G8, to ensure that does not happen this time.

At the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Third Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security on May 18 in Washington, DC, I witnessed President Barack Obama’s landmark announcement of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. It’s a partnership between G8 nations, African countries and private sector leaders that promises to raise some 50 million people out of poverty over the next ten years through investments in agriculture and nutrition.

Let me be clear from the start: as the CEO of an organization working on the front-lines of hunger, I loudly and wholeheartedly applaud the leadership of President Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah in establishing the New AllianceConcern Worldwide is committed to doing everything we can to ensure that it succeeds, but so much more needs to be done, and the time is now. The force behind the New Alliance can be leveraged and multiplied if we keep our existing promises to the world’s hungry.

Before the G8 Summit at Camp David, Concern launched a paper, “The Time is Now: The G8’s Opportunity to Make Undernutrition History,” that outlined how members should structure a new commitment to food security and nutrition and the risks if they don’t.

Thankfully, much of what we know works is part of the New Alliance, such as the creation of country-owned plans and alignment behind those plans, an explicit focus on women and smallholder farmers, and the aim to reduce risks for vulnerable economies and communities. We know from our work on the ground in 25 of the world’s poorest countries that this multi-pronged approach to tackling food insecurity and undernutrition is critical and effective in saving lives and protecting the futures of millions of vulnerable children.

We also celebrate that the private sector has stepped up in the fight against hunger. At the time of President Obama’s announcement on Friday, some 45 local and multinational companies had already signed Letters of Intent to invest more than $3 billion in Africa’s agricultural systems – a milestone that will greatly help lay the foundation for a strong agricultural base that can foster food security and stimulate Africa’s economy.

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25 comments

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3:22PM PDT on Apr 14, 2013

noted

1:17PM PDT on May 28, 2012

ty

5:51AM PDT on May 27, 2012

all talk and no action

2:09AM PDT on May 27, 2012

Story of our government. Promises... promises....

12:46AM PDT on May 27, 2012

It doesn't surprise me a bit. They may have good intentions and promise a lot, but usually little of importance is achieved - as instanced by the Climate Change summits. However, a mechanism has been set up, and we can only hope the wheel will start turning.

4:13PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Steve, you fuzzy little sheeple you. I just found out from the other thread, that you have a liberal name. I guess that's like naming a boy Sue. You have to try harder to be a wing nut.

4:00PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Obama cannot handle food problem within US itself, how about the world? Talk is cheap and everyone likes... The idea or desire is good or sounds but inability to fight against the worldly power is due to the system limitation. However this the best system defined by the same group of people through generations. Very interesting!

3:13PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Yup Tom Arnold - that's all you're likely to get from Obama and his G8 buddies - empty promises!

Obama's been giving them to us since before he was even elected president.

He's "flexible" you know - meaning whatever is currently politically expedient!

2:29PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Exporting Big Agro chemicals and GMO's is helpful to who?

12:46PM PDT on May 26, 2012

The keyword being "nutrition", of which GMOs have NONE plus cause so much disease. Since he promised to label GMOs, Obama should have the knowledge about this subject, if not, get educated on it and then care enough to use his position to make a change for the good of the people and the environment. Maybe this is their way of reducing the population. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/26/monsanto-gmo-allies.aspx?e_cid=20120526_DNL_art_1

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