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 Alliance. Concern 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.
Read more: africa, barack obama, bono, famine, food crisis, food security, g8, Hillary Clinton, Horn of Africa, hunger, malnutrition, nutrition, one, president obama, Rajiv Shah, secretary of state hillary clinton, USAID
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