It’s time for a new G8 hunger commitment

When world leaders meet at the G8 summit on May 19th, they will be discussing the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) and the possibility of new hunger commitment to replace it. The AFSI pledge, made by G8 donors in reaction to the food price spike of 2008/09, committed G8 countries to focus aid spending on rural development and specifically agriculture. It expires this year.

Hunger affects one in every seven people

Rolance Mukankusi, 24, shares food with her son fresh from the family farm in Kavumo Village, Rwanda

That means there are around one billion people going hungry every day. Half of the world’s hungry people are food producers themselves, struggling to grow enough from small plots of land without the resources they need. Concern Worldwide works with the poorest farmers in 25 countries. Concern’s experience has shown that with the right support, these farmers can grow more, eat more and better food, begin to save and even go on to employ others. Their report ‘Farming for Impact’ explores how Concern and the Rwandan Government have helped to improve food security in the country by investing in agriculture. As the Montpellier Panel argued in their first report, there is a virtuous circle of development that hinges on agriculture.

Obama and Cameron take the first steps

Prime Minister David Cameron met with President Obama in the US last week, when they discussed the international development agenda of the G8 for the next two years.  They agreed that the UK will support the US Presidency of the 2012 G8, which will focus on food security, agriculture and nutrition. The US will then actively support the UK’s G8 presidency in 2013. In a factsheet released by DFID and USAID, these two departments state:

“ We will take concrete steps to strengthen food security in Africa, working with African countries, other development partners, and especially the private sector. We will encourage investments in agricultural development and large scale interventions to promote inclusive economic growth and alleviate hunger.”

A new G8 hunger commitment

The focus of the US and UK on food security and agricultural investment is extremely welcome, but we would like to see them go even further. Concern is campaigning for the UK to lead the way by pushing for all G8 leaders to agree a new hunger commitment, building solid foundations for this at the US summit and then driving the commitment through during the UK presidency in 2013. Concern is also asking that the new commitment is developed in partnership with poorer countries in line with the principles of aid effectiveness, and that its success is measured not through funds delivered but through impact, using food and nutrition indicators. This way, Concern hopes the commitment will have maximum impact on global hunger.

Email your MP to support the campaign

Concern is asking supporters to email their MPs through their two minute online action, which generates an editable template email asking your MP to write to the Prime Minister regarding a new hunger commitment. If enough MPs write, quoting emails from constituents, this will give a clear message that the UK public care about hunger. Agriculture for Impact is committed to securing enhanced European government support for agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa – a new G8 hunger commitment could help to drive this forwards.

What you can do:

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