The G8 pledged to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade at their annual summit at Camp David on 18-19 May. The Camp David Declaration contains four paragraphs on food security and nutrition, the centre-piece of which is the announcement of a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition ‘to accelerate the flow of private capital to African agriculture, take to scale new technologies and other innovations that can increase sustainable agricultural productivity, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities.’
To show how the G8 want to achieve this, the introductory document on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition includes a number of specific initiatives on partnership, mobilising private capital, taking innovation to scale, reducing and managing risk, improving nutrition outcomes and ensuring accountability. Although the details on these initiatives are limited, it is worth taking time to look at what has been announced so far.
The New Alliance was launched at a Global Agriculture and Food Security Symposium hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in Washington DC on 18 May. In his speech to this symposium, US President Barack Obama said that food security was a moral imperative, an economic imperative and a security imperative. He pledged that food security would remain a priority as long as he was President.
The symposium was also attended by the leaders of the first three African countries to enter into New Alliance partnerships: Prime Minister Meles , President Mills, and President Kikwete. The cooperation frameworks to support the New Alliance in their countries – Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania respectively, include information about their national policy commitments, donor funding intentions, and private sector investment intentions.
At the symposium, the UK Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell announced UK support to the New Alliance, including a new contribution of £75 million to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.
As a member of the Advisory Council for the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative, Gordon Conway, Agriculture for Impact, joined other global experts at the event.
“Now is the time to significantly improve food security for millions of poor and hungry people in Africa.
Given certified seed, fertilizers and adequate water, farmers can readily produce high yields of staple crops, such as maize. But for this to be resilient and sustainable we need to stimulate input and outputs markets, and other elements of an enabling environment for smallholders.
The Camp David proposals put us on the right track. When these meetings come to a close we need the G8, other donors, and African governments, as well as private sector partners and civil society actors to work together to deliver on this agenda. I hope the UK government – as custodian of the G8 presidency in 2013 – will continue to champion this crucial work.”
For more on the G8 announcements on food security and nutrition please see:
- US Department of State list of official G8 2012 documents
- The Symposium agenda, speaker biographies, and a summary of announcement materials are available on the website www.thechicagocouncil.org/GlobalAgSymposium.
- Video of all sessions is available here.
- Photos of the event are available here.
- Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa summary of G8 resources