Obama’s Food Security Pledge at G8 a Laudable Step; Now Must Meet Goals, Aid Agency Says

Washington, DC, July 12, 2009 --(PR.com)-- As President Obama heads to Ghana for his first official African visit as a head of state, international Christian humanitarian agency World Vision urges the U.S. and other governments to follow through on food security pledges made at this week’s G8 summit in Italy and African assistance promised in previous years.

The G8 food security initiative committing $20 billion over three years to tackle global hunger is a laudable step toward saving lives worldwide, although today’s announcement leaves key questions unanswered, World Vision policy experts caution. Most G20 countries, the African Union Commission and several multilateral organizations have endorsed the comprehensive approach to solve hunger and malnutrition. The Obama administration pledged $3.5 billion in U.S. aid for food security.

“We welcome President Obama’s lead on this issue and the renewed focus by the G8 on fighting global hunger,” said Robert Zachritz, World Vision’s director for advocacy and government relations in the U.S. “Tackling the need must include long-term agricultural development and providing quality nutrition, as well as food aid, and this initiative is a bold move towards a more holistic approach to ending global hunger. We urge leaders to back this approach with funds and action.”

Ghana, the only sub-Saharan African country that has actually met the Millennium Development Goal to halve hunger by 2015, will host Obama as the summit concludes. According to the World Food Program, Ghana has shown consistent progress in fighting hunger, drastically decreasing from 5.4 million hungry people in 1990 to 1.9 million in 2005.

Now is the time for Group of Eight leaders to ensure Ghana’s success is replicated in countries across the continent. For that, a firm commitment to get back on track toward meeting the foreign-assistance promises made in 2005 will be essential. In sub-Saharan Africa, a region regularly riddled with hunger, 60 percent of the labor force is employed in agriculture – many of them on small farms. More than seven in 10 of those African farmers are women.

However, the new food security plan doesn’t address the failure of G8 leaders to keep promises made in 2005 to increase aid to Africa by $25 billion by 2010 and achieve marked progress on global child and maternal health. With that deadline just one year away, those goals are not being met.

The number of hungry people worldwide has increased to nearly 1 billion over the past two years – nearly one in six people. Millions of people are lacking the nutrition necessary to maintain basic health; many are children who are unable to develop correctly simply because they lack the proper nutrition. At least a third of all childhood deaths are a direct result of malnutrition, a condition that is completely preventable.

“Considering their failure to meet their promise to double aid to Africa by 2010, the G8 must seize this opportunity to help save millions of lives and demonstrate global leadership,” said Patrick Watt, head of World Vision’s G8 campaign. “If this renewed focus on fighting global hunger is followed through, it will be the best decision the G8 leaders have made in L’Aquila.”


World Vision staff are available for interviews. Please contact Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz at 1.202.615.2508 or gryerson@worldvision.org.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.
World Vision
Rachel Wolff