World leaders gathering at the United Nations and G20 meetings this week have a unique opportunity to help a billion people escape hunger, say aid policy experts at World Vision.
One in six people in the world go to bed hungry, but a three-year, $20 billion plan could change that.
A World Hunger Initiative was proposed in July at the G8 Summit. While details of how it is to be implemented remain to be worked out, it will need the G20 leaders to approve it and raise support among the legislatures and public in their home countries.
“Earlier this year, the G8 leaders made a $20 billion promise to the poor to improve access to food over the next three years,” said Justin Byworth, World Vision UK Chief Executive.
“Gordon Brown now needs to take the lead in ensuring that he and his peers deliver on their aid promises by working out the necessary details and putting proposals into action with solid policies and guaranteed funding.
“Without that, it’s just another summit and just another empty promise.”
The World Hunger Initiative needs to incorporate solutions to food insecurity that are short, medium and long-term if it is to succeed, said Byworth. These must include development of agriculture, rural infrastructure and economies, and improving emergency responses.
World Vision is calling on developing and industrialised countries to make firm commitments toward ending global food insecurity. Experts in the child-focused charity note that many children’s development is stunted by inadequate nutrition. At least a third of all childhood deaths have malnutrition as an underlying cause.
Leaders debating environmental policies this week must also consider the impact of climate change on food security for the poor.
“Altered weather patterns and more frequent natural disasters are already taking a toll on families’ food sources,” said Byworth.
“It is essential that these are considered and that global policies include adequate funding to help poor communities adapt to the effects of changing weather patterns.”
Actor Hugh Jackman – a World Vision supporter – spoke at a global climate change summit on Monday.
23 September 2009