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Food Security

and Agriculture

Food Security and Agriculture

Policy Brief January 2011

Development for Reducing

Hunger and Rural Poverty
Problem Recommendations & Actions
Chronic poverty and Policy guidance and program frameworks should prioritize stabilizing agriculture against the
hunger remain an threat posed by climate change and environmental degradation. The Feed the Future Initia-
everyday threat for tive is guided by a promising, integrated strategy, but will need to be authorized and funded
at least 900 million at the requested levels in order to affect the necessary changes at a meaningful scale.
people around the • Fully fund the Administration’s $3.5 billion commitment to the L’Aquila Global Food
world, including about Security agreement, including bilateral support for the Feed the Future Initiative and mul-
one-third of the world’s tilateral support for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.
children. Volatile • Ensure that improved emergency response and management, sustainable agricultural
food prices and price development, nutrition and safety net programs are integrated components of U.S. food
increases since 2007 security assistance.
have pushed many • Explicitly link U.S. food security and agricultural assistance to Millennium Development
millions more people Goal 1, which seeks to halve poverty and hunger by 2015.
into the ranks of the • Elevate environmental sustainability and adaptation to climate change to the level of
food insecure, putting objectives in legislation and policies shaping food security programs.
at risk the achievement • Ensure that food security programs prioritize responses to the social, political and eco-
of Millennium nomic challenges women face in developing countries.
Development Goal 1. • Prioritize passage of authorizing legislation for the Feed the Future Initiative that estab-
High unemployment, low lishes the position of a Feed the Future Coordinator. Include comprehensive global food
agricultural productivity, security solutions as part of the U.S. Global Development Strategy to ensure support
biases against women beyond the current Administration.
and environmental • Support a balanced approach to the Paris Declaration Aid Effectiveness principles,
degradation constrain including a broad definition of country ownership. Ensure a broad range of stakeholders,
efforts to accelerate including civil society, is involved in identifying development priorities, designing and
rural development. implementing programs, and assessing results.
The pledges to • Engage U.S. NGOs with extensive food security related technical experience, field infra-
increase development structure and private resources in Feed the Future programs. Map and align other govern-
investments in food ment assistance and relevant private investments and capacity in Feed the Future countries.
security and agriculture • Address the root causes of food price volatility to encourage greater investment in agri-
made by the G8 culture and to consolidate food security gains.
countries during their • Strengthen coordination and alignment of efforts across U.S. Government agencies involved
2009 Summit in L’Aquila in food security and improved nutrition programs through whole of government mecha-
have not been fully met. nisms, locating overall leadership on food security strategy and programs within USAID.

www.InterAction.org Results
Broader engagement with development stakeholders, increased investments
1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 210 and longer duration of programs will result in greatly enhanced impacts and
Washington, DC 20036 more efficient use of development resources.
Background U.S. implementation of agricultural development and food
security programs has been marked by fragmented respon-
Persistent high food prices, malnutrition and poverty in sibilities and inconsistent or conflicting policies. Three
vulnerable developing countries threaten the well-being U.S. Government departments (State, USAID and Agricul-
of hundreds of millions of people. High food prices have ture) play prominent roles, while others have more limited
also destabilized governments and created political unrest. responsibilities. Taken together, this pattern makes coordi-
After years of declining investment in agriculture and poor nation within the U.S. Government difficult, and with other
policy choices by governments, market systems in many donors and host country governments, extremely challeng-
developing countries lack the ability to respond to higher ing. Consolidation of lead responsibilities for food security
food prices with increased production. Yet U.S. domes- and the appointment of a food security coordinator within
tic policies in the areas of international trade, agricultural USAID would facilitate management of the multi-agency
subsidies and biofuels continue to put upward pressure on effort, resulting in fewer overlaps and greater consistency.
global food prices. Domestic agricultural subsidies place The “Aid Effectiveness” agenda that has emerged from
farmers in poor countries at a competitive disadvantage, the Paris Declaration promises to reshape roles and rela-
while the economic losses that poor countries experience tionships in international development. Yet effective imple-
because of U.S. trade tariffs exceed the total value of U.S. mentation of these principles has been constrained by an
development assistance. interpretation of “country ownership” that lacks consistent
A comprehensive approach to reduce poverty, improve standards. Country-led development will be most effective
nutrition and emergency interventions for vulnerable pop- when it mobilizes all sectors of society to participate in sus-
ulations is essential. Traditional program stovepipes that tained development activities. The U.S. should ensure that
separate agricultural development, nutrition and social its support for country-owned development means that
protection have constrained responses to the linked vul- the private sector, civil society and local communities are
nerabilities of poverty and inadequate diet. Adequate nutri- involved not just in initial consultations, but also in imple-
tion—particularly for vulnerable women and children under menting and monitoring ongoing development programs.
two years of age—must be a central objective of programs The principles that inform the Aid Effectiveness agenda
for economic growth and agricultural development. U.S. in developing countries could also improve efficiency and
development policies still do not adequately reflect the effectiveness among U.S. stakeholders in international
interconnected nature of these challenges or the most development. Improved coordination between the U.S.
effective and efficient strategies to address them. Food Government and civil society would also yield important
security programs need to address the livelihood needs benefits. While private sector investment, remittances,
of poor households and women, the nutritional needs of foundation support and private individual donations have all
vulnerable mothers and children, and the risks that eco- been rising, these vital resource flows have not been coor-
nomic shocks and climate variability impose on marginal dinated with—and so do not leverage—government devel-
households, small-scale farmers and rural communities. opment assistance. Current U.S. Government approaches
Focused assistance of various sorts, including safety net to formulating development policy do not systematically
systems, nutrition and improved emergency management incorporate the valuable but largely untapped resource of
and response must complement longer-term agricultural the NGO community’s 40-plus years of experience in pro-
development programs. Together, these interventions moting international agricultural development and boosting
provide a continuum of assistance that addresses the full the production of small-scale farmers.
spectrum of hunger—urban and rural, chronic and acute— Environmental protection is another domain in which pol-
while ensuring that the nutritional needs of children in the icies promoting food production and intensive resource use
critical period from conception to two years of age are met. have not been reconciled. The close links between rural
Over the past three decades, the U.S. decreased its sup- ecosystems and agricultural production systems mean
port for agricultural development to only 2 percent of U.S. that the resilience and stability of each can only be ensured
foreign assistance. Steps to reinvest in agriculture and food by addressing both. Continued reliance on conventional,
security reflected in the L’Aquila Food Security Agreement high-external input approaches to agricultural production,
and the Administration’s Feed the Future Initiative (FTF) sig- rather than on less resource demanding regenerative sys-
nal important changes, but U.S. funding commitments to tems continues to foreclose effective options in sustainable
these initiatives have not yet been fully met. Ramping up rural development. As climate change reduces yields and
these investments will be critical to decreasing the need for water availability in many developing countries, this area
humanitarian relief and assistance in the future by enhanc- will assume increasingly urgent importance for agricultural
ing local capacity. policy makers and program managers.
Contributors to the Food Security and
Agriculture Policy Brief
Organization URL
Academy for Educational Development www.www.aed.org
Church World Service www.churchworldservice.org
International Center for Research on Women www.icrw.org
Lutheran World Relief www.lwr.org
Save the Children www.savethechildren.org
ActionAid US www.actionaidusa.org
Helen Keller International www.hki.org
One Campaign www.one.orgus

InterAction Food Security Working Group

Organization URL
Academy for Educational Development www.aed.org
ACDIVOCA www.acdivoca.org
Action Against Hunger www.actionagainsthunger.org
ActionAid USA www.actionaidusa.org
Adventist Development and Relief Agency www.adra.org
Africare www.africare.org
Africare House www.africarehouse.org
Aga Khan Foundation USA www.akdn.org
Alliance to End Hunger www.alliancetoendhunger.org
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) www.afsc.org
American Jewish World Service www.ajws.org
American Red Cross www.redcross.com
American Refugee Committee www.arcrelief.org
Bread for the World www.bread.org
Bread for the World Institute www.bread.orginstitute
CARE www.care.org
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) www.crs.org
CEDPA www.cedpa.org
CHF International www.chfinternational.org
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee www.crwrc.org
Church World Service www.churchworldservice.org
Civic Ventures www.civicventures.org
Concern www.concernusa.org
Concern Worldwide www.concern.net
Congressional Hunger Center www.hungercenter.org
Conservation International www.conservation.org
Counterpart International www.counterpart.org
DATA www.data.org
Direct Relief International www.directrelief.org
ECHO www.echonet.org
Ecoagriculture Partners www.ecoagrcilture.org
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) www.er-d.org
Food for the Hungry www.fh.org
Foods Resource Bank www.foodresourcebank.org
Friends of ACTED www.acted.org
Global Emergency Group www.globalemergencygroup.com
Handicap International www.handicap-international.us
Hands On Disaster Response www.hands.org
Heartland Alliance www.heartlandalliance.org
Organization URL
Heifer International www.heifer.org
Humana People to People www.humana.org
International Center for Research on Women www.icrw.org
International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council www.agritrade.org
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) www.ifpri.org
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) www.ifad.org
International Medical Corps www.internationalmedicalcorps.org
International Relief & Development www.ird-dc.org
International Rescue Committee UK www.ircuk.org
ISC www.www.iscvt.org
Islamic Relief USA www.islamicreliefusa.org
IYCN www.iycn.in
Jesuit Refugee Service www.jrs.ne
Joint Aid Management (JAM) www.jamint.com
Land O’Lakes International Development www.idd.landolakes.com
Latter-day Saint Charities www.lds.org
Lutheran World Relief (LWR) www.lwr.org
Manna For Haiti Foundation www.mannaforhaiti.org
Mercy Corps www.mercycorps.org
National Peace Corps Association www.peacecorpsconnect.org
ONE Campaign www.one.org
Oxfam America www.oxfamamerica.org
Pact www.pactworld.org
PADF www.padf.org
Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa www.partnership-africa.org
PATH www.path.org
Plan USA www.planusa.org
Planet Aid www.planetaid.org
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance www.pcusa.org
Presbyterian Hunger Program www.pcusa.org
Project Concern www.projectconcern.org
Refugees International www.refugeesinternational.org
Relief International www.ri.org
Save the Children www.savethechildren.org
Self Help Africa www.selfhelp.ie
SID www.sidint.org
The Alliance to End Hunger www.alliancetoendhunger.org
The Hunger Project www.thp.org
The Nature Conservancy www.nature.org
Trickle Up www.trickleup.org
U.S. Fund for UNICEF www.unicefusa.org
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee www.uusc.org
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) www.new.gbgm-umc.orgumcor
Winrock International www.winrock.org
Women for Women International www.womenforwomen.org
Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and NRM www.wocan.org
Women Thrive Worldwide www.womenthrive.org
World Coca Foundation www.worldcocoafoundation.org
World Concern www.worldconcern.org
World Food Program USA www.usa.wfp.org
World Relief www.worldrelief.org
World Vision www.worldvision.org
World Wildlife Fund www.worldwildlife.org
World Hope International www.worldhope.org