Developing strategies to end hunger
 

Obama and the G-8: The New Alliance One Year Out

Hunger Report Monday Obama at G-8

President Barack Obama and the first family arrive in Northern Ireland for the G-8 Summit.  (Photo Credit: Belfast Telegraph)

President Barack Obama arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland this morning ahead of the 39th annual G-8 Summit. It is expected that this two-day gathering of heads of state from donor countries (known as the Group of 8 or G-8) will be dominated by pressing talks of the conflict in Syria, the global economy, and trade negotiations—with anticipation of a potentially historic bilateral trade agreement.

Obama’s meeting with the seven other G-8 leaders marks the one-year anniversary of his launch of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which took place at last year’s G-8 Summit in Camp David, MD. The New Alliance was described as a milestone commitment by G-8 nations, some African countries, and private-sector partners to lift 50 million people out of poverty in 10 years through inclusive and sustained agricultural growth. With concentrated emphasis on smallholder farmers and country-driven development, it is to galvanize global political will for the principles of the president’s Feed the Future initiative.

A year later, it appears that this initiative is moving steadily from policy rhetoric to action. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah reported in a recent speech at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs that the New Alliance has grown into a $3.75 billion public-private partnership, including pledges from at least 70 U.S. and international corporations—targeted investments that will link smallholder farmers to markets, maximize their productivity, and bolster infrastructure. More than $60 million has been invested since the last G-8 Summit, and some 800,000 people have been reached through training, services, and market access.

Action hasn't been limited to donors. The governments of six African nations are taking key steps toward promoting an economic climate for foreign investment in their agriculture sectors. Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mozambique have all developed policy frameworks that align their country investment plans with the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and the New Alliance—a vital step toward fostering an economic climate where agricultural investments can thrive and maximize their impact.

In the 2013 Hunger Report, Bread for the World Institute’s Faustine Wabwire outlined key recommendations to maximize the reach of the New Alliance:

  1. Sustained and growing investment in agriculture and nutrition
  2. Investments targeted to smallholder farmers and producers
  3. Involvement of local civil society, especially smallholder farmers’ organizations, as leaders
  4. Clear standards of transparency for responsible investment
  5. Integrating gender equity, nutrition, environmental sustainability, and climate change

Many of these principles have yet to be fully adopted, but they echo the concerns of anti-hunger advocates across the world who point out that while we've made progress in other areas, hunger is still the great scandal of our time. Movements such as the growing Enough Food for Everyone #If campaign in the U.K. are working to remind G-8 leaders that they still haven’t done enough.

So, happy first birthday to the New Alliance. But while it's gathering steam, we know there are ways to do more and do better. For the sake of the world’s hungry people, the G-8 can’t afford to forget that.

Read Faustine Wabwire's story on the New Alliance in chapter 2 of the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals. Derek Schwabe

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