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140 posts categorized "Inequality"
A fresh Hunger Report always comes with a new weekly blog series to break it down -- a space to examine the recommendations more closely and consider their ramifications in the context of recent events. This is that space. Welcome to week one.
To start the 2014 Hunger Report Monday series, we're recapping -- through visuals -- the report's central recommendation: to put an end to hunger in the United States by 2030. Our research confirms that: 1) hunger is a significant, long-ignored problem in America; 2) the U.S. government and population are fully capable of solving the problem; and 3), ending hunger will take decisive leadership, firm political will, and a clear national plan. This infographic sums up our vision of what that plan should look like in four steps:
We will not achieve a lasting end to hunger without a commitment to all four parts of this plan. Because problems like hunger are multifaceted, their solutions must be as well. Policies tend to address social problems in isolation from each other. Instead we should be thinking holistically, which makes it possible to see the relationships between various causes of the problem.
Right now, Bread for the World members around the country are urging the president and Congress to recognize the reality of America's broken social contract and set a clear course for solutions by adopting a plan to end hunger. President Obama took a promising first step last week with his speech on the problem of widening income and wealth inequality in the United States, with mentions of such contributing factors as the stagnant minimum wage, which continues to hold low-wage workers and their families below the poverty line. Inequality and the policies that perpetuate it are top concerns of this year’s Hunger Report.
You can sift through the specifics of the four-step plan to end hunger by starting with the 2014 Hunger Report Executive Summary, available for download in PDF or ebook formats in both English and Spanish. Next week, we'll continue our visual survey of the report's top messages with other new infographics.
A father and son return from the farmer's market in the Anacostia area of the District of Columbia. Photo by Eugene Mebane, Jr.
In his speech today on economic mobility, President Obama mirrored many of the main themes of Bread for the World Institute's 2014 Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America, released just last week. Among these are recommendations to end hunger and extreme poverty by creating good jobs, investing in people, strengthening the safety net, and building community partnerships.
The president focused on the alarming rise in inequality in the United States, the dramatic decrease in economic mobility -- and the harm these are doing to our economy, our families, and our democracy. While he spoke more in terms of a vision than of a concrete goal to reduce poverty and hunger, Obama mentioned a number of the Hunger Report's more specific recommendations, such as making high-quality preschool accessible to every child, strengthening the role of collective bargaining, and increasing the minimum wage so that workers no longer live in poverty.
The president said that America's basic bargain -- that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead -- has been jeopardized. "Since 1979, when I graduated from high school," Obama said, "our productivity is up by more than 90 percent, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than 8 percent. ... Meanwhile, a family in the top 1 percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family, which is a record for this country."
The opportunity gap in the United States is now based as much on class as on race, Obama said. A child born into a family in the top 20 percent of income earners is likely to stay near the top -- about two-thirds of such children do. A child born into the bottom 20 percent, on the other hand, has less than a 5 percent chance of making it to the top 20 percent. Also, the president noted, the gap in test scores between wealthy children and poor children is almost twice as large as that between white and black children.
The 2014 Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America, was launched just before Thanksgiving. For the past month, Institute Notes has featured a series of posts offering previews of the report. We pointed out that widespread hunger now threatens to become a scandalous “new normal” situation in the United States – it’s risen by nearly 40 percent since 2000.We made the case that not only is it an achievable goal to undo the damage the Great Recession did to U.S. food security, but it is also feasible to eradicate hunger entirely by 2030. We presented a carefully researched four-step plan that leaders at all levels, in partnership with local communities, can use to end hunger in our country. Our most recent post, coinciding with the report launch on November 25, offers a brief recap of these four steps.
In just the few days since the launch, we’ve received a lot of feedback -- on the launch presentation, the report, and the exciting new ways we’re presenting its messages on hungerreport.org. Here’s a quick round-up of what our partners and friends have been talking about:
1. An Expert Panel of Perspectives
No one has more authority to speak on hunger in America than those who have experienced it. At the Hunger Report launch, panelists Barbie Izquierdo, Dominic Duren, and Sharon Thornberry helped humanize the effects of even a seemingly small change in policy or funding.
2. No Paper Needed
The executive summary is available for iPad and eReader download, and the entire report can now be read in page-flipping book format at hungerreport.org/downloads.
3. Interactive Stories
The policies examined in the 2014 Hunger Report have very real impact for millions of Americans. At hungerreport.org/profiles we present four stories that combine multimedia and interactive data to make that clearer than ever.
4. Infographics to Share
Hunger’s causes and solutions are complex. That’s why we need the full report to give them the space they deserve. But a good place to start is with the 2014 Hunger Report infographics -- to get the top messages of the report in bite-size form, and pass them on through social media.
The panel of speakers at the launch agreed that it doesn’t have to be this way. Ending hunger is not an impossible dream. With strong commitment and the right tools, we really can end it.
Check out HungerReport.org to explore all of the tools available to Hunger Report readers, and if you missed them, be sure to read blog posts one, two, three, four, and five of the 2014 Hunger Report series.
Posted by Bread on December 02, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Gender, Global Hunger, Hunger Report, Immigration, Inequality, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Religion and Hunger, Trade, U.S. Hunger, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Millions of older Americans struggle to put food on the table. Photo: Lindsay Benson Garrett/Meals on Wheels.
Today, Bread for the World Institute is pleased to announce the release of Ending Hunger in America, our 2014 Hunger Report.
The report offers a clear, achievable four-step plan to make hunger a rare and temporary phenomenon, rather than the widely-shared national experience it is today.
With an economy still faltering as we enter 2014, nearly five years after the Great Recession technically ended, it would be all too easy to accept as a new normal the idea that tens of millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table. But our country has the knowledge and resources not only to reverse the ground lost since 2007, but to make rapid progress toward a hunger-free society.
The president should set a goal to end hunger in America and work with Congress to develop a plan to achieve the goal within 10-15 years.
A plan to end hunger should include
- a jobs agenda
- a stronger safety net
- human capital development
- public-private partnerships to support community anti-hunger initiatives
In 2000, the last time the United States had full employment, the household food insecurity rate was 10.5 percent. In 2012, it had surged to 14.5 percent. That translates into a 28 percent increase, in just 12 years, in Americans who struggle to put food on the table.
This also means, however, that a strong economic recovery capped by a return to full employment would improve U.S. food security levels by at least 25 percent. And full employment by 2017 is possible if Congress puts partisan politics aside and agrees on the necessary investments to spur faster job growth.
This is the world’s wealthiest country, and most of us are compassionate, fair-minded people. We should support each other through life’s ups and downs and prepare our children to earn a decent living. Sustainable reductions in hunger on the order of 50 percent or more will depend on strengthening the safety net and investing in human capital.
To end hunger altogether, we must also confront knottier social issues, such as racism and other forms of discrimination that drive too many people to the margins of society. The United States, like many other countries, has its own group of ultra-poor people, including more than a million households with children that have incomes below $2 a person a day.
Ending hunger in the United States will require leadership not only at the federal level but also at the state and local levels. There are countless examples of locally-led initiatives that are achieving great success in their communities.
The United States has a track record of making rapid improvments in the economic well-being of our people. If we decided to make ending hunger a priority, we could wake up in 2030 and think of the hard times of 2013-2014 -- with, for example, 48 million low-income Americans participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP -- formerly food stamps) -- as a bad dream.
To learn more, read Ending Hunger in America, released today in print version and available at the Hunger Report website.
In a survey of over 800,000 people globally, access to nutritous food ranked among the most frequently mentioned development challenges. (Source: World We Want, A Million Voices report)
Since last year, leadership at the United Nations has been working very hard to find out what development issues matter most to ordinary people around the world. The process of developing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 has been criticized as not inclusive; the U.N. wants things to be different as the world sets successor development goals for the period after December 2015, the deadline for the MDGs.
So they’ve set out to poll everyday people the world over about their priority issues -- and last week they were proud to report that they’ve heard one million voices. And it turns out people had a lot to say.
The MDGs were created to drive improvement in the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people -- and they have. More progress was made against hunger and poverty in the 2000s than during any other decade in history. But the exclusive group of officials from donor countries and international organizations that came up with the MDGs largely overlooked a valuable resource -- arguably the most authoritative source -- on how to overcome poverty: poor people themselves. You can read more about the MDG process and its implications in the 2013 Hunger Report.
The World We Want 2015 effort reached its one million voices through a combination of 88 open national consultations, 11 thematic dialogues, and an online global survey amplified by social media. The essential question put to global citizens: “What issues matter most to you?” Here’s a brief look at some of the main ideas expressed:
- Top issues: Education, health care, government accountability, better job opportunities;
- Top values: Universal human rights, equality, justice, and security (underpinned by more accountable governments);
- The urgency of improving people’s lives today;
- Concern about growing inequalities (e.g., income, wealth, access to education);
- The interconnectedness of issues and the need for a holistic, sustainable set of solutions;
- The need for data collection methods that measure progress more accurately.
Although The World We Want is particularly focused on hearing from people in developing nations, who are most urgently affected by development problems, it is intended to collect opinions globally and to include a wide spectrum of views. Americans are not yet well represented in the results – only 26,000 of the first million respondents are from the United States. But people here have more reason than ever to be concerned about “the world we want” – and the country we want. During the Great Recession, hunger in the United States grew by almost 40 percent, and it has barely budged since the recession’s official end nearly four years ago. Today, one in six Americans struggles to put food on the table.
The World We Want reminds us that most people around the world want the same things: quality education, jobs, health care, and yes, food. And we’ve learned from the MDG experience that when we set goals whose progress can be measured, we can accomplish more in less time. That’s why more Americans need to speak up about the issues we care about and press our elected leaders to adopt and carry out realistic plans to solve our most critical problems.
The 2014 Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America, will be released in less than three weeks here in Washington, DC. Using lessons from the world’s experiences with the MDGs, it lays out a feasible plan for the United States to confront our high levels of inequality, unemployment, and poverty directly and to end hunger in this country by 2030.
If you haven’t yet, take the time to tell the U.N. about the world you want. We’ll keep you posted on the 2014 Hunger Report release here on Institute Notes.
Posted by Bread on November 06, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Report, Inequality, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Development Goals, Religion and Hunger, Trade, U.S. Hunger | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Last week in Des Moines, Iowa, the 2013 World Food Prize Symposium brought together more than 1,000 international scientific, business, and policy experts from more than 65 countries. The weeklong dialogue on ending hunger has been called the “premier conference in the world on global agriculture." This year's World Food Prize Laureates are pioneers in biotechnology: Dr. Marc Van Montagu of Belgium and Dr. Mary Dell-Chilton and Dr. Robert Fraley of the United States.
Among the many key issues discussed was the need to build resilience: in families, in communities, in nations, and in the world. Bread for the World Institute's recent Briefing Paper, A Global Development Agenda: Toward 2015 and Beyond, emphasizes that responding effectively to climate change means building resilience in communities where people have always struggled to produce enough food. This task demands strong and organized political leadership, infrastructure, and resources at all levels — local, regional, national, and international. At the same time, understanding the interactions between agriculture and climate well enough to know how to respond effectively will require new investments. We need to improve data collection and analysis so that we can create and implement evidence-based adaptation measures that work.
Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, The Holy See, The Vatican, at the World Food Prize Symposium. Photo Credit: John Coonrod
- Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson has served as the president of the Roman Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in The Vatican since 2009. His remarks focused on the importance of addressing long-term food security issues while respecting both the land and rural populations, and of promoting sustainable agricultural development in poorer countries.
- Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, is currently Patron of the Africa Governance Initiative. Mr. Blair spoke on a panel entitled 40 Chances in a reference to the number of growing seasons an average farmer has during his or her lifetime. With the theme of “Redefining the Fight Against Hunger, Poverty, and Suffering,” this discussion focused on the drivers of food security, which include aid effectiveness, trade, private sector investment, and technological innovation. Mr. Blair also announced new joint programs designed to foster market-based solutions to global challenges in the areas of hunger, poverty, and conflict.
- President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson of Iceland stressed that the need to respond to the problems caused by increasing climate volatility is one of the most pressing current issues worldwide.
Also last week, the 2013 Global Hunger Index report was launched at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. The report, The Challenge of Hunger: Building Resilience to Achieve Food and Nutrition Security, calls for breaking down the silos between the emergency relief and development communities and for focusing on approaches that enable people and systems to better resist, absorb, and transform in response to shocks such as droughts, floods, and food price volatility.
Click here to watch video footage of 2013 World Food Prize sessions (Note - Footage is grouped by day and time.)
Posted by Faustine Wabwire on October 22, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Inequality, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Trade, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The world produces lots of food, and on World Food Day (today—October 16) that seems like something we should be celebrating.
The global hunger rate is falling. Indeed, that’s good news. But it’s not because we’re producing more food. We produce more than enough to feed everyone, and have been doing so for some time.
Hunger is rarely about there not being enough food. It’s almost always about being too poor to afford food. The big reason hunger is going down is because economic growth in developing countries means that other opportunities besides subsistence farming have become available, making it possible for these farm families to escape a life of poverty. Subsistence farmers and their families make up the largest share of people who are hungry. When you have no other way to earn enough to buy food, you grow it yourself to eat and try to sell whatever’s left.
There are billions of people around the world who depend on subsistence farming. World Food Day should be a moment to reflect on the people who produce food. The number of farmers who are actually making a decent living may number a few million. I doubt it’s that high.
Instead of romanticizing them, especially subsistence farmers, we may want to stop and reflect on how many would rather be doing something else if they had a choice. It’s not much different in rich countries than in poor. The reason people left agriculture in America was because it was never much of a way to make a living in the first place. Yes, mechanization (more so than policy) meant you had to “get big or get out,” to quote one of our former Secretaries of Agriculture, but people were already leaving the farm in droves decades earlier when more opportunities sprung up thanks to economic growth.
The U.S. food system is much bigger than farmers, and I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of good things to say about it. Ironically, the system we’ve developed to ensure food is cheap and plentiful for most people in the country also contributes a fair share to the hunger in the country.
The World Bank released its 2014 World Development Report (WDR) last week. Previously, “risk management” was not a commonly-heard phrase in global development, but the WDR makes a good case for why it should be. As the world — developing regions especially — anticipates economic crises and more frequent natural disasters in the context of a rapidly rising population, the World Bank argues that people now more than ever need to be better prepared to cope with whatever the future may bring.
Over the past 25 years, there has been unprecedented progress in improving livelihoods in developing countries. Driven by global efforts such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), national and international leaders have joined with partners across civil society, the private sector, and local communities to identify and carry out effective strategies. The world has met the MDG target of cutting the rate of extreme poverty in half. Other measurements of the eight MDGs also reveal considerable progress. But the World Bank warns that these advancements could easily be lost if national governments do not take decisive steps to identify and prepare to mitigate both existing and emerging risks. New risks are, however, accompanied by a host of new opportunities. Inaction may be the riskiest option of all.
Even after the unprecedented efforts of the past few years, more than half of the population of the developing world lives on less than $2.50 a day. And as we mentioned in Institute Notes last week, there are still 842 million people who are chronically hungry. All are vulnerable to falling deeper into poverty, hunger, and poor health when confronted with economic and environmental shocks or armed conflict.
The focus of this year’s WDR is on reliable information and sound planning. In its own words:
The WDR 2014’s value added resides in its emphasis on managing risks in a proactive, systemic, and integrated way. These characteristics underscore the importance of forward-looking planning and preparation in a context of uncertainty.
Other major players in global development concur with the WDR assessment. For example, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has just released its Global Hunger Index, which argues that greater resilience in international agricultural and economic systems is critical to boosting food and nutrition security.In her recently launched briefing paper, Bread for the World Institute’s Faustine Wabwire also stresses the importance of resilience in whatever post-2015 plan emergesto replace the MDGs. Preparing more effectively for the future – whether in the United States or in developing countries – is (not coincidentally) a major emphasis of our 2014 Hunger Report, Ending Hunger in America, to be released on November 25. Keep a lookout for upcoming Institute Notes posts with more details on this exciting new report as that date approaches!
Posted by Bread on October 15, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Immigration, Inequality, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Development Goals, Religion and Hunger, Trade, U.S. Hunger, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
At the launch of the global Muskoka Initiative during the 2010 Group of 8 (G-8) summit, the government of Canada promised to “make a significant, tangible difference in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.” The Muskoka Initiative, signed by all G-8 member countries, focuses on articulating principles, developing measures, and promoting transparency and accountability in health outcomes.
Canada and the other Muskoka signatories have contributed to impressive progress in the past two years. According to the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (CAN-MNCH), in 2012, an extra 700,000 children reached their fifth birthday as compared to 2010. In more than 125 countries, maternal death rates have fallen sharply in the past five years.
Three years into the initiative, Canada is on track to meet its five-year commitment of Can$2.85 billion (the Canadian and U.S. dollars are currently close in value; Canada’s pledge is about U.S. $2.76 billion). It has already disbursed 60 percent of the total. Moreover, encouraged by the results associated with its investment, Canada recently committed an additional Can$203.5 million to support the Muskoka principles. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently hosted a United Nations event on the health of pregnant women and young children, where he made the announcement.
A symposium, IMPACT 2025: Working Together for Global Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, was held last month in Ottawa by the Canadian government and CAN-MNCH. According to reporting from the event, “…despite some remarkable progress, improvements in [maternal, newborn, and child health, MNCH] have been uneven across and within countries.” Participants came together to make a series of recommendations to the Canadian government to support current investments by:
· Maintaining political momentum
· Leveraging global leadership in MNCH to reach the Millennium Development Goals
· Strengthening accountability frameworks
· Promoting private sector engagement
· Collaborating through a “Whole-of-Canada” approach
These efforts by our neighbor to the north remind those of us in the United States that there is global political momentum behind efforts to improve health and nutrition outcomes for women and children. This global nutrition momentum confronts the “massive unfinished agenda” in nutrition that I wrote about previously. Global efforts must respond to these unmet needs through new collaborations that leverage available resources and emphasize best practices.
Such collaborations will help build an evidence base of what has produced successful results—an important tool for moving forward, as emphasized in the 2013 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition. Advocacy groups such as Bread for the World need these successes to help make the case to the U.S. Congress that sustaining robust funding for nutrition is a smart investment of taxpayer resources—prevention efforts that will be leveraged by other donors and by national governments to make a “significant, tangible difference” in the lives of millions.
Posted by Scott Bleggi on October 11, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Inequality, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
On October 9, the World Bank will launch Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity, a report detailing the need to confront social exclusion in order to end extreme poverty and hunger. It is the World Bank's first-ever report on this vital but sometimes overlooked topic.
The U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have spurred significant progress on extreme poverty, hunger, child mortality, and other global problems. It's possible, however, to meet MDG targets while still leaving the poorest people behind. For example, it proved much easier to cut the rate of extreme poverty in half by enabling people closest to the poverty line to cross just over it to "non-poor" status, than by trying to bring those in the deepest poverty above the poverty threshold.
This is why one of the main recommendations of the U.N. Secretary General's High-Level Panel on the post-2015, post-MDG development agenda, which released its report in May 2013, is to leave no one behind by focusing a new set of development goals on reaching excluded groups.
In virtually all societies, there are people who are ostracized. Socially excluded groups confront barriers that prevent them from fully participating in the political, economic, and social life of their nations. The World Bank report explains that they are "branded by stereotypes, stigmas, and superstitions."
In order to build shared prosperity for all, the global community must respond to social exclusion in all its forms. The High-Level Panel report described the task as ensuring that "no person -- regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race, or status -- is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities."
The Inclusion Matters report presents what we know about social exclusion and its costs. Most importantly, it emphasizes that societies can instead plan and achieve social inclusion. It will almost always take time, but it can be done.
On October 9, download the report from the World Bank's social inclusion site or use hashtag #inclusionmatters on Twitter.
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