Suzanna Bunyere receives tools and seeds from Concern Worldwide in Masisi, North Kivu, DRC. Photo: Kim Haughton
“We all share the obligation to make malnutrition history. The good news is that we have never been this well-positioned to make it a reality. The time is now. All we have to do is seize the moment.”
Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
On the eve of the G8 Summit, President Barack Obama announced a landmark initiative for food security and nutrition that promises to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next ten years through investments in food security and nutrition. Launched at the at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Third Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security
in Washington, DC on May 18, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition will unite G8 nations, African countries, and private sector leaders in the fight against malnutrition.
The New Alliance signals that there is strong political momentum and dedication by world leaders to end hunger and malnutrition – something that Concern Worldwide and other organizations working on the front-lines of hunger have been advocating foras the G8’s previous commitment expires this year.
The argument for such a commitment was laid out in “The Time is Now: The G8’s Opportunity to Make Undernutrition History,”
a paper that Concern launched in advance of the G8 Summit.
The New Alliance also includes some 45 local and multinational companies that have signed Letters of Intent to invest more than $3 billion in Africa’s agricultural systems, a shift that could stimulate local economies, create jobs, and break the cycle of extreme poverty for millions.
While the New Alliance will undoubtedly be critical to ending hunger and malnutrition, much more needs to be done, starting with disbursing the remaining funds pledged by G8 members in 2009 in L’Aquila, Italy. Nearly half of $22 billion committed to food security has yet to materialize.
The New Alliance must also take a broader approach to tackling food insecurity. New technology that increases agricultural yields is important, but it is by no means the only solution. Social safety nets, direct nutrition interventions, and stronger health systems are all needed as well to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable have the support they need.
Concern’s Involvement in the 2012 G8 Summit
Concern Worldwide CEO Tom Arnold was the only NGO representative to speak at the Symposium where President Obama launched the New Alliance. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bono, and USAID administrator Rajiv Shah were among the international leaders who spoke at the Symposium.
Mr. Arnold details his opinions around the New Alliance and what the G8’s responsibility is to fill the commitment it made to food security and nutrition in an op-ed, “A New Commitment to Food Security from G8, but Empty Promises Remain.”
In addition to the Symposium, Mr. Arnold also spoke at two events that Concern co-sponsored around the G8 and NATO Summits in Washington, DC and Chicago. The first, “Scaling up Nutrition: Calling All Champions,” took place on Capitol Hill on May 17 and brought together U.S. governments leaders for a briefing on the successes made in food security and nutrition and what we need to do to build upon those achievements. The second, “1000 Days to Change the Future: Making Malnutrition History,”
drew government, UN, academic, NGO, and business leaders together during the NATO Summit in Chicago to harness support around adequate nutrition during the 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday.