A global partnership to end hunger

July 10, 2009

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    Rodrigo Ordonez//Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mercy Corps President Nancy Lindborg meets with women in Kurmuk, southern Sudan. Photo: Rodrigo Ordonez//Mercy Corps

Today’s announcement of a new $3.5-billion investment in agriculture programs over a three-year period demonstrates the Obama administration's leadership on ending global hunger. We are very encouraged by their thoughtful, strategic view of the investments needed for families to feed themselves over the long term.

This is a clear break from the ‘business as usual’ of food-aid policies. It signals U.S. leadership of a broader, $20-billion commitment to agriculture made by world leaders at this week’s G-8 summit in Italy.

The announcement particularly underscores support for the efforts of women in farming and emphasizes investing in agricultural development, including increased productivity, agricultural-related infrastructure, and training and research. The Obama administration is spot-on in its recognition of the role of women, who are often the farmers, breadwinners, and nutrition and health providers for their children. Supporting them goes a long way toward helping families climb out of hunger.

I believe the measures announced today will have an important impact on the world’s poorest people and applaud this comprehensive vision of hunger-fighting efforts. It is imperative that we couple these kinds of longer term agriculture investments with a continued focus on ensuring access to emergency food supplies, and health and nutrition assistance.

At Mercy Corps, we have three ongoing initiatives that closely align with this vision of tackling hunger: One Table, a new agency campaign to fight world hunger by investing in women, the Hunger Roadmap, a comprehensive strategic plan to end world hunger championed by a consortium of international aid agencies, and the Action Center to End World Hunger, an innovative public learning space in New York City that inspires visitors of all ages to combat global hunger and poverty. We all have a role to play in ending hunger.

With concerted action and global commitments, world hunger becomes a solvable problem. In April, President Obama promised at the G-20 meeting to double funding for food security to $1 billion. Today’s G-8 commitment builds on that promise by pledging to provide at least $3.5 billion over the next three years, with increased flexibility and effectiveness of that assistance.

At Mercy Corps, we are heartened by the commitment and inspired by the opportunity to join hands in the effort to ensure that all the world’s families have reliable, sustainable access to healthy and affordable food.