Humanitarian coalition welcomes legislation introduced by Representatives McGovern and Emerson

June 17, 2009

H.R. 2817 Proposes Comprehensive U.S. Response to Global Hunger

Washington, DC – Last week, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) introduced the Roadmap to End Global Hunger and Promote Food Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2817). Based on the Roadmap to End Global Hunger report released by a diverse coalition of NGOs in February, the legislation outlines the broad elements of a comprehensive plan to address global hunger in the short, intermediate and long term and sets forth recommendations to improve U.S. government coordination of hunger-alleviation efforts.

“Since I was first elected to Congress 30 years ago, I have been hoping for a comprehensive bill that truly lays out what is necessary for the United States to lead the global community in ending global hunger,” said former congressman and ambassador Tony Hall. “The Roadmap and Roadmap Bill do just that, pulling together the collective wisdom of those who work with the world’s poorest people every day.”

The Roadmap Act outlines the major components of a comprehensive strategy, including: emergency response and management, safety nets, nutrition and agricultural development, which would ensure that U.S. hunger-alleviation efforts address the impacts of both transitory and chronic hunger through the implementation of a flexible and well-funded range of cash and commodity-based interventions.

To improve coordination of U.S. hunger-alleviation efforts and oversee the development and implementation of the comprehensive strategy, H.R. 2817 proposes a Coordinator on Global Hunger and Food Security in the White House. The legislation also establishes a bipartisan, bicameral Select Committee on Hunger to focus on global hunger in a comprehensive and coordinated way within Congress.

“We have the resources to end hunger in our lifetimes – what we need is the political will to make it happen,” said Rep. McGovern. “The Roadmap provided us with some excellent recommendations. It is clear to me that we need a serious, coordinated strategy to effectively address hunger. I’m particularly proud that my friend Jo Ann Emerson is my partner in this effort.”

“This legislative effort, like the Roadmap to End Hunger, outlines a comprehensive strategy to make sure this global problem gets the highest level of attention possible from the U.S. government until it is solved,” said Rep. Emerson. “I’m grateful for Jim McGovern’s leadership on this issue, and I am proud to fight by his side. Americans need to hear the non-partisan message that hunger is a global problem with national implications, such as international agricultural development and discouraging violent extremism.”

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have highlighted the present administration’s commitment to global food security in several high-profile statements and speeches in recent months. U.S. programs to address global hunger are spread out across a wide-range of agencies and offices, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At present, varied government efforts are not coordinated around a comprehensive strategy.

The Roadmap to End Global Hunger initiative was created in response to last year’s global food crisis and this year’s global financial crisis. In early 2008, food and fuel prices skyrocketed, causing a global food crisis that pushed more than 100 million additional people into chronic hunger. Currently, the global economic crisis is rippling through the developing world resulting in declines in remittances, foreign direct investment, employment and other key sources of revenue for poor countries. The number of the world’s hungry is now teetering at about 1 billion.

The Roadmap to End Global Hunger campaign is supported by a diverse coalition of more than 40 international relief and development organizations including Bread for the World, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Friends of the World Food Program, Mercy Corps, and Save the Children. This campaign marks the first time all of these organizations have united around a comprehensive strategy to end hunger.