Praising Obama’s commitment to world hunger

July 10, 2009

Mercy Corps Praises Obama Administration’s Commitment To the World’s Hungry

Portland, OR – The global relief and development agency Mercy Corps today applauded the Obama administration’s announcement of a $3.5-billion investment in agriculture programs over three years to help feed the world’s poor. The announcement was part of a broader, $20-billion commitment to agriculture made by world leaders at the G-8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy.

“Today’s news demonstrates the Obama administration's leadership on ending global hunger. We are very encouraged by their thoughtful, strategic view of the resources families need to feed themselves over the long term,” said Mercy Corps President Nancy Lindborg. “This is a clear break from the ‘business as usual’ of food-aid policies.”

The administration detailed investments in agriculture that would enable people to break out of cycles of dependence on food assistance. The announcement underscored support for the efforts of women in farming and emphasized various aspects of agricultural development, including increased productivity, agricultural-related infrastructure, and training and research.

“The 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,” explained Lindborg.

Mercy Corps predicted that the measures announced today will have an important impact on the world’s poorest people. “We applaud this comprehensive vision of hunger-fighting efforts. For rural families, resources like high-quality seeds, irrigation systems, and connections to markets are essential. But many impoverished people also need access to emergency food supplies, and health and nutrition assistance,” concluded Lindborg. “It is admirable that the administration intends to couple long-term and short-term solutions to hunger.”

This new support for agriculture aligns with elements of three recent Mercy Corps initiatives: 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 formulated by a consortium of 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.

Mercy Corps' "One Table" campaign, launched last month, advocates for policies and programs that recognize of the critical role women play in feeding families in the developing world.

The Roadmap, unveiled in February, has been endorsed by numerous government leaders, and served as the basis for legislation on global hunger that was introduced in June.

The Action Center to End World Hunger, located in New York City, uses interactive multimedia exhibits, youth workshops and public events to build a movement of people who want to work for global change. It also lives online at www.actioncenter.org.

The G-8 commitment builds on a promise made by the President Obama at the G-20 meeting in April to double funding for food security programs to $1 billion, and increase the flexibility and effectiveness of this assistance.