Global Leaders to Launch G8 Food Security Agenda at Chicago Council on Global Affairs Symposium 
New Private Sector Investments in African Agriculture

 
Washington D.C., May 18, 2012 - President Barack Obama, with G8 and African leaders, will convene today at a symposium hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, to announce a new G8 initiative to advance agricultural development and food and nutrition security in Africa. The symposium, Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 Summit, , will feature significant new business commitments for African agriculture and discussions on addressing hunger and poverty in the changing development landscape.

African heads of state, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete will participate in a discussion with corporate and civil society leaders moderated by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. Benin President and Chairman of the African Union Dr. Boni Yayi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bono, co-founder of ONE and (RED), will deliver remarks.

The full agenda is available at thechicagocouncil.org/GlobalAgSymposium. Video of the symposium will be streamed live at livestream.com/thechicagocouncil. Follow @globalagdev and #globalag for live updates via Twitter.

“This week’s G8 Summit at Camp David will be a critical moment for global food security,” said Catherine Bertini, event co-chair and 2003 world food prize laureate. “The symposium, taking place on the margins of the summit, offers President Obama and leaders from Africa and G8 countries an opportunity to foster strong and sustained leadership from the global public sector, private sector and civil society alike to work together to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of food security efforts.”

More than 500 leaders from government, businesses, international organizations and civil society will attend The Chicago Council’s symposium taking place today in Washington D.C. In addition to announcements of significant new business commitments for African agriculture, discussions throughout the day will cover opportunities to increase intra-African trade and link countries to regional and global markets; efforts to incorporate nutrition into food security programming to improve health while promoting economic development; and advances in public and private agricultural research, innovation and technology to increase food production safely and nutritiously in the developing world.

"Food security is a global challenge, and G8 action is part of the solution,” said Dan Glickman, event co-chair and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1995-2001). “Long-term public and private investments in agricultural development will be needed to ensure the agriculture and food systems are able to meet current and future demand and materially reduce poverty."

“The Chicago Council provides an ideal independent, non-partisan platform for this announcement and discussions on new public and private actions on this important issue,” said Marshall M. Bouton, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “The symposium builds on the work of our Global Agricultural Development Initiative, which began in 2009 with the report Renewing American Leadership in the Fight Against Hunger and Poverty.”

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In March, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a white paper calling on the U.S. government to make global agricultural development and food security a priority agenda item at the G8 Summit. The white paper, developed by a bi-partisan working group, recommends G8 members spur innovation and engage the private sector by reducing regulatory barriers, building capacity, strengthening intellectual property protections and adopting and implementing policies to increase trade in commodities and food.
The working group, convened by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, transmitted its initial findings and recommendations in January 2012 to senior officials at the National Security Council, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Agency for International Development.

In April, The Chicago Council released its 2012 Progress Report on U.S. Leadership in Global Agricultural Development, which reports that the U.S. government has made major strides toward putting agricultural development back at the top of its foreign assistance agenda, reversing a three-decade long downward trend in U.S. global food security activities. The report concludes that while this recent progress should be celebrated, the hard work is just beginning. 
 
 
About The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (thechicagocouncil.org), founded in 1922, is a prominent, independent and nonpartisan organization committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning. Long known for its studies of American public opinion on foreign policy matters, the Council also contributes to discussions of critical global issues through studies, task force reports, and leadership dialogue. The Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative provides support, technical assistance and innovation towards the formulation and implementation of U.S. global agricultural development policies and offers external evaluation and accountability for U.S. progress on its policy commitment. Follow @globalagdev.

MEDIA CONTACT: Samantha Skinner, 312.821.7507, sskinner@thechicagocouncil.org.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Samantha Skinner
312.821.7507
sskinner@thechicagocouncil.org.
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