May 18, 2012 | By Roger Thurow

Fighting the Injustice of Hunger

President Barack Obama issued an “all hands on deck” command to combat chronic hunger and malnutrition, which he said was “an outrage and an affront to who we are.”

Speaking at the Chicago Council’s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, the president said the G8 – while dealing with global problems like job creation, the struggling Eurozone, and sustaining economic recovery – would also “focus on the injustice of hunger, and the need for long-term food security.”

He said the G8 leaders would open another front in the fight: a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. It is an alliance that will foster partnerships between governments from the rich world and the poor, donor countries and the private sector.

Governments, President Obama said, will agree to take the lead in building on the plans designed by developing countries to improve their agriculture. Donor countries will agree to more closely align their assistance to further these plans. And the private sector will agree to make concrete and continuing commitments to boost their investments.

The G8, he said, would sustain its commitments of three years ago to invest $22 billion in agricultural development, “and to speed things up.” Things like the development of new innovations, such as better seeds, better storage facilities and better communications for smallholder farmers to better deal with changing prices and changing climate.

He said the first three focus countries under the New Alliance will be Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania; in coming months, six more countries will be added.

And he said 45 companies, ranging from multinationals to local African enterprises, are kicking off the private sector contributions with investments of more than $3 billion.

The focus of the New Alliance, President Obama said, will be on boosting farmers’ incomes so that during the coming decades 50 million men, women and children will be lifted out of poverty. And equal focus, he said, would be on boosting nutrition along with incomes.

The New Alliance, the president said, “would put the fight against hunger where it should be, at the forefront of global development.”

“True development,” he added, “means not only delivering aid but promoting broad-based economic growth.” The purpose of aid, he said, should be to create the conditions where assistance is no longer needed; this, he noted, is the aim of his Feed the Future initiative, which seeks to create the conditions for smallholder farmers to grow enough food to feed their families and their communities so food aid isn’t needed to begin with.

Ending hunger, he said, was imperative on three fronts: moral, economic and security. A surging global population, he said, needs to be “matched by surging food production.”
Fifty years ago, he said, Africa was a food exporter. “There is no reason why Africa shouldn’t be feeding itself and exporting food. No reason at all.”

Archive

| By Roger Thurow

A Wondrous Journey

Cruising down I-80 in the summer is one of the most wondrous, and paradoxical, drives in the country.


| By Roger Thurow

1,000 Days and Migrant Stress

The first 1,000 days of a child's life is a critical time for development, where nutrition--and stability--lay the foundation for a lifetime. 



| By Roger Thurow

Outrage and Inspire with Roger Thurow - Am I About to Lose My Second Child, Too?

The latest podcast in our ongoing series with Roger Thurow. Hear how even the best nutrition projects can be undermined by bad water, poor sanitation and hygiene, and lousy infrastructure.  From northern Uganda, we hear a mother’s agony when her healthy, robust child suddenly falls ill after a few sips of water…unclean water, it turned out.











Roger Thurow on SDG 2.2

Roger Thurow sat down with Farming First to talk about the individual and societal consequences of malnutrition. 



Multimedia

Videos


 


Digital Preview of The First 1,000 Days

In his new book, The First 1,000 Days, Council senior fellow Roger Thurow illuminates the 1,000 Days initiative to end early childhood malnutrition through the compelling stories of new mothers in Uganda, India, Guatemala, and Chicago. Get a first-look at photos and stories from the book in this new web interactive.

» Learn more.
» Order your copy of the book.

Books

The First 1,000 Days

Roger Thurow’s book will tell the story of the vital importance of proper nutrition and health care in the 1,000 days window from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday.

The 1,000 days period is the crucial period of development, when malnutrition can have severe life-long impacts on the individual, the family and society as a whole. Nutritional deficiencies that occur during this time are often overlooked, resulting in a hidden hunger. It is a problem of great human and economic dimensions, impacting rich and poor countries alike.

Learn more »

The Last Hunger Season

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO's, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

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EnoughEnough

Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, award-winning writers on Africa, development, and agriculture, see famine as the result of bad policies spanning the political spectrum. In this compelling investigative narrative, they explain through vivid human stories how the agricultural revolutions that transformed Asia and Latin America stopped short in Africa, and how our sometimes well-intentioned strategies—alternating with ignorance and neglect—have conspired to keep the world’s poorest people hungry and unable to feed themselves.

Learn more »