Speaking at the launch of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, US President Barack Obama said food security was an 'economic imperative' as well as a moral one.
(Copyright: WFP/Rene McGuffin)
Global leaders called on the public and private sector to work together to solve hunger and malnutrition today with the launch of “The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition” at the Chicago Council Symposium in Washington D.C.
“We face urgent challenges – creating jobs, addressing the situation in the eurozone, sustaining the global economic recovery,” United States President Barack Obama said in his keynote address. “But even as we deal with these issues, I felt it was also critical to focus on the urgent challenge that confronts some 1 billion men, women, and children around the world – the injustice of chronic hunger; the need for long-term food security.”
Combining assistance, investment, and increased access to markets, the “New Alliance” brings together G8 leaders, African countries, and private sector partners in a commitment to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next ten years through agricultural growth. Fact Sheet: G8 Action on Food Security and Nutrition
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin (see photo below, right) said this historic demonstration of political will builds momentum for the world’s largest humanitarian organization to garner new partnerships and drive sustained commitment to end hunger.
“By partnering with the private sector, development partners like WFP and governments alike benefit from the knowledge, experience, and tools they use to transform shareholder value into people value,” Cousin said in her panel discussion with Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda and CEO of Concern Worldwide Tom Arnold. “Partnerships need to focus on the beneficiaries we serve.”
From Heads of State to humanitarian rock stars to CEOs, the speakers at this year’s Symposium emphasized that solving hunger is at the root of all development issues, from poverty to health to economic growth.
President Obama stressed the wide-reaching importance of food security. “It’s a moral imperative, it’s an economic imperative, and it’s a security imperative.”
Ellen Kullman, CEO of Dupont, articulated how private sector engagement centered on people can drive the impact of nutrition and development solutions.
“We need to find common ground between government, businesses, and communities to build the momentum to spur growth,” Kullman said.
Drawing on his experience building national food security in his own country, President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana emphasized that while there has traditionally been so much focus on democracy and human rights, agricultural development is at the base of it all.
Leaders made it clear that the conversation about ending hunger and building food security doesn’t stop with emergency assistance, promising a new era of food security where political will combined with national leadership enables communities to be stronger in the face of crisis.
One Campaign founder and musician Bono (see photo right) highlighted the critical role G8 leaders will play. “How peaceful and how plentiful the century may be might just depend on this weekend’s G8 summit.”