World’s hungry look to G8 to keep promises

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2012) — Leaders from the Group of Eight nations meeting at Camp David on May 18-19 must commit to concrete, time-bound goals on reducing poverty, malnutrition and hunger, and deliver on previous food security pledges, said leading NGO alliance InterAction.

“Rich economies will ultimately recover, but many stunted and malnourished children will not. There needs to be sustained political will on behalf of all governments, especially during difficult economic times when the poor are further marginalized,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president of InterAction, which represents 198 U.S.-based international NGOs. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a member of InterAction.

“Hunger and poor nutrition are the world’s number one health risk. One in seven people will go to bed hungry tonight and one in three children in the developing world are stunted. Statistics like this underscore where G8 leaders’ priorities should remain,” he added.

World leaders need to set and meet nutrition and food security goals. These include a reduction in child stunting by 40 percent globally in the next decade, with a target of eliminating child stunting for 15 million young children by the end of 2015. A broader goal must be to lift 50 million people out of poverty across Africa by 2022.

“Only by setting and achieving these goals will the G8 be accountable for its promises to the world’s poor,” said Worthington.

InterAction welcomes leadership by the Obama administration to make food and nutrition a signature campaign in 2012 and beyond, and looks forward to more details on a food security alliance expected to be announced on Friday by President Barack Obama.

“A challenge of this magnitude requires a new approach, bringing in all players from governments, foundations, the private sector and civil society. Even rich nations like the G8 cannot afford to go it alone,” said Worthington.

“We look forward to working with the administration and others on the design of this new alliance, which includes the private sector, and learning more about it. For food security programs to be effective, there needs to be strong civil society involvement from design to implementation and evaluation,” he added.

These new partnerships could increase the likelihood that poverty reduction goals are met but must not be a substitute for meeting previous obligations such as those agreed in 2009 at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, when $22 billion was committed to food and agricultural programs.

“These funds need to be delivered and not just promised.  We encourage the United States to continue its leadership role in encouraging other members of the G8 not to renege on their previous commitments and to prioritize investments that improve nutrition and include small-scale farmers, particularly women,” said Worthington.

Contacts:

Sue Pleming:        202.552.6561    spleming@interaction.org

Jeanne Paradis:    202.552.6535    jparadis@interaction.org

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