FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The scale of chronic hunger in the world is massive – but it is also measurable. One in six people in the world today is chronically hungry. More than 200 million children suffer from undernutrition. Hunger stunts the health and development of societies just as it limits the mental and physical potential of children. But thanks to the efforts of world leaders, international organizations, civil society and the private sector, the solutions to global hunger have never been so well understood, or carried so much potential. On World Food Day, I am proud to join President Obama, Secretary Clinton and this growing global consensus in calling attention to the urgent need for comprehensive, sustainable action on global food security.
Recent years have given rise to exceptional challenges for the world’s hungry, from a spike in global food prices in 2007 and 2008 to destabilizing events in countries like Pakistan and Haiti. But we have also seen unprecedented global action. At the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit in September, world leaders devoted special attention to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, including $22 billion in investments committed last year by the G-8 and G-20, and noted a growing recognition among leaders of developing countries about the need to invest in food security. In support of these efforts, the United States has pledged at least $3.5 billion over three years toward country-owned plans to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
The United States is also proud to back innovative and collaborative strategies for promoting the world’s food security. The MDG Summit served as the backdrop for the United States and Ireland to jumpstart the UN’s Scaling Up Nutrition framework, a strategy endorsed by 100 international partners to battle undernutrition. One plank of this framework, “1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future” (www.thousanddays.org), is a joint commitment by developing countries, multilateral organizations, donor governments, civil society and the private sector to set concrete benchmarks that accelerate progress toward improving maternal and child nutrition from pregnancy through age two. Earlier this summer, the United States honored the winners of the World Food Prize and announced the Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative, recognizing in particular the cost effectiveness of high-impact innovative investments and the value of scientific contributions in the fight for food security.
Combating hunger’s root causes serves America’s interests by serving the interests of all people. This movement promises improvement in global standards of living, delivering higher returns for its investments; promotes broad-based economic growth; and reinforces our common security by investing in our common humanity. As President Obama has said, “all of us must join together in this effort – not just because it is right, but because by providing assistance to those countries most in need, we will provide new markets, we will drive the growth of the future that lifts all of us up.”
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