On November 22, 2010, Bread for the World Institute held an event for the release of its 2011 Hunger Report, which focuses on the global response to the 2007-2008 food price crisis that led to a dramatic rise in hunger and poverty, and U.S. leadership in galvanizing the international community. Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, moderated the panel which included Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator; David Beckmann, President for Bread for the World and MFAN co-chair; Inger Anderson, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank; and Carolyn Miles, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Save the Children USA.
The 2011 Hunger Report frames 2011 as a “time of opportunity to achieve lasting progress against global hunger and malnutrition.” The report applauds the new U.S. government initiative, Feed the Future, which takes a country-led approach to addressing hunger and poverty through empowering small farmers. It also aims to address the impact of child malnutrition on long-term economic development.
The report underscores that Feed the Future is affected by some of the same structural weaknesses that limit the effectiveness of other U.S. development assistance programs. One such weakness is the loss of technical expertise at USAID. The report suggests that the structural weaknesses facing USAID can only be overcome by rewriting the Foreign Assistance Act to reflect the realities and challenges of the 21st century, a core MFAN objective.
Dr. Shah stated, “The 2011 Hunger Report aptly reminds us that in order to tackle the root causes of hunger and malnutrition, we need to invest in smallholder farmers and focus on integrating nutrition and agriculture development through a country-led approach. Feed the Future…does just that. We are proudly leading a global movement to reverse decades-long neglect of agriculture-led development.” Shah highlighted USAID Forward and its various components that aim to modernize the agency and make it more effective. See Shah’s full remarks at the 2011 Hunger Report launch here.
Major Takeaways Include:
- Fighting hunger and malnutrition effectively requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on small farmers, empowers women, and deals quickly with hunger emergencies;
- When providing development assistance, the U.S. government should allow transparency and accountability of funding, help build national government capacities to sustain progress, and build civil society’s capacity to hold national governments accountable;
- Congress should rewrite the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act to improve the effectiveness and flexibility of U.S. development assistance to respond to the needs of partner countries;
- The U.S. should take the lead in strengthening international institutions to address global problems.