News / Africa

G8 Warned About Increasing World Hunger

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua

The G8 summit gets underway Friday in Muskoka, Canada.  While leaders are expected to concentrate on global economic and security issues, they’re also expected to review the status of the Millennium Development Goals.

The 8 goals have a target date of 2015 for big improvements in such issues as poverty, health, gender equality, among others.

The Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute, or IFPRI, is calling on G8 leaders to fulfill their commitments to sharply reducing hunger.  Shenggen Fan, IFPRI’s Director-General, is calling on leaders to take a “business as unusual approach.”

“I think the European debt crisis, the appreciation of the Chinese Yuan and the recovery of the global economy are important, but in the meantime do not ignore and neglect food security,” he says.  Fan warns, “If we do, it will be too late to fix.”

High prices

High prices and shortages marked the food crisis several years ago.  There have been improvements since then, but problems remain.

“The food prices have come down mainly due to increased supply from China, India, U.S. and Europe.  But food prices remain very high in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa.  For example, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda. They’re still facing very high food prices.  So the global food crisis is not over yet,” he says.

There’s been much talk since the food crisis began to boost investment in agriculture.

Fan says, “Many donors, many international organizations have committed to increase their funding for global food security.  That’s a good trend.  But we have to convert this commitment of pledges to real action, real implementation.  And we need to monitor which donors, which countries have really met their commitments.”

G8 Warned About Increasing World Hunger
G8 Warned About Increasing World Hunger

Implementation and commitments mean money.  “That’s right,’ says Fan, “For example, about a year ago during the L’Aquila G8 summit (in Italy), G8 countries committed (US) $22 billion for global food security.  It’s not enough, but it’s a good start.”

Social protection


As part of his “business as unusual” approach, the IFPRI head is calling for social protection as a “core pillar” of his strategy, along with funding agricultural investment.

“In the short run, many poor need to be protected, particularly women and children that do not have access to income, that do not have access to food.  They need to be protected.  So social protection will provide food for needy people in the short run,” he says.

In the long run, he says, “We have to make sure that these people will be able to move out of social protection.  They can really participate in economic growth.  So that’s why a combination of productive investment and social protection is needed.”

New players take the field

This year, the G8 and G20 summits overlap.  The G8 will be held June 25th and 26th and the G20 summit, also in Canada, is set for June 26th and 27th.

Fan says this allows “new actors” or “new players” to become involved in global development.  They include China, India, Brazil and some African countries, such as South Africa.

“The development in these emerging economies can have tremendous impact at a global level.  And these countries have really increased their shares in global economy, trade and investment.  And their role in global food security is also potentially large,” he says.

IFPRI is also urging the G8 to assist developing nations to take a “country-led bottom-up approach.”

“Country-led really means that a country designs its investment plans, (it’s) not donor driven.  Country-led does not mean government-led.  It means the local citizens and other stakeholders, private sector should also be involved in developing that strategy,” he says.

He says history shows that large scale successes in reducing hunger have always been country-driven.  “For example, the green revolution in Asia, agriculture and rural reform in China and Vietnam and more recently, Africa leaders have made a process to use 10 percent of their national budget to support…agriculture growth,” he says.

He adds, “Country-led means the countries are in the driver’s seat.”

MDGs

G8 leaders are expected to review progress being made on the eight Millennium Development Goals or MDGs.

“Right now, we are very much off track.  And we are dangerously off track.  By 2015 we’re supposed to reduce the number of hungry people to less than 600 million.  But today we have more than one billion.  One billion people who are suffering from hunger.  So the situation is very severe,” he says.

However, Fan is not giving up on achieving the goal to reduce hunger.

“I truly believe that if the global leaders are committed we can still achieve cutting hunger by half or even eliminate hunger altogether,” he says.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid