Catholic Relief Services has joined more than 40 humanitarian and advocacy groups in calling on the United States to continue its leadership to end global hunger by following a new Roadmap designed to ensure the effectiveness of food aid and development programs.
The new Roadmap – which reviews progress since the 2009 launch of the original Roadmap to End Global Hunger – calls on the U.S. to invest $5 billion annually in emergency, safety net, nutrition and agriculture programs, noting that this amount “is just over one tenth of one percent of the US budget, yet would support increased food security for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”
“This Roadmap makes clear that we as a country have to do more if we are going to end global hunger,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for advocacy. “In the current Congress, we have fought hard just to maintain current spending levels and still face the possibility of significant cuts. The Roadmap shows that spending to end hunger is a good investment that is supported by a majority of the American people. Hunger around the world can be significantly reduced if we follow these recommendations.”
The new Roadmap was launched at a July 24 Capitol Hill reception that included appearances by Reps. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), and James McGovern (D-Mass.), who was introduced by O’Keefe. CRS is a member of a core group of anti-hunger organizations that supported the Roadmap.
In addition to increased funding to combat hunger and malnutrition, the new Roadmap calls on the U.S. to appoint a Global Food Security Coordinator who would oversee the development and implementation of a government-wide strategy to end global hunger.
The document supports the call by organizations like CRS for predictable and dedicated funding for food security, including Food for Peace non-emergency programs which provide crucial support to helping some of the most vulnerable better feed themselves over the long-run. The Roadmap emphasizes working with local governments and institutions in responses that build resilience to droughts and other shocks, that implement safety net programs, and that emphasize good nutrition.
“The economic crisis combined with droughts here in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world has a devastating impact on the world’s poor,” said O’Keefe “The original Roadmap was launched in the midst of a food price spike that eventually eased, but since then prices have gone back up to those levels. The droughts mean we are facing another possible spike. When prices rise, the poor who spend as much as 80 percent of their income on food can see their families become victims of a hunger cycle — the malnourished cannot work so they fall deeper into poverty.
“As this new Roadmap makes clear, our programs to combat hunger and malnutrition must be coordinated, comprehensive and sustained if we are going to end this scourge,” he said. “The U.S. can strengthen its leadership role by aligning cost effective programs with the needs of the hundreds of millions of people who go to bed hungry every night.”