The SDGs and Food Security: Balancing Goals

The United Nations will adopt 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September as part of the post-2015 Development Agenda. However, as UN member states and other stakeholders prepare to reach a consensus on the world’s development priorities for the next 15 years, the importance of targeted interventions across all goals, especially food and nutrition security, is of critical importance.

The SDGs grew out of a nearly 2-year long process beginning with the establishment of a 30+ member Open Working Group (OWG) in January of 2013. The OWG model developed a set of goals meant to be inclusive, universal, and comprehensive, bumping up the Millennium Development Goals’ broad targets to a total of 169 targets.

The UN must advocate for the legitimacy of the SDG agenda as an advanced and improved agenda, different from but complementary to the MDGs. Goal 2, to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” is one of the broadest goals proposed by the OWG. Specificity and accuracy is the most important in implementing this goal. Agricultural development interventions are often well-intended but poorly executed, and a lack of local knowledge and capacity-building ends up distorting markets and disadvantaging farmers across the world. Continue reading

Sustaining U.S. Commitment to Food Security and Agricultural Development

By Anna Applefield

In 2010, President Obama committed $3.5 billion over three years to global food security programming. This commitment became USAID’s flagship initiative on food security, called Feed the Future (FtF), which over the last four years has been committed to reducing food insecurity in its 19 focus countries.

In the eleventh hour of the 113th Congress, a bi-partisan bill to continue funding for FtF, introduced by Representatives Smith (R-NJ) and McCollum (D-MN) passed the House of Representatives and went to the Senate for consideration. The bill was not passed by the Senate, so it will be left to a new Congress to decide the future of food security programming.

FtF has been a major priority for USAID, but without authorized funding the budget is vulnerable every year, which weakens the program’s overall ability to function. Because Obama has spearheaded the effort and refocused USAID’s priorities heavily on this program, many people have politicized the initiative, which further jeopardizes its ability to gain sustained funding.

Regardless of the political dynamics, FtF has revitalized the U.S. commitment to agriculture abroad in a way hasn’t been seen in decades.  Although there are certainly ways that FtF can and should be improved, there are several key reasons we should be thinking about how we can cement long-term success by continuing to improve and expand programming, rather than cutting back on food security funding at this critical time.

Poomparai Village is a farming community in Tamil Nadu, India.

A farming community in Tamil Nadu, India.  Photo obtained via Parthan’s flickr photostream under a creative commons license

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Weekly Round Up

This week in development…

Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week

Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this week

  • The World Bank released a report titled The Economic Impact of the 2014 Ebola Epidemic, estimating total economic loss associated with the outbreak could be as high as $32.6 billion by the end of 2015. The crisis has been escalating, and according to WHO officials is “much worse than it was 12 days ago.”  Today, in a move to combat the outbreak, the U.S. Congress approved another $700 million in funding.
  • This week over 10,000 development stakeholders were in Washington D.C. for the 2014 Annual World Bank and IMF Meetings. There are over 70 different panels and conferences on the official schedule, not to mention hundreds of meetings with periphery organizations. This weekend’s major highlights will include high-level meetings on the State of the Africa Region, Development Committee Press Conference, and The Future of Finance.

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Takeaways from the 2014 State of Food Insecurity in the World Report

Photo taken from International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center's flickr photostream used under a Creative Commons license

Photo taken from International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s flickr photostream used under a Creative Commons license

By Jeremiah Magpile and Caitlin Allmaier

On September 16, the Food and Agricultural Organization published its annual State of Food Insecurity in the World Report, which tracks regional progress on Millennium Development Goal 1 using indicators related to access, availability, stability, and utilization. The report concluded that global efforts to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015 have been effective, and that MDG-1 is within reach for numerous areas of the world. Despite broad progress, however, regional disparities remain; a full quarter of the world’s hungry now reside in sub-Saharan Africa, and the region will need accelerated support to have any hope of meeting MDG-1 by 2015. Further, Asia still continues to have the highest number of undernourished people, despite Southeast Asia meeting the World  having already met the more stringent 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) hunger target. Below are other takeaways from the report: Continue reading

Weekly Round Up

A farmer stands amidst a rice farm in Burundi, Africa. Photo taken from International Rice Research Institute's flickr photostream used under a creative commons license.

A farmer stands amidst a rice farm in Burundi, Africa. Photo taken from International Rice Research Institute’s flickr photostream used under a creative commons license.

This week in development…

  • The International Finance Corporation released its 2014 annual report, in which they inform that they have provided a record amount of financing for the world’s poorest countries last year: $8.5 billion. These funds served to support more than 300 projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Europe.
  • Sierra Leone began a three day lockdown to enable health workers to find and isolate cases of Ebola. A team of almost 30,000 people is going from house to house to detect possible cases of Ebola and to distribute soap.

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