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Partnering For Food Security

Food Aid to North Korea
Food Aid to North Korea

Close to one billion people around the world live in food-insecure households.

Close to one billion people around the world live in food-insecure households. This means that they don’t know where their next meal will come from, and chances are that they will go to bed hungry nearly every night.

Helping those in need achieve food security is “not just a humanitarian and moral imperative, but it also directly relates to global security and stability,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Feed the Future event during the U.N. General Assembly in late September. “I’ve seen in my travels how increased investments in agriculture and nutrition are paying off in rising prosperity, healthier children, better markets, and stronger communities.”

That is why food security is at the top of the United States national and foreign policy agendas. Feed the Future is the Obama Administration’s flagship global hunger and food security initiative. Last week’s event focused on the important role that civil society organizations play in global food security.

“[They]are crucial to our success in both the public and the private sector,” said Secretary Clinton. “They have longstanding relationships in communities and valuable technical expertise, and they work every single day on their commitment to try to make the world a better place for all of us.”

To illustrate this point, Secretary Clinton announced that InterAction, an alliance of 198 U.S.-based organizations whose members assist smallholder farmers, is pledging more than one billion dollars of private, nongovernmental funds over the next three years to improve food security and nutrition worldwide.

Bringing in civil society as a partner in development goes hand-in-hand with the U.S. policy of country ownership, or putting the country and the community in charge of setting the priorities.

“Empowering local people by giving them the tools to start their own organizations, find their own voices, run their own programs . . . . is a much more effective, sustainable kind of development assistance,” said Secretary Clinton. “Moving from aid to trade so that we really help people develop businesses, which then in turn can employ local people and open markets, is a much more effective form of development assistance.”

We are on the right track, said Secretary Clinton. We just have to keep pushing forward.