There are three things necessary to win the battle against hunger and malnutrition, said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power at the Food Systems Summit 2021 Presummit Ministerial. They include leveraging the latest technology, investing in the places most in need, and using public funds to unlock private capital.
“A catastrophic combination of flaring conflicts, shocks from climate change, and a still-raging COVID-19 pandemic have shattered many of our recent gains,” warned Administrator Power.
There are more people who are currently chronically hungry, and the number who are acutely hungry - where hunger threatens their life or livelihood - has grown by 20 million people in just the last year. These numbers are daunting with less than a decade to achieve the UN goal of Zero Hunger.
The number one driver of hunger remains conflict and war, said Administrator Power:
“We will never end hunger if governments starve their own people and use food as yet another weapon of war. Willfully displacing families from their homes, destroying crops and livestock, impeding the delivery of relief supplies, targeting and attacking humanitarian workers delivering relief. . . . We must all loudly and unequivocally condemn the purposeful starvation of people and fight to secure humanitarian aid access for those in need.”
“But we cannot, as the world so often has, focus only on humanitarian aid and food assistance at the expense of investing in agricultural productivity,” warned Administrator Power:
“We must give smallholder farmers the tools and technologies that will help them boost their yields and manage the impact of growing climate shocks as we race to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.”
The Biden-Harris administration will continue to invest in Feed the Future as a cornerstone of U.S. efforts to boost crop yields, end malnutrition, and strengthen resilience. Prioritizing gender will also play a critical role. Data show that Feed the Future programs must do more to facilitate women’s access to finance, so they invest in their own productivity and help transform food systems in the process.
“We look forward to working with partners throughout the world,” said Administrator Power, “to empower millions more people to feed themselves, strengthen their communities, and finally end hunger and malnutrition once and for all.”