All in a Week's Work -- Fighting Hunger

Posted by Jonathan Shrier
October 27, 2012
Kenyan Man Displays Millet

As the Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security, I lead U.S. diplomacy on food security and nutrition, and last week was a particularly busy one for the food security team.

I started the week in Rome for World Food Day, which recognizes the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and to participate in this year's UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

At CFS, I highlighted the progress made under the G-8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in mobilizing the private sector to help lift 50 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty over the next 10 years, and the expansion of our efforts to accelerate private sector investment to agriculture in Africa.

We are not alone in this effort. African leaders -- from the African Union, the New Partnership for African Development, and countries like Tanzania and Mozambique -- worked with the World Economic Forum to launch the Grow Africa Partnership, which seeks to mobilize private sector resources to advance African countries' own agricultural development plans. I joined a panel discussion in Rome on Grow Africa with African representatives, including Tanzania's Minister of Agriculture and a representative of a women farmers organization from Malawi, as well as representatives of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Norwegian firm Yara International, and others.

I finished the week in Des Moines, Iowa, home of the World Food Prize established by Dr. Norman E. Bourlaug to recognize individuals who advanced human development by improving the quality or availability of food in the world. This year, Dr. Daniel Hillel was awarded the prize for his role in developing micro-irrigation, a way of getting "more crop for the drop," especially in arid regions.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also made the trek to Des Moines to address the gathering, which brought together agricultural experts, academics, government representatives, farmers and food security advocates from all over the world to share the latest research, technology and innovation and best practices to address food security and under-nutrition. Feed the Future, the U.S. government food security initiative was featured at the event in a panel discussion about partnerships with the private sector and at a side event highlighting Feed the Future's successful investments in agricultural research.

While in Des Moines, I also had the opportunity to meet with several foreign government, civil society, and private sector partners who are deeply committed to work together and promote global food security.

Perhaps the most inspiring among them was a group of 150 high school students from all over the United States and over 20 different countries who attended the ceremony. It was great to talk to these young students who represent the next generation of food security champions and answer their questions about the U.S. government efforts to improve food security and nutrition around the globe.

Ending world hunger will require a collective effort among governments, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society. From the head of the United Nations to the student group, from ministers of agriculture to civil society leaders and corporate CEOs, it is a hopeful sign that so many are rallying to be part of the solution.


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