by Jorge Rojas-Ruiz, Humanitas Global
Today ends the two-day High Level Meeting on Renewed Partnership for a Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025. African ministers and international leaders from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Lula Institute among others met at the African Union headquarters to plan and commit to a pathway that would reduce and eradicate hunger in the continent.
In addition to committing to a set of principles, policies and strategies for fostering food and nutrition security now and in the future, meeting participants also brainstormed ways to effectively and sustainably incorporate successful experiences from other countries. This would allow African countries, governments and civil society to leapfrog in their fight against hunger and quest for development.
The former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, delivered a hopeful message on Sunday and called for action. Lula expressed his optimism for the success of Brazil’s Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) program in other countries, but emphasized that a multi-sectoral response is necessary. He stressed the importance of promoting greater access to technology and modern machinery for increasing productivity, which would ultimately lead to surplus to sell.
Former President Lula also recognized that solving poverty is necessary for addressing hunger and that governments should view poverty relief efforts as an investment rather than as an expense. Poverty hinders the global fight against hunger because those living in poverty lack the opportunity to receive adequate education and healthcare necessary to carryon productive lives and have greater access to nutritious food.
José Graziano da Silva, director general of the FAO, called for action to improve food access, increase investment in agriculture and “strengthen social protection methods.” The meeting will conclude with a declaration that reaffirms government commitments, such as the 2003 Maputo declaration, and encourages more partnerships from the public and private sector. The goal is to “reduce the need for food aid within 10 years, eliminate stunting among children under five, doubling productivity of staple crops within five to 10 years, and contributing to the African trust fund for food security.”
There is a positive outlook for the efforts of creating a food and nutrition secure world. The United Nations published today the 2013 Millennium Development Goals Report stating that the global proportion of undernourished people decreased from 23.2 per cent in 1990-1992 to 14.9 per cent in 2010-2012. The target of halving the percentage of hungry stomachs around the world by 2015 seems to be “within reach." There is a growing consensus that the goals for hunger and malnourishment reduction are attainable but there must be a revamping of strategies for progress to occur within the imposed deadlines.
A multi-sectoral commitment to intensifying efforts to fight against global hunger and malnutrition is necessary, and the high level meeting in Addis Ababa restores confidence that hunger can be significantly reduced in the years to come.