Daily Archives: August 19, 2011

Nobody should go to bed hungry anymore, anywhere…

I am cross posting this item, it was from the CGIAR Consortium website, posted on August 16, 2011.   A message from CEO Lloyd LePage.

Delivery of food aid is essential and urgent, …‘But as we proceed, we must not forget we have seen crises like this before. First comes a severe drought, then crops fail, livestock perish, food prices soar, thousands of people die from starvation, most of them children, and thousands more pick up and move. Every few decades, the cycle repeats. And it would be easy to throw up our hands and blame it all on forces beyond our control, but this cycle is not inevitable. Though food shortages may be triggered by drought, they are not caused by drought, but rather by weak or nonexistent agricultural systems that fail to produce enough food or market opportunities in good times and break down completely in the bad times.’  Were the words U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pronounced in her address on 11 August at IFPRI ‘From Famine to Food Security’

“And while some might say that this is a conversation for another time, that we should worry about preventing food crises only after this one has passed, I respectfully disagree. Right now, when the effects of food security are the most extreme, we must rededicate ourselves to breaking this cycle of food shortages, suffering, and dislocation that we see playing out once again in the Horn of Africa”

This is the same sense of urgency we feel at the CGIAR. We need to act now, to avoid future crises not only to cure the current problems.

I said it before, and IFPRI’s Director General, Shenggen Fan eloquently reiterated on his opening remark to Secretary Clinton’s address, while important research results are available  ‘we are deeply concerned about the slow transmission of research into policy actions on a local, national, and international scale. IFPRI and its partner research centers within the CGIAR can provide the evidence needed to guide sound policies and build strong programs in the Horn of Africa’.

Mrs Clinton confirmed that ‘We do have the know-how. We have the tools. We have the resources. And increasingly, we have the will to make chronic food shortages and under nutrition a memory for the millions worldwide who are now vulnerable’ and  ‘ We need that commitment to long term solutions and we need to develop it together’

We are converting that sense of urgency into action by convening an event in Nairobi on September 1st to increase the understanding and awareness of the underlying causes of the current crisis, to highlight solutions, innovations and recommendations for mitigating the effects of future extreme weather events. Details on the event will be available soon.

With partners from the region we will be exploring how to turn that evidence into policy and action. Together we can break that vicious cycle Secretary Clinton was referring to in her address, so that nobody will go to bed hungry anymore, anywhere in the world.

You can watch recording of this special event at http://www.ifpri.org/event/famine-food-security-meeting-challenge-horn-africa

Lloyd LePage