Lawmakers school anti-hunger groups on politics of foreign aid

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Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), a member of the Agriculture Committee and co-chairman of the House Hunger Caucus, said nonprofits should keep the pressure on lawmakers to fund food safety programs and remind them that the nation's security also depends on helping those in need.

“When people like us, guess what, they don't want to hurt us. What a radical idea,” he said. “This is not just a bunch of bleeding hearts wanting to solve this terrible scourge of hunger. This is hard-headed pragmatism.”

Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Kingston's Democratic counterpart on the agricultural appropriations panel, also urged advocates to make the case that food security serves the Department of Defense's purposes.

"That's where all the money is in Washington," he said.

The roadmap is an update of an earlier effort to map out a U.S. strategy for increased global food security in the wake of the global food price hikes of 2008-2009, which caused riots in almost 40 countries around the world. The Obama administration followed a number of its recommendations and made progress on emergency, safety net, nutrition and agricultural development programs, according to the nonprofits involved, but some 925 million people still suffer from chronic hunger.

The new roadmap recommends that the United States invest $5 billion a year in those four areas, and calls for the appointment of a Global Food Security Coordinator responsible for overseeing a government-wide global food security strategy.

The roadmap's six recommendations are below: 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

To continue to build upon this dramatic progress in US programs to address global hunger and malnutrition:

1. The US should invest $5 billion annually in emergency, safety net, nutrition and agricultural development programs. This investment constitutes just over one tenth of one percent of the US budget, yet would support increased food security for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

2. The US should ensure coordination and integration of food security programs by appointing a Global Food Security Coordinator responsible for overseeing development and implementation of the government-wide global food security strategy, with corresponding budget authority over all global food security programs.

3. The US should increase support for programs that build resilience to shocks by making dedicated Development Assistance (DA) funding available to be jointly programmed by USG staff (including staff of all relevant USAID Bureaus, USDA, and other operational agencies) in countries at high risk of suffering crises.

4. The US should support effective safety net programs and build the capacity of host governments to develop and deploy their own national safety net systems.

5. The US should strengthen and institutionalize the focus on nutrition across all programs by establishing a high-level focal point for global nutrition as required of all SUN movement countries, defining the nutrition budget across initiatives and accounts, and developing a global nutrition strategy.

6. The US should strengthen country-led development planning processes by increasing engagement of stakeholders, assisting governments in overcoming legal and policy constraints, and making criteria for selection of the countries and regions targeted more clear and transparent.