More overseas development aid required to eradicate hunger

The Food Summit’s ended, and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf is disappointed that targets and deadlines haven’t been set. There are some important results, though; and more of that later.

Diouf also features in this affecting petition (1 billion hungry) but it’s got the same production values as other celebrity-endorsed videos, and I’m left feeling both horrified and stunned at the same time.

Another online petition is at eradicatehunger.org, and this one is rougher round the edges, not as visceral yet provides more calls to action. It has good points:

4. Sustainable food provision
There should be a shift from high input industrial agriculture and livestock production and industrial fisheries towards smaller-scale ecological food provision that secures local livelihoods and strengthens organisations and communities.

It also demands that “Aid donors must immediately fulfil their commitments to pay at least 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) in development assistance”.

That demand for ODA (Overseas Development Aid) doesn’t get into the Final declaration of 2009 World Food Summit but there are targets and timescales in paragraph 37:

0.7 percent of gross national product (GNP) for ODA to developing countries by 2015 and to reach the level of at least 0.5 percent of GNP for ODA by 2010

Here in the UK, the government currently spends 0.43% of GNI on aid and is committed to increasing this to 0.7% by 2013. These figures are from SN/EP/3714: UK development aid: the 0.7% of GNI target and DFID expenditure, updated on 1 May 2009. It’s good to see that this commitment has got into the Queen’s speech today.

I guess my take-home message is that this legislation is important and that the FAO intermediate targets should be included. Write to your MP to demand it!

As a coda, the only UK drafter of the Eradicate Hunger petition was Patrick Mulvany of Practical Action.

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