CSIS: The One Year Anniversary of the Passage of the Global Food Security Act

CSIS: The One Year Anniversary of the Passage of the Global Food Security Act

7/21/17

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington, DC. The event was titled, The U.S. Global Food Security Strategy: Progress, Setbacks, and Forward Momentum. As an intern at CARE, I am already all too familiar with the global food insecurity plaguing our world’s poorest countries, and was excited to learn more about what major players in Washington had to say about the future of global food security.

 The event started off with opening remarks from two Congressional champions for global food security, former Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).  A bipartisan lineup, these opening remarks paved the path for the rest of the session, highlighting the cross-aisle coordination seen in support for this issue. On a personal note, this line-up was especially exciting for me as I’m a student at Senator Casey’s alma mater, Holy Cross!  The entire session was a celebration of one year since the passing of the Global Food Security Act of 2016, lauding its accomplishments and successes, all the while weary of the future given the Administration’s 31% proposed cuts to the International Affairs Budget, cuts which Senator Casey regarded as “risky, short-sighted, and wrong.”

 Senators Lugar and Casey echoed each other when they discussed the importance of America’s primacy in global food security, and how, in the words of Lugar, this leadership creates an “American competitive advantage.” The importance of food security, in the opinion of both senators, is evermore important with the looming four famines in South Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. These famines, as outlined by Senator Casey, are manmade, not natural. In his words, “conflict, corruption, and climate change” are the catalysts of these crises.  With proper food security, education, and programming, and international aid, these famines could become obsolete.

 In the panel, Dr. Robert Bertram of USAID echoed the opening remarks and underlined the successes of Feed the Future, and how, in countries where it operates, extreme poverty has fallen 19% and child stunting, a result of chronic malnutrition, has fallen almost 40%. Bertram remarked how food security “is so resonate because it brought agriculture and nutrition back together” adding how it added a “human face on development investments.” He claimed that how, s a country, we need to increase our resilience efforts for developing countries, and nip in the bud “shocks” before they come “crises.” Along the panel, we also heard from Lona Stoll of the Millennium Challenge Cooperation and Bruce Cameron of the Overseas Private Investment Corporations, or OPIC.  Both Stoll and Cameron heralded the economic benefits of investing in global food security, and the good work the Global Food Security Act of 2016 has done thus far.

 The ominous term of reauthorization echoed through the conference room, as all speakers and panelists alike emphasized the importance of sustained funding of this work.  Quoting JFK, Senator Casey reminded us that we are challenged to do more for our country, and in term, our greater world.  As Americans it is our “obligation to reduce food insecurity to bring about a safer world.”  America’s reputation is contingent on our support of developing communities across the world.  As advocates, we must uphold our obligation to the world’s poorest people, and push our Members of Congress to support bills such as the Global Food Security Act, and to protest major cuts to the International Affairs budget.

 -          Emily Sullivan, CARE Action Network Intern

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