In July, Ambassador Susan Rice wrote about the historic passage of the Global Food Security Act, a bipartisan bill that reaffirms the United States’ commitment to ending global hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. This legislation sent a clear message that the United States is committed to empowering smallholder producers, especially women, improving nutrition, and strengthening communities and economies through inclusive and sustainable agricultural development. It also reinforces the U.S. Government’s successful approach to increasing global food security and nutrition through the President’s Feed the Future initiative.
I am pleased to report that we have taken the next step with the release of the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy. The eleven Feed the Future partner agencies and departments worked together to develop this whole-of-government strategy, required by the Global Food Security Act. This strategy will enhance and continue our efforts to facilitate effective, evidence-based, multi-stakeholder development and help countries achieve lasting progress in food security and nutrition in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The strategy elevates the goal of reducing hunger alongside poverty and malnutrition and intensifies our focus on reducing risk and building resilience within vulnerable communities.
We continue to learn and grow from our experience. The strategy builds on lessons learned from Feed the Future and reflects changes in the global context since Feed the Future’s launch in 2009. The strategy highlights several key trends that will influence global food security work in coming decades, including increasing urbanization around the world, the profound impacts of changing climate on food security and natural resources, and the growing need to tackle hunger and malnutrition in regions experiencing instability and conflict.
The Global Food Security Strategy also places greater emphasis on a holistic approach that improves agriculture and food systems to increase agriculture-led growth, strengthen resilience, and boost nutrition. Sustainable progress requires this type of integrated approach to empower smallholder food producers, entrepreneurs, and innovators around the world determined to create a better future for their families and communities.
One of these entrepreneurs is Marion Moon. Feed the Future helped her take an idea and passion for helping others and turn that into a thriving agribusiness that she is scaling up in Kenya, with plans to expand to other countries in Africa. Her business, which provides affordable bio-organic fertilizer to rural farmers, is helping smallholder farmers get the tools they need to grow more, sell more, and make more.
With a little help from the United States through Feed the Future, people like Marion are making a difference in the lives of millions in their communities and countries. This adds up to significant impact. New data published by Feed the Future this past week show that poverty and child stunting – a measure of malnutrition – are dropping in areas where Feed the Future focuses efforts.
The recent enactment of the Global Food Security Act and the new U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy help ensure progress like this continues for years to come as we work to build a food-secure future together. It is exciting and promising to see such strong momentum on and commitment to ending hunger, poverty, and undernutrition.
As President Obama said at the White House Global Development Summit in July, “No society can flourish, children can't flourish if they’re going hungry.” After sharing more of the progress we have made in advancing food security at the Summit, he concluded his remarks by boldly stating, “Let’s make hunger history.”
The end of hunger, extreme poverty, and undernutrition is within our grasp. We can’t stop now. We must continue to work with the food producers, entrepreneurs, and innovators around the world who are working hard to lift themselves out poverty.
Learn more about how the U.S. Government is contributing to progress in global food security in this interactive report.
Mary Beth Goodman is the Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council