ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — As populations around the globe, especially in impoverished countries, continue to rise, global leaders will continue to face issues of food insecurity and malnutrition. Today, 870 million people are experiencing constant food insecurity. Due to chronic malnutrition, researchers suggest that up to 25 percent of the world’s children are stunted physically and cognitively.
To battle this issue, the United States has dedicated nearly $1 billion of the International Affairs Budget towards the Feed the Future initiative. Although this contributes agricultural solutions and feeds families around the world, it is simply not enough. If the U.S. wants to continue to be a world leader and shape foreign relations, it may have to use its enormous wealth for humanitarian programs.
This is why representatives Betty McCollum (D-MN), Aaron Schock (R-IL) and James McGovern (D-MA) have sponsored the Global Food Security Act of 2013, H.R. 2822. With 25 bipartisan co-sponsors, this legislation was introduced in July of 2013. The bill includes important findings relating to hunger and food insecurity:
- According to the March 2013 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, food insecurity is a worldwide threat: “Growing food insecurity in weakly governed countries could lead to political violence and provide opportunities for existing insurgent groups to capitalize on poor conditions, exploit international food aid and discredit governments for their inability to address basic needs.”
- Reducing maternal and child malnutrition, especially during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and the age of 2 years old, is critical to child survival, improving cognitive and physical development and strengthening the immune system to bolster resistance to disease.
- Agriculture development to increase the yield, biodiversity, and resilience of smallholder farmers is an efficient engine of sustainable economic growth, and benefits these farmers’ education, income and health.
The Global Food Security Act will create a position in the President’s administration to serve as the Special Coordinator for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture Development. The responsibilities of this role are to advise the President on global food security, nutrition security and agricultural development while ensuring the coordination of related U.S. programs.
The act will also designate the U.S. Agency for International Development as the lead agency in applying a comprehensive strategy to address issues related to hunger and food security.
H.R. 2822, the Global Food Security Act was referred to the House Foreign Affairs committee. You can help create awareness for this legislation by tweeting #GlobalFoodSecurityAct and contacting your Congressmen today. You can make your voice heard in less than 30 seconds by visiting our Action Page.