Oxfam reaction to Hillary Clinton’s Speech at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, 6 May 2011
In response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Speech at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Eric Munoz, Policy Advisor for Oxfam said:
“Secretary Clinton has shown strong leadership in focusing world attention on the problems of hunger and malnutrition. But at a time when food prices hover near record heights enabling instability and unrest to sweep across the globe, the US and world governments are failing to meet their pledges to address food security.
“Just under two years ago at the 2009 G8 Summit in Italy, world leaders including President Obama pledged to provide $22 billion over three years to help deal with urgent threats that have pushed millions of people into hunger and poverty. Today, as Secretary Clinton addresses the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, governments including the US remain far behind in disbursing these desperately needed funds.
“Through her efforts to promote the needs of smallholder farmers, and women food producers in particular, Secretary Clinton has galvanized support for these critical issues. This support must be mobilized into concrete actions to deal with the underlying challenges of food security including the historic failure to invest in smallholder farmers, the need to find ways to help farmers adapt to climate change and needed reforms in commodity markets to ensure speculation does not contribute to higher food prices.
“The choice to speak before the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is an important reminder that the global fight against hunger requires action on many fronts and involves many important institutions, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) chief among them. The CFS plays a unique and essential role in improving global coordination of food security issues, strengthening efforts to address some of the most critical issues facing the global food and agriculture system including food price volatility, the impact of climate change on farming productivity, and providing much needed assistance to enable smallholder farmers to capitalize on their economic potential.
“Secretary Clinton’s remarks in Rome reflect the continuing need for globally coordinated action to meet the pledges made in 2009. In addition to bilateral efforts by the US to promote food security such as the Feed the Future initiative, the US must also support global institutions like the CFS. The CFS must be empowered to take on tough issues that remain politically sensitive but are critical for addressing the major emerging threats such as land grabs, biofuels incentives and trade policies that hurt the poor.”