Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant Will Fund the Three-Year Initiative
December 23, 2010 – The Chicago Council on Global Affairs today announced it has received a $2.25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant enables the Council to expand its Global Agricultural Development Initiative which supports a renewed U.S. focus on agricultural development as a means to increase food security, alleviate global poverty and spur economic development. The Initiative provides support, technical assistance and innovation towards the formulation and implementation of U.S. global agricultural development policies and offers external evaluation and accountability for U.S. progress on its policy commitments.
Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the UN World Food Program, and Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, serve as co-chairs of the project. An Advisory Group comprised of 18 members of national and international stature drawn from government, business, civic, academic and NGO circles will provide leadership, strategic oversight and guidance for all project activities. Please see below for a list of advisory group members.
The college football bowl season, which begins this weekend, celebrates food and eating almost as much as it celebrates gridiron excellence. Just consider how many of this season’s bowls – Bowls! The very word comes straight from the kitchen -- are sponsored by food companies or named after food:
Four are sponsored by restaurants: the Little Caesars, Chick-fil-A and Outback Bowls, and, the newest addition to this category, the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl.
Two are sponsored by a popular snack food: the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game. (Also, what’s a Fiesta without food?)
Two are named after foods: the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.
Three are played in foodie-sounding stadiums: the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando hosts the Champs Sports and Capital One Bowls, and the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s pigskin extravaganza is played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. (A most fortuitous pairing: juice to wash down the beef.)
All this football mania is topped off, of course, by the national tailgating ritual and professional football championship known as the Super Bowl. That title conjures up images of a really, really big bowl of food, appropriate for a country that has long fancied itself as the world’s breadbasket.
But wait! This season, at long last, there’s a bowl game sponsored by a food company that will benefit those without enough to eat: the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It will be played in San Francisco on Jan. 9 and feature Nevada vs Boston College.
“We’re the only game directly connected to a social cause,” says Doug Kelly of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Committee. (The uDrove Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, is connected to the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.)
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security created these video photoessays – one interviewing Colombian coffee growers, another Ghanaian farmers – to document how a 2-degree rise in temperature has already hurt some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The videos show how rising temperatures have damaged crops, led to increased pests and disease, and ultimately forced farmers to switch to less profitable crops – or even abandon their land entirely.
By Christopher B. Barrett, Elizabeth R. Bageant and Erin C. Lentz
The Washington Post
Piracy is not the only robbery on the high seas. A 56-year-old policy known as cargo preference is costing U.S. taxpayers an estimated $140 million each year for humanitarian food shipments and is affecting millions of aid recipients worldwide. It is time to update this well-intentioned but ineffective policy.
The budget-cutting has begun, and governments around the world are paying attention to the sharp-knives in Congress. So when the House of Representatives released a draft Continuing Resolution this week with only $100 million in fiscal year 2011 allocated to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) – a severe reduction from President Obama’s request for $408 million – a host of humanitarian organizations were quick to pen a letter to the White House sounding a stern warning about the consequences of the cut:
“The US was an original donor to the GAFSP, and failing to fulfill our commitments to the GAFSP will be very damaging. Canada, a country with significantly smaller economy than ours, has already delivered nearly $180 million to the GAFSP. Without a strong financial contribution from the United States, we are worried that the GAFSP may lose the support of several potential new donors who are actively considering contributing to the Trust Fund, but are watching the level of US contribution very closely before finalizing their decision. Critical projects to reduce hunger, invest in nutrition, and increase food security in several countries will go unfunded. And momentum towards meeting the important pledges President Obama made at the G-8 Summit in 2009 will be lost.”
The fear is that foreign aid budget cuts in the U.S. will be replicated elsewhere. It will be easy for other countries to abandon their pledges if the U.S. doesn’t fulfill its commitments. Particularly on the hunger front, where America has been leading. If the leader pulls back, why should other countries (also facing budget pressures) push forward? If this happens, GAFSP will be gasping for air.
The letter was sent to President Obama himself, imploring him to keep up the offensive.
Ambassador William J. Garvelink is Assistant to the Administrator, USAID Bureau for Food Security and U.S. Government Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Development
Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today about a ground-breaking development initiative that is working with smallholder farmers and leveraging the private sector to strengthen markets.
Feed the Future, a presidential initiative designed to reverse global hunger trends, is a whole-of-government approach aligning U.S. resources with country-owned strategic plans to transform agricultural development and, ultimately, spur economic growth. It is part of a collaborative global movement to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
Feed the Future aims to significantly reduce poverty and improve nutrition by harnessing the power of agriculture to increase the incomes of poor rural people, expanding opportunities for smallholder farmers and rural businesses throughout the value chain, and increasing the productivity and quality of food that poor people eat.
As we all know, getting food to markets is an essential part of our task.
The Global Food for Thought blog, twitter feed, and facebook wall, provide updated information, commentary, and analysis on breaking developments on international agriculture, food, and related issues.
The Chicago Council and the Global Agricultural Development Initiative do not endorse the opinions expressed in this blog, twitter, and facebook but merely provide a forum for this information, commentary, and debate.
Sung serves as the editor of The Chicago Council's Global Food for Thought Blog.
The Chicago Council takes no institutional position on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion on the blog are the sole responsibility of the individual commentator, author, or media source. They may not reflect the views of the Initiative cochairs or funders.