By Sung Lee
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on Appropriations. The State Dept. and USAID budget request totals $51.6 billion, or less than 1 percent of the federal budget. Dr. Shah said that the USAID is: 1) invest in innovative scientific research and new technologies; 2) conduct evaluations of the effectiveness of the agency’s development efforts; 3) partner more effectively with faith-based organizations and private companies; and 4) seek innovative ways to work directly with host country partners. By investing a small fraction of the US national budget, the US can “help millions of people break out of the ranks of the hungry and impoverished and improve the nutrition of millions of children,” he said. Administrator Shah’s testimony is available here.
Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
Getting more out of food aid, Opinion, Ellen Levinson, The Hill, March 7
Congress enacted the “development safebox,” allocating a portion of Title II funds each year for programs that combine food aid with development projects in areas where hunger is a persistent problem. Similarly, a stronger results-based management system was established for the Food for Progress Program. It uses public-private partnerships and value chains to improve agricultural systems in developing countries that are implementing market-oriented policies.
Spike in food prices projected by 2013, New York Times, March 7
n 2008 and in 2011, the world was rocked by riots and by revolutions coinciding with spikes in food prices. Now researchers are projecting that by 2013, food prices will soar to unparalleled heights, causing widespread hunger in the most vulnerable populations and social unrest, with an enormous potential for loss of human life.
Interview with Catherine Bertini - Rural teen girls key to global development, Trust Law, March 6
How do you persuade a teenager's parents who can't afford to put enough food on the table to let her attend school in a poor rural village where most girls her age work unpaid at home or in the fields? The answer to this question is of vital importance to the developing world's 283 million rural adolescent girls. Many of them live in poverty, bear heavy work burdens including farming, have limited access to healthcare, marry early – and don't finish school for those reasons.
Dire poverty falls despite global slump, report finds, New York Times, March 6
The report shows that for the first time the proportion of people living in extreme poverty — on less than $1.25 a day — fell in every developing region from 2005 to 2008. And the biggest recession since the Great Depression seems not to have thrown that trend off course, preliminary data from 2010 indicate. The progress is so drastic that the world has met the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme poverty in half five years before its 2015 deadline.