Transformative change to end hunger in our world

2nd February, 2013 11:00 am

The launch of the ‘Enough Food IF’ Campaign to eradicate hunger worldwide is an important reminder that even the most basic of necessities remain out of the reach of many.

In a world where there is enough food to feed each and every one of us it is deplorable that  one in eight people go to bed hungry each night and over two million children a year die from malnutrition.

The campaign’s call for the government to show global leadership and generate action to eradicate global hunger has my wholehearted support. Hunger is a powerful lens which illuminates uncomfortable truths about the continued inequalities in our global society. This was a point made painfully clear in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis when those with the least lost the most.

It is vitally important to increase public engagement, raise awareness about the factors that contribute to food insecurity and increase pressure on the government to make progress.

In the past food crisis after food crisis has been reported in the media and there is always another breaking news story waiting to take its place. We have an opportunity to do better and we must seize it.

Last year I was personally involved in highlighting the food crisis in the Sahel which demonstrated the varied interventions needed to address the chronic problem of hunger; from short term disaster relief to long term investment. Four of the Sahel countries, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mali are in the bottom 15 of the Human Development Index and even in a good year, without exceptional weather or political unrest, Oxfam have reported that 300,000 children will die from malnutrition. Tackling child nutrition could add billions to the global economy as children are able to fulfil their potential. It makes sense morally to take action now but it makes economic sense as well.

What is particularly exciting about the ‘Enough Food IF’ campaign is its strong focus on the transformative change that is needed to end reliance on aid through long term improvements to transparency, building strong institutions and addressing the significant problem of tax accountability. Alongside this the campaign’s call for more effective interventions to support small-scale farmers, improvements in land governance and adequate finance for climate adaptation highlights the key issues which can make a difference.

As part of the Millennium Development Goals we promised to halve hunger by 2015. Improvements have been made. The Proportion of those hungry in Ethiopia fell from nearly two thirds to under half. Yet the truth is that we have little chance of achieving this target.  I am pleased to see that the campaign asks for the government to make good on its broken promise to legislate its commitment to spend 0.7 percent of GNI on development and it is vital that this finance is spent on interventions to prevent hunger.

The UK must use its role as chair of the G8 and co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on a post 2015 framework to lead the global response to hunger. We need lasting transformative change to make the world a more transparent and a more accountable place. This campaign tackles the issues at the heart of the problem and calls on the UK to lead the world in much needed action. A world without hunger is a world in which everyone has a more equal chance of success and survival.

Tony Cunningham is a Shadow International Development Minister. This post is part of International Development weekend on LabourList – you can join the debate on these issues at YourBritain


  • Featured News Osborne announces major u-turns on tax credits and police cuts

    Osborne announces major u-turns on tax credits and police cuts

    George Osborne today caved into pressure from Labour and announced u-turns on both tax credits cuts and cuts to police budgets. Both issues have been major attack lines for Labour in recent months. Labour peers voted for motion on tax credits in the House of Lords last month, defeating the Government, and forcing Osborne into a rethink. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said on a number of occasions that if the Tories committed to a full reversal of the policy, then Labour would […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Tories accused of playing political games over Syria as Labour splits denied

    Tories accused of playing political games over Syria as Labour splits denied

    Labour insiders are fuming at the accusations that there is a split between Jeremy Corbyn and Hilary Benn over Syria. Reports this morning suggested that the leader’s office had failed to inform Shadow Foreign Secretary Benn that he was invited to a Downing St security briefing on Syria. Both Corbyn and Benn’s team deny a breakdown in communication, and sources claim that it has come from the Tories’ playing political games with the issue. They say that the email inviting Corbyn […]

    Read more →
  • Comment PMQs Verdict: Punchy performance from Corbyn on comfortable ground

    PMQs Verdict: Punchy performance from Corbyn on comfortable ground

    PMQs are difficult for an Opposition leader at the best of times; before an economic set-piece statement, they must be nigh on impossible. You’re going up against the Prime Minister blind, knowing the person across the despatch box knows every detail of what is about to be announced, and that anything you do will be overshadowed by what follows. Jeremy Corbyn approached today’s debate with six fairly specific questions: four on climate change and renewables, and two on domestic violence […]

    Read more →
  • News John Healey slams Osborne’s housebuilding bluster

    John Healey slams Osborne’s housebuilding bluster

    George Osborne is receiving praise in the press this morning for his expected pledge to invest in housebuilding during the Autumn Statement today. However, the 400,000 subsidised homes he is expected to pledge be built by 2020 comes after Housing minister Brandon Lewis said a million would be built back in September. Ahead of Osborne’s address to the Commons this afternoon, Labour have slammed the Tories’ “bluster”, and pointed out that David Cameron has presided over the worst peacetime record of […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured The griping and plots need to stop so we can get on with being an opposition

    The griping and plots need to stop so we can get on with being an opposition

    The Conservatives are having a great time. Today, in their Spending Review they’ll outline their budget plans, which will include monumentally savage cuts. Deeper cuts than in any other major economy. Meanwhile, the Labour party is embroiled in internal battles, the kind of which shows little sign of abating. But it needs to, and soon. Less than two weeks after Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory, talks of when and how to oust Labour’s newly elected leader made it into the papers. […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends