Transformative change to end hunger in our world

February 2, 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

Latest

  • News The Choice on the NHS – read the full text of Andy Burnham’s speech

    The Choice on the NHS – read the full text of Andy Burnham’s speech

    When people look back, this could turn out to be no ordinary summer for the NHS. In just over two weeks, a group of mums from Darlington will set out from the North East, retracing the steps of the Jarrow marchers. The People’s March for the NHS aims to raise awareness about, in their words, “the Government’s assault on our most prized possession”. It remains to be seen whether it catches the public mood. But I think it might. There […]

    Read more →
  • News Damian McBride says Labour’s policies are a “great, steaming pile of fudge”

    Damian McBride says Labour’s policies are a “great, steaming pile of fudge”

    Just when you thought he’d mostly disappeared from the political scene, Damian McBride, Gordon Brown’s former special advisor who was forced to resign in disgrace over emails he’d sent smearing senior Conservatives, has piped up again. This time, he’s hit out against the Labour leaderships’ current strategy, calling their policies a “great, steaming pile of fudge”. McBride’s latest intervention comes from the new epilogue to his memoirs Power Trip, originally released during the Labour Party Conference last year, extracts of which […]

    Read more →
  • Featured The law alone won’t stop domestic violence – we need a culture change

    The law alone won’t stop domestic violence – we need a culture change

    There’s been little, if any, criticism following Yvette Cooper’s announcement yesterday that if elected next May Labour will properly address domestic violence. In many ways, there’s good reason for this. As it stands, the system doesn’t do enough to enable women who experience domestic violence to bring their attackers to justice. As Cooper explained, in the UK 2 women a week will die at the hands of their current or former male and 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Why we can’t do without All-Women Shortlists

    Why we can’t do without All-Women Shortlists

    The perennial issue of All Women Shortlists (AWS) has raised its head again, with Cynon Valley CLP extremely disgruntled about having an AWS imposed for its parliamentary selection after having already had a woman MP, Ann Clwyd, for well over two decades. Things seem to be escalating, with rumours of Ms Clwyd withdrawing her retirement and fighting the selection if it is an AWS, and CLP officers saying they will “go on strike” and not help administer the selection process.How […]

    Read more →
  • News Burnham: Stop the “forced privatisation” of the NHS and give the public a say

    Burnham: Stop the “forced privatisation” of the NHS and give the public a say

    Andy Burnham will make a speech in Manchester today, demanding that the agenda of privatisation within the NHS is stopped until the public are consulted. The latest in Labour’s summer series of speeches under the title The Choice, Burnham will spell out the difference between Labour’s approach to the health service and the Government’s current handling. He will say that NHS England should delay the signing of all contracts for clinical services with private contractors over the coming months, which would […]

    Read more →