The Human Impact

IF campaign to end hunger seems a bit iffy

By Maria Caspani

Techno music and revolving images of hungry babies were among the most disheartening, not to say disturbing aspects of the event that kicked off the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ campaign at London’s Somerset House this week.

The catchphrase – ‘There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, yet 2 million children die from malnutrition every year’ – was repeated so many times during the hour-long event on Wednesday evening that, by the end of it, I felt like the words had lost their meaning.

This might just be me cynically bantering about what I perceived to be the patronising attitude of people in the so-called Western world when they try hard to do good and put an end to the suffering of poor people in the so-called developing world.

But as a journalist for AlertNet, I have been to a few of these events and heard a lot of ‘calls to action’ made by aid agencies trying to engage a public that is often not that receptive when it comes to issues that don’t affect them personally.

The IF campaign was conceived with the very laudable intent of lobbying the UK government to act decisively to tackle the causes of hunger in the world’s poorest countries as Britain prepares to host the G8 summit this summer. It also calls on the governments of rich nations to keep their promises on aid and to ensure small farmers do not lose out from land deals and tax dodging.

Conway book urges united global action plan to end hunger

Global food security can be achieved for almost 1 billion chronically undernourished people by promoting strong political leadership, technological innovation, investment in smallholder farmers and efficient markets, according to a new book.

In “One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?”, author Gordon Conway, a professor of international development and director of advocacy group Agriculture for Impact at Imperial College London, emphasises the importance of reducing hunger and poverty by increasing food production within an environmentally sustainable framework, which  recognises climate change as a serious hindrance to future food security.

“Food price spikes, malnutrition and population growth, high costs of fertilizers and oil, degradation of land and water, and most importantly climate change must all be addressed,” Conway said at the launch of the book in London on Tuesday, where he said that policymakers need to tackle more than 20 issues to help solve the hunger problem.

Solutions for a hungry world

By 2050, experts say, the planet will need at least 70 percent more food than it does today as its population soars, cities sprawl and climate change takes its toll. Will it be possible?

That’s a question AlertNet put to hunger fighters worldwide for a special multimedia report out today probing the future of food. Their answer: The planet can feed itself – but only if two “revolutions” happen, and happen soon.

The first would involve sweeping changes to entrenched policies and practices that are, in the end, unsustainable. Policies such as spending trillions on agriculture and fuel subsidies. And practices such as eating so much meat and dairy.

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