ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

World Food Day should prompt restoral of Australian aid to Africa: ActionAid

16 OCTOBER 2015: World Food Day, an international day of action against hunger, should serve as a reminder to Malcolm Turnbull and his government that the African countries to which Australia cut aid earlier this year continue to struggle with significant food insecurity, global justice organisation ActionAid Australia said today.

Dr Sally Henderson, ActionAid Australia’s food and agriculture expert, said: 

“Each year, World Food Day serves as a moment for the international community to reflect on the state of global food security,and to take action to ensure that everybody, all over the world, has enough to eat and a balanced diet. 

“Earlier this year, the Australian government cut almost all aid to African countries, despite the fact that FAO has found that sub-Saharan Africa remains extremely poor, while East Asia, SouthAsiaand the Pacific have all reduced poverty substantially over the last few years. 

“At this stage in the game, the outlook for most sub-Saharan African countries is not good. Agriculture is the backbone of almost all African economies, and climate change is making it harder and harder for farmers in Africa to farm their land productively. This is having a significant impact on food security, particularly for those already living in poverty. 

“Australia has contributed significantly to climate change, and we are therefore largely at fault for food shortages already occurring and that will continue into the future. 

“We have a responsibility to ensure that those countries and community men and women that are bearing the burden of a changing climate are sufficiently supported. One of the important ways we must deliver that support is through a robust and effective aid program that ensures that people living in poverty are equipped to cope with the effects and adapt to climate change. 

“Women living in poverty – and particularly smallholder women farmers in Africa, who have been estimated to feed 2 billion of the world’s population - are the most significantly impacted by climate change. We cannot sit by while our country continues to act in a way that aggravates their situation by refusing to commit to effective emissions targets. And at the same time, cuts critical support that has, up till now, ensured that women farmers in Africa have access to their basic rights. 

“Australia’s aid program has been responsible for extremely effective work in a number of African countries, including Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. The cuts are leaving communities high and dry. 

“We’re calling on Prime Minister Turnbull and the Australian government to take the opportunity the upcomingMid YearEconomic Forecast and Outlook to review the decisions that were made in this year’s Federal Budget, and restore Australian Aid to Africa.”

ENDS  

Editors' notes

Further information or for interviews with Sally Henderson, contact:

ActionAid Australia:

Holly Miller (02) 9565 9100 or 0432 781 294 or holly.miller@actionaid.org

ActionAid Australia is petitioning the Australian government to take holistic and effective action on climate change here: www.actionaid.org/getserious

About ActionAid Australia – www.actionaid.org/australia

ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights for all and defeat poverty.