Zero Hunger announcements bring hope, but is it just window dressing?
CONTACT: (In Brazil) Glauce Arzua, Glauce.Arzua@actionaid.org or 55 21 2189-4626 | 55 21 9401 9787
(In Brazil) Stefania Donaera, Stefania.email@example.com or +55 21 76413526
(In London) Natalie Curtis, Natalie.firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 203 122 0641
UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon announced a “Zero Hunger Challenge” today at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The initiative announces ambitious objectives, including access to adequate food for all, a focus on maternal and early childhood nutrition, the sustainability of the global food system, a doubling of the income and productivity of smallholder farmers, and the complete elimination of food waste.
The initiative does not clarify how such measures might be achieved with so little commitment shown by rich countries in the Rio+20 negotiations.
“The good thing about the Zero Hunger Challenge is that it sets out an ambitious agenda,” said Sameer Dossani of ActionAid International. “Ambition and urgency are exactly what the world needs right now with nearly a billion people living in hunger and no powerful governments taking a stand for meaningful solutions. The Rio summit outcome document seems unlikely to include any commitments to action on hunger - proof that countries are not taking these problems seriously. You can’t have zero hunger with zero money.”
Dossani also pointed out that though the UNSG’s announcement included ambitious goals, it did not include recommendations on how to achieve those goals. “Leaders need to take action. There are solutions on the table that would cost very little such as ending subsidies and mandates for biofuels. There are also mechanisms for generating finance through for example a financial transaction tax or taxes on shipping, aviation and other polluting sectors. But so far governments have refused to put forward these proposals and prefer instead to sit on their hands while the world burns."
Governments should support and promote the kind of growth that is environmentally sustainable and that redistributes income. Brazil is one country where many of these policies – when implemented and well funded – achieved remarkable success.
“Brazil could take 30 million people out of hunger only when it was willing to go beyond rhetoric. Policies like cash transfers and support for family farming were key. Above all, Brazil was willing to ‘walk the talk’ by putting money behind its ambitions,” said Adriano Campolina of ActionAid Brazil.
ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency working in 50 countries, taking sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together. Together with more than 2,000 civil society partner organizations worldwide, ActionAid works with and supports the poorest and most vulnerable people to fight for and gain their rights to food, shelter, work, basic healthcare and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. View the website at www.actionaid.org