As aid agencies warn more than 9 million people could be affected by a food crisis in East Africa, a new report published today by anti-poverty group ONE shows that world leaders are failing to keep their 2009 promises to tackle the causes of chronic hunger and support farmers in the world's poorest countries.
On the two-year anniversary of the L'Aquila commitments, which saw leaders promise to invest $22 billion in agriculture development, ONE's report finds that donors have only delivered a fifth of the money promised with just one year to go until the deadline. As well as neglecting their financial commitments the report found countries are not demonstrating the political will needed to prevent future food crises.
The UK has allocated 30% of its pledged $1.7 billion.
Overall donors have met only 22% of the financial pledges made at L'Aquila in 2009.
Canada and Italy have delivered more than two-thirds of their pledges. France, the UK, Germany and the US need to substantial increase the funds they distribute in order to meet their commitments.
Donors are not taking on the challenges of ensuring effective agriculture aid is delivered with the political will and momentum needed to tackle poverty and chronic hunger.
Jamie Drummond, Executive Director of ONE, said:
"World leaders are guilty of letting slide their promises to fight the root causes of hunger, in particular very low agricultural productivity in regions like sub-Saharan Africa. We should not need a food crisis to wake us up to the need to not just give food aid now, but also deliver on the promised partnership with African leaders, citizens and the private sector to boost yields across the region.
"Fortunately with food security on the agenda of the G20 later this year there is a real opportunity for a new partnership to turn this around. With the right support Africans can both feed themselves and export to the world, helping them fight hunger and poverty and helping us all with lower food prices. Delivering the L'Aquila promises and investing in food production is a win-win all round. "
The report shows the UK has only disbursed $0.5 billion of its pledge, with $1.2 billion not yet delivered. However the UK is the only donor reported to have taken concrete steps to improve the effectiveness of multilateral organisations involved in food security through its multilateral aid review published in March. This week the UK government pledged emergency food relief for 1.3 million people in Ethiopia in response to the current crisis.
Jamie Drummond said:
"The UK government deserves praise for its response to the current crisis and should now take the opportunity to meet its commitments to agriculture development. Prime Minster David Cameron and Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell are proving great leaders globally for smart development policies, and we are sure they will also lead on this issue. The same clear logic applies to agriculture investments, such as high yielding drought resistant seeds, as applies to health interventions such as vaccines."
Notes to Editor
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2.5 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org.
At the 2009 L'Aquila G8 Summit, the G8 and 5 other donors committed to provide $22 billion in financing for agriculture and food security, of which $6 billion was new money. They promised to: (1) deliver the funds within 3 years; (2) agree to a set of principles to guide how they would spend this money; and (3) remain transparent and accountable to their commitments. Twenty-seven countries and 15 international organisations signed a joint statement of commitment, bringing into existence the Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI).
The World Food Programme estimates 9 million people now require humanitarian assistance across Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and parts of Uganda. It has launched an emergency appeal with the aim to feed more than 6 million people. See statement by Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
The US Government has calculated that 40 million poor farming families across the world, most of them living on less than $2 per day, would be able to increase their incomes by 250% if the L'Aquila commitments are met.
For more information please contact Katie Martin - 020 7434 7553 / 07500 797 599 / firstname.lastname@example.org