New analysis published today by ONE has found that 50 million people could be locked in extreme poverty and 15 million children could remain chronically malnourished unless world leaders take urgent action to break the cycle of poverty and hunger.
These new findings have been released to mark the launch of Thrive, ONE’s ambitious new campaign that calls on each of us to play our part to break the cycle of hunger and poverty by tackling their root causes.
More than a billion people – one in five of the world’s population – live on less than $1.25 a day. This year, 178 million young children, more than 10 times the number of children in the UK, will be stunted due to malnutrition. Their brains and bodies will never recover.
Campaigners in the UK, France, Germany and the USA will mark the launch of Thrive by staging “seed sowing” events at famous landmarks that highlight the need for investment in agriculture.
British athlete Mo Farah, who last year set up the Mo Farah Foundation to help people suffering from the food crisis in his homeland of Somalia, is one of the many people sowing a seed to mark the launch of Thrive. He said:
“It is a tragedy that so many millions of people across the world do not have enough food to eat. In places like Somalia, where I was born, many people are facing a desperate situation following severe droughts. As well as providing immediate help for those struggling to survive, the international community should invest in long-term solutions like water wells, crop storage, and support for farmers.
“I am pleased to be working with ONE to remind world leaders that famine and hunger in the 21st century is an obscenity.”
ONE and its supporters are calling on African leaders, donor governments and the private sector to focus on 30 of the poorest countries that already have smart agriculture and nutrition plans that are tested and affordable. Investing in these plans will help smallholder farmers produce more food, generate bigger incomes and pull themselves out of poverty. They will also give children a better chance to survive and thrive. Focussing on these 30 plans will pave the way for similar progress in other countries.
However, ONE's analysis highlights a significant funding gap, as just 50% of the total funds required to implement the agriculture investment plans has been identified. This leaves a gap of around $27 billion that needs to be filled between now and 2015.
Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director of ONE, said:
“Real and sustained investment in small-scale farming, together with a focus on ensuring children have enough nourishing food to eat, will have a huge impact on the lives of millions of people. This campaign is the beginning of a determined fight to help them to pull themselves out of poverty and get them on a path to prosperity.
“2012 presents a fantastic opportunity to address these problems, and kick-start a final push towards the Millennium Development Goals deadline in 2015. We have one thousand days left before 2015. Let’s make every single one count.
“This isn’t just another campaign. It’s time for a new ambition, a new optimism, a new determination. We don’t want people simply to survive. We want them to thrive.”
ONE is asking governments to agree a new compact on food security and nutrition in 2012, which should include:
A new initiative at G8 level to build on the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative that is results-driven, and that includes clear goals to lift 50 million people out of poverty and save 15 million children from stunting through investment in country-owned plans in 30 low-income countries;
A renewal of the commitment made by African governments in 2003 to invest 10% of their national budgets in agriculture and rural development, while setting out new and improved goals with greater transparency and accountability;
A new push to galvanise private sector investment in agriculture; and
Measures to tackle volatility in global food markets, which have a disproportionate impact on the world’s poorest people.
Speaking at a ONE event to highlight the importance of agriculture in Dar es Salaam last month, President Kikwete of Tanzania said:
“While agriculture employs at least 70% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, its potential is underutilized. Agricultural investment is no longer an option but a priority that calls for more resources to boost food productivity, to end hunger and generate more income through exports.”
Notes to editors:
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organisation backed by more than 2.6 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.
Images of Mo Farah planting seeds with his wife Tania and daughter Rihanna are available on request from ONE.
ONE decided to launch a major campaign on agriculture and nutrition after wide consultation with African opinion formers and civil society who said these issues are of high importance.
ONE’s report, Food. Farming. Future. Breaking the cycle of malnutrition and poverty is available to download here.
The report identifies 30 low-income countries that already have internationally endorsed agriculture investment plans. Together, these countries are home to around 26% of the world's 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty, and 90% of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa. If fully-funded, these plans could lift an estimated 50 million people out of poverty within the coming decade. Of these 30 countries, 18 are also aligned with the UN's Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement which aims to support national plans to substantially reduce undernutrition. The plans are ready to be implemented by governments, but need support and additional resources. The 18 SUN countries are home to 24% of the world's stunted children. With sufficient resources to deliver the plans, alongside investment in agriculture, ONE estimates that 100 million young children could be less malnourished, and 15 million children under 5 could be saved from stunting.