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Published: 22 Sept. 2011
New York, NY, September 22, 2011 - Today, the anti-poverty advocacy group ONE announced a new multi-year campaign to address the famine in Somalia and the wider crisis in the Horn of Africa. The commitment announcement was made at a press conference at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York, which brings together global leaders to develop and implement workable solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.
Following the worst drought in 60 years, 30,000 children have died as a result of a growing famine in Somalia according to USAID, and more than 13 million people in the broader Horn of Africa are on the edge of survival (United Nations OCHA, September 2011). While the drought was not preventable, the famine is the result of a tragic combination of abnormally high food prices, inadequate governance in Somalia, and a historic lack of investment in long-term agricultural development in the Horn.
ONE's new global campaign, "Drought is Inevitable. Famine is Not," will feature grassroots organizing, social media tactics, innovative marketing products, and top-level political lobbying to greatly increase awareness of the crisis and effectively press G8, G20, and African governments to: 1) immediately meet their share of the $1 billion gap in emergency funding; and 2) invest in long-term agriculture development programs that will boost farm productivity and better prepare farmers in poor countries to withstand natural shocks, such as droughts. In the coming weeks, ONE will roll out several components of this multi-faceted campaign, including a provocative new PSA and new educational resources on www.ONE.org.
"The tragedy unfolding in the Horn of Africa deserves an urgent, global response, but world leaders are falling short of expectations," said Michael Elliott, president and CEO of ONE. "That's why ONE is making a commitment to a multi-year campaign that will spark a more urgent global response to the immediate needs in the region, while also building support for longer-term strategies that will help end the cycle of famine once and for all."
ONE also announced today that a group of prominent African artists, musicians, and business people have called on world leaders to take urgent action to prevent further suffering and loss of life in the Horn of Africa, ahead of a crucial UN summit in New York this Saturday. The group, which includes Youssou N'Dour, Nameless, Angelique Kidjo, 2Face Idibia, Oliver Mtukudzi, K'naan, and Bono have also urged African and other world leaders to keep their promises to invest in long-term agriculture projects and measures to improve food security.
According to ONE's recent report on Agriculture Accountability (July 2011), G8 and G20 leaders have only delivered on one fifth of the $22 billion they promised for investments in agriculture development at the 2009 L'Aquila Summit. This is with just a year to go to the deadline. The report also found that not only are countries neglecting their financial commitments, they are not demonstrating the political will needed to prevent future food crises.
ONE and its more than 2.5 million members played an important role in persuading governments to make those commitments at L'Aquila in 2009, and now ONE will step up pressure on those governments to make good on what they promised -- both immediately, and in the long term.
ONE is an advocacy organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Backed by more than 2.5 million members, we work with government leaders in both parties to support proven, cost-effective solutions to save lives and build sustainable futures.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.
This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.