World leaders guilty of neglecting promises to fight hunger in poorest countries

farmerAs aid agencies warn more than 9 million people could be affected by a food crisis in East Africa, 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 new report ‘Agriculture Accountability‘ 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 report’s key findings include:

  • 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.

At the 2009 L’Aquila G8 Summit, the G8 and 5 other donors 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.

Yet two years on 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. The US Government has calculated for example 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. So delivering the L’Aquila promises and investing in food production is a win-win all round.

Find out more in the report Agriculture Accountability