Last week, I was in Cannes at the G20 summit. As you know, media coverage of the meeting was full of the eurozone and Greece, and you might be forgiven for thinking that’s all they discussed. But behind the headlines, something else really important happened. G20 leaders heard your voice, and the voices of more than 400,000 others who backed our Hungry No More campaign.
What’s more, they committed themselves to a number of the short and long-term agricultural solutions we’ve been pushing for to break the cycle of famine. With over 13 million people still in crisis in the Horn of Africa, I wanted to let you know what the G20 have pledged, how you helped achieve this, and what we need to do next.
In their final declaration, the G20 agreed that there is an urgent need to strengthen emergency and long-term responses to food insecurity and that responsible investment in long-term agricultural solutions in the poorest countries is “essential to promote food security and foster sustainable economic growth,” especially when focused on smallholder farmers.
They also pledged to reduce the dangerous impacts of food price volatility and improve the transparency of agricultural commodity markets. That could make a world of difference. Some of the poorest families have to spend as much as 80% of their household budgets on food, so sudden price rises mean real hardship.
More good news is that President Calderon of Mexico – the next Chair of the G20 – announced in Cannes that food security will be one of the G20’s major priorities in 2012. The G20 has made a good start on a framework to fight poverty through agriculture, and now is the time for countries to step up and turn it into reality.
As a ONE member, you are one of our strongest advocates, and we owe you a big thank you. This campaign was just 30 days long, and here’s a snapshot of what you helped achieve globally:
409,000 people signed our petition urging G20 leaders to act, and more than 700,000 viewed our ‘F-word’ TV ad on YouTube
In just one week in the UK, nearly 500 members searched for their Member of Parliament using our new toolkit, leading to a burst of tweets, personalised emails and meetings with MPs. A few members also represented ONE at Downing Street, and handed in our petition
ONE members in France joined our Paris team to project our campaign videos and a list of petition signers’ names onto the face of the historic Hôtel de Ville
In Germany, members’ tweets provoked a response from a Government spokesperson assuring that they considered agriculture, food prices and food security important at the G20
ONE members in the US handed in our petition on Capitol Hill, taking our message right to the heart of the US government.
But this isn’t the end of our Hungry No More campaign. Although we saw progress, the G20 still have a long way to go to make sure these promises are more than just warm words. We didn’t hear enough urgency or commitment to implementation, and the focus could too easily move away from this crucial issue.
Our job is to stop that from happening, and keep up the pressure. So when the smaller G8 meet in Chicago next year, and when the G20 gather again in Mexico, we will need your support to push for concrete results that make world leaders accountable to their commitments.
We’ll be in touch to let you know how you can help, but for now I simply wanted to say: thank you.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
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