After many years of hard work, phone calls, emails, and shoe leather, the Global Food Security Act has finally passed its final vote in the House and will soon speed towards the President’s desk to be enacted into law, which would provide the necessary support and resources for farmers in developing countries to grow themselves out of poverty.
This enormous milestone has not come easy. But, thanks to the immediate and sometimes last-minute actions of our stalwart ONE members, the 2,883 calls, 15,867 letters, and in-person meetings finally paid off and put us over the top. Thanks to you, the GFSA will soon help lift millions of people who would otherwise continue to suffer from the ravages of extreme poverty.
GFSA provides the tools needed to end global hunger and malnutrition in our lifetime. Specifically, the GFSA calls for the development and implementation of a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to combat hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. The strategy will focus on increasing sustainable agricultural development, reducing global hunger, and improving nutrition through such agricultural development programs like the Feed the Future Initiative. The legislation promotes country ownership and accountability, including improving monitoring and evaluation practices that would ensure U.S. taxpayer investments are implemented transparently, efficiently, and effectively.
In addition, this legislation authorizes the continued use of the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account to respond to natural and man-made emergencies across the globe. IDA is used to provide emergency food, clean water, and health and sanitation needs. This program is most notably addressing the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria.
Also included in the bill are new standards for accountability and transparency in how our food security and disaster accounts are managed. For example, the bill requires the Office of Management and Budget to compile data from 11 different Federal agencies that handle food and disaster-related accounts into one easy-to-access and -read report. This improves the ability of Congress to properly oversee theses accounts to ensure that the money is being effectively used to help those in need. Even better, it requires these reports to be posted on a publicly accessible website, ForeignAssistance.gov.
The GFSA is revolutionary in that it provides a model for the future of how we do US foreign assistance. Dwindling resources for foreign assistance requires better oversight and better use of the funds that go towards fighting poverty. While the act only addresses food security programs, it ensures that they will continue to be effective for a long time and thereby continue to help those who are most in need. ONE members should be proud of the work they have done to enact this new law!