U.S. leaders host summit for African food security
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2014-During the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington this week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Rockefeller Foundation announced a $100 million Global Resilience Partnership to address poverty, food insecurity, and climate shocks through public-private partnerships.
"Disasters and shocks pose an unparalleled threat to the world's most vulnerable communities and hamstring the global humanitarian response," said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. "This new bold partnership will help the global community pivot from being reactive in the wake of disaster to driving evidence-based investments that enable cities, communities, and households to better manage and adapt to inevitable shocks.”"
The Global Resilience Partnership will focus on the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, areas particularly susceptible to chronic stresses and extreme shocks. In the Horn and Sahel, 23 million people were affected by food insecurity due to drought in 2011 and 2012. By 2025 in South and Southeast Asia, over 400 million people are expected to be vulnerable to flooding.
"The Global Resilience Partnership will help communities and individuals capitalize on the resilience dividend-the difference between where a region is after a shock where resilience investments have been made, compared to where the region would be if it hadn't invested in resilience," said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. "We can't always prevent shocks and stresses, but we can better prepare for them."
The partnership will launch a competitive Resilience Challenge, seeking solutions to the toughest challenges facing the three regions. The Challenge will launch later this year and be open to non-profits, academic institutions, and the private sector, with a focus on local and regional players.
Agricultural leaders participated in the U.S.-Africa Summit this week, particularly to highlight involvement in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Part of the Feed the Future initiative, the alliance is a designed to bring together the private sector, donors and the investment community to drive sustainable agriculture in Africa and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022.
DuPont President Jim Borel commented on his company's participation in the alliance. He said it makes good business sense to invest in research and partnerships that will provide economic and social sustainability, as well as resiliency to climate change.
DuPont has set food security goals for 2020, including committing $10 billion to R&D and introducing 4,000 new products focused on producing more food and reducing waste. Achieving these goals includes embracing smallholder farmers in Africa as “change agents,” he said.
Also during the summit, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed the three goals USDA is focused on through the alliance, including advancing sustainable agricultural practices, building greater resiliency in agriculture, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to agriculture.
He said sharing data with other countries is vital to achieving these goals. Last year at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture, Vilsack announced the launch of the Food, Agriculture and Rural data community, which offers a catalog of over 300 data sets.
He said USDA can share research data on crop genomes, pest and disease control, as well as monitoring and addressing drought conditions.
“All that information is shared through extensions and fellowships,” Vilsack said. “The United States has a unique opportunity and a unique responsibility…the huge challenge of global food security can only be made through partnerships.”
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