Sunday, July 19, 2009

Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa makes recommendation to U.S. government

After releasing a policy brief entitled, “From Commitment to Action: A Demand-Driven Approach to Improving Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa,” the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa held a discussion to explain their views on how best to address food security in Africa. Their policy brief focuses on the need for countries receiving aid to decide how best to distribute their funds. Currently, there are many aid programs spread across multiple departments of the U.S. government and the aid goes to diverse sources—from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to private businesses. The Partnership argues that a more centralized, demand-driven approach would be a more effective way to reduce hunger and poverty.

Here are the main arguments for how to accomplish this:
1. Shift the locus of decision-making to the developing countries and instill in US law the
“presumption” that recipients are responsible for setting their priorities for achieving food security and agricultural development.
2. Maximize funding and implementation flexibility through the creation of a “Food Security Fund.” A single fund would allow for faster action by not needing approval from multiple organizations.
3. Undertake intensive consultations aimed at developing multi-year “Food Security Compacts” with eligible countries and regions. Through each compact, the US government would provide necessary technology and aid to a country or region to implement their self-created food security plan.
4. Make food security assistance available to regional organizations, not just individual countries. By funding multinational organizations, food security plans that could benefit a whole region could receive funding.
5. Prioritize local capacity and institution building through the Food Security Compacts, and implement a results-oriented, learning approach. By providing aid to local institutions that are beneficial to food security, such as ministries of agriculture, countries can continue to develop greater food security.