For generations, the United States has been a leader in providing development assistance across the globe to alleviate suffering and build shared progress and prosperity. But global food price spikes and resulting instability in 2007 and 2008 were a wake-up call: More needed to be done to break the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty.
The answer: Unlock the potential of agriculture as the key to reducing hunger, extreme poverty and malnutrition through a movement that became Feed the Future.
In 2014, the U.S. Government and its partners have continued to build on Feed the Future's early success to drive real change on a large scale. Read on for highlights on how we're sustaining progress toward the goal of ending hunger in our lifetimes.
Feed the Future has pioneered a comprehensive approach to ending global hunger by driving a new model of development rooted in country leadership in the areas where we work. In 2014, the U.S. Government convened global leaders across multiple fora to mark successes and challenges to date in food security and reaffirm our commitment to fighting hunger and poverty while building resilience to crises.
The U.S. Government cannot end hunger alone. That's why Feed the Future draws on strong partnerships with other governments, donor organizations, civil society, the research community and the private sector to forge innovative solutions to some of the world's most urgent challenges in food and agriculture. 2014 saw the launch of critical new partnerships across all these sectors, setting the stage for greater collective impact in the years to come.
Since implementation began four years ago, Feed the Future and complementary efforts by our partners have attracted billions of dollars in investments to drive inclusive, agriculture-led economic growth. Those investments have translated into real results that are already changing the face of hunger and poverty for some of the world's poorest families.
The momentum to achieve Feed the Future's long-term vision — a world where the scourge of hunger, poverty and malnutrition no longer threaten global peace and prosperity — is strong, made possible by U.S. leadership and bipartisan commitment. Feed the Future is contributing to a measurable, worldwide decline in hunger, and a new generation of leaders in agriculture and nutrition is preparing to carry on this legacy.
2014 ushered in a new wave of leaders across U.S. Government agencies that contribute to Feed the Future. Between May and June, Dana J. Hyde and Carrie Hessler-Radelet were sworn in as the Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO and Peace Corps Director respectively, while Dr. Nancy Stetson was sworn in as the Secretary's Special Representative for Global Food Security, overseeing the Department of State's Office of Global Food Security. At the U.S. Agency for International Development, Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Development Tjada D'Oyen McKenna was sworn in as Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Food Security in December.
In May, the first-ever Feed the Future Global Forum drew leaders from around the world to celebrate results that can be ramped up for even greater impact, identify opportunities for stronger collaboration among partners, and accelerate progress toward reducing global poverty, hunger and undernutrition.
In July, the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Food for Peace celebrated 60 years of helping the world's most vulnerable. Originally created to share America's agricultural bounty abroad, Food for Peace has become a leader in lending a helping hand to those in need, not only meeting immediate food needs in times of crisis, but also working as part of Feed the Future to break the vicious cycle of chronic hunger and poverty.
President Obama welcomed leaders from across the African continent to the nation's capital in August for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. At a signature event on Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate, opened by Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Rockefeller Foundation launched a $100 million Global Resilience Partnership. U.S. and African officials also announced that more than $10 billion will be realized through responsible private investments as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which released its 2013-2014 Progress Report. 2014 was the African Union's Year of Agriculture.
At the 41st annual meeting of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security in October, the Department of State led a successful interagency delegation to negotiate voluntary policy recommendations on reducing food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems as well as maintaining and enhancing the contribution of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture to nutrition and food security. The United States also joined global consensus to endorse the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, which follow a successful decade of global consensus to endorse the Guidelines for the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security. Both frameworks are voluntary and non-legally binding. The Committee on World Food Security continues to serve as an important forum to share best practices and voluntary policy guidelines to address food security and nutrition.
The ongoing Ebola crisis has emphasized the urgent need to secure progress toward eliminating extreme poverty and ending chronic hunger, which greatly amplify communities' vulnerability to disease and conflict. By supporting long-term food security in countries like Liberia, Feed the Future is helping create the conditions of stability and security that can mitigate the impacts of future crisis events.
In January, on the margins of the World Economic Forum at Davos, the U.S. Agency for International Development and DuPont announced a joint agreement to deepen efforts to reduce global hunger and poverty by enabling smallholder farmers access to proven, safe and transformative agricultural innovations. The agreement delivers on commitments made through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and builds on a strong history of partnership between DuPont, USAID, university partners, the private sector and NGOs.
Consistent with the 2013 recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, Feed the Future launched a Civil Society Action Plan in May, outlining concrete initial steps for strengthening civil society engagement in Feed the Future programs. In a landmark memorandum of understanding with InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international organizations working with the world's poor, 32 organizations committed to spend $1.5 billion in support of food security and nutrition efforts worldwide. This pledge of private funding will help leverage Feed the Future's resources for even greater impact.
In May and June, a partnership with coffee companies and Texas A&M University and a Coffee Farmer Resilience Fund with Keurig Green Mountain Inc., Cooperative Coffees, Starbucks, Equal Exchange and Root Capital were launched to help smallholder farmers across Latin America and the Caribbean fight a devastating coffee rust outbreak. The fungal disease has caused more than $1 billion in economic damage since 2012, threatening the livelihoods and food security of 500,000 coffee farmers and industry workers.
The Feed the Future Innovation Labs are on the cutting edge of efforts to research, develop and scale up safe and effective agricultural technologies that can help feed a growing population. With the September announcement of the establishment of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Sustainable Intensification at Kansas State University, this unique network of 24 Innovation Labs grew to include over 70 top colleges and universities along with many partner country research and educational institutions. Learn more or see the Innovation Labs in action.
In November, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Senegal, each of them committing to invest $500,000 annually over the next five years to support the country's goals for sustainable agricultural growth. Through the agreement, USADF will assist Senegalese youth groups, smallholder farmer cooperatives and agribusinesses to increase productivity and diversify production.
Feed the Future released its Progress Report on FY 2013 results in May, revealing that the initiative reached nearly 7 million smallholder farmers globally with new technologies and, together with the Global Health Initiative, reached 12.5 million children with effective nutrition services. Among the country-level results:
In November, just weeks after the UN Food and Agriculture Organization announced that the number of chronically undernourished people in the world has fallen by more than 100 million people over the last decade:
This year, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) completed two Compacts that included significant investments in improving food security for local smallholders engaged in the agriculture sector. The $480.9 million Compact with Burkina Faso came to a close in July, marking five years of progress toward reducing poverty through support for irrigated agriculture, land governance and a road connecting farms to markets. In Namibia, the $304.5 million Compact was completed in September, with notable successes in improving trade as well as the health and sustainability of the livestock sector. MCC is also investing heavily in nutrition through a Compact with Indonesia, which includes $129.5 million in nutrition interventions targeting 2.9 million children.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in August that funding for seven international projects through the 2014 Food for Progress program would directly benefit 1.6 million people this year. Food for Progress, which uses proceeds from commodity sales to fund agricultural development, contributes to Feed the Future's goal of inclusive growth through improved agricultural productivity and expanded agricultural trade. Currently, the program is active in 16 Feed the Future focus countries and is supporting more than 30 active agreements valued in excess of $463 million. Check out Food for Progress in action.
Updates to Feed the Future's monitoring and evaluation tools in 2014 are improving accountability and helping the initiative deliver more transparent results in food security. In May, the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) Baseline Report was released, which illuminates constraints to women's empowerment in 13 Feed the Future focus countries and establishes baseline values for empowerment that provide an important benchmark against which to measure future progress. Feed the Future also conducted a refresh of its indicators to address gaps in the Feed the Future results framework and improve future performance reporting.
Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet visited Michigan State University in February as part of the fourth stop on the Feed the Future Campus Food Security Tour, which aimed to raise awareness among students and faculty about efforts to fight global hunger and poverty around the world. "Our focus is on fighting hunger at the 'last mile' — taking important food security messaging and practices to villages and farms across the globe," said Hessler-Radelet in her remarks. "Currently, nearly 2,000 Peace Corps Volunteers are working in agriculture, environment and nutrition in Feed the Future-related activities."
March 25 marked National Agriculture Day and what would have been the 100th birthday of Dr. Norman Borlaug, the Nobel laureate considered the "Father of the Green Revolution" for dedicating his life to fighting hunger. In honor of the occasion, the World Food Prize presented the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a Borlaug Symposium featuring youth and the next generation of agricultural leaders. A statue of Dr. Borlaug was unveiled at a dedication ceremony in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall.
Following nutrition commitments made in June 2013, the U.S. Agency for International Development launched its first Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy in May, laying out a roadmap to reduce chronic malnutrition by 20 percent through the Feed the Future and Global Health initiatives, the Office of Food for Peace development programs, resilience efforts and other nutrition investments. This strategy precedes a forthcoming, government-wide Global Nutrition Coordination Plan. In November, the Department of State led a U.S. Government delegation to the Second International Conference on Nutrition, co-convened by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The delegation successfully negotiated the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action, which were adopted by global consensus. Food security and nutrition will continue to be at the forefront of U.S. diplomatic efforts and ongoing negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals in the Post-2015 framework, which build on the Millennium Development Goals.
In September, as global leaders gathered in New York City for the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack helped launch the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture during the United Nations Climate Summit, which called on government, finance, business and civil society leaders to take action on climate change. The Alliance advances a global, evidence-based approach to food security and represents an ambitious step in U.S. efforts to integrate a holistic approach to climate change in every area of our work.
Building on its 2013 commitments to scale up improvements in international agriculture, the U.S. Government launched eight new projects in 2014 supporting improved seed enterprises and other technology providers to accelerate adoption and uptake by smallholder farmers of the most promising agricultural technologies. This $60 million investment will impact Feed the Future focus countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Learn more about Feed the Future's approach to scaling up food security solutions.
In September, members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives introduced authorizing legislation to codify and strengthen Feed the Future's comprehensive approach to cultivating the transformative potential of agriculture sector-led growth. HR 5656 — the Feed the Future Global Food Security Act of 2014 — passed by a voice vote in the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support in December.