Saturday, June 26, 2010

Obama At Muskoka G-8 Summit: Following Through On Food Security Commitments

White House releases update on L'Aquila Food Security Initiative; Statement on President's Development Approach
President Obama spent Friday at the Muskoka G-8 Summit, held at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. The President participated in bilateral meetings, as well as a closed-press working lunch and working dinner with the G-8 leaders.

The White House released an outline detailing President Obama's approach to advancing global development (full text at bottom of post), and also released an update on the food security initiatives that were agreed upon in L'Aquila in July 2009 during the last G-8.

Boosting ag economies with GMOs, focus on women farmers
Now known as the Rome Principles, these points constitute "the foundation for collective, global action" to combat hunger, and for the Obama Administration's own food security initiative, Feed The Future, announced by USAID director Rajiv Shah in May. In the White House update, encouraging GMO crops to be grown in the low-income food-insecure countries that will benefit from the program are taking center stage.

>Read about the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative here; the United States has already allocated $812 million of the $3.5 billion pledged at L'Aquila, and is awaiting Congressional approval for other funding commitments.

Women farmers, as the citizens who do most of the agricultural work in low-income developing countries, have achieved a central role in the Obama administration's Feed The Future plan, as well as in The L'Aquila Initiative. In a departure from previous aid strategies to combat global hunger, the plan focuses on re-tooling and re-building agricultural economies in food-insecure countries, rather than merely offering food aid. (Above: The President with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, host of the G-8)

Rebuilding Ag economies will be done by increasing agricultural productivity; stimulating post-harvest, private-sector growth; supporting the role of women and families in agriculture; maintaining the natural resource base in the context of the changing climate; expanding knowledge and training; increasing trade flows; and supporting good governance and policy reform.

Noting that huge crop yields must occur in places that are lacking water resources and land, the report reveals that ten percent of the funding allocated in FY 2011 will be focused on research into Ag technologies, including crops that are genetically modified. The success of GMO crops in specific areas is noted: "Examples of these breakthroughs are drought tolerant maize seed in East Africa, more resilient rice strains in South and Southeast Asia..."

Also noted: Integral to our efforts is the strong support of the G-8 for reform of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and financial support for its focus on increasing the productivity of staple food crops.

In order to keep track of success, the report notes that the United States will use a milestones-and-outcome-based funding approach that allows scaled-up support for real technologies that deliver real results in a timely way.

Real technologies, and increasing productivity means more GMO crops. In the US, the Supreme Court this week overturned a ban on planting GMO Alfalfa in the United States.

The report also advises that the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, hosted at the World Bank, has "rapidly become operational," mobilizing commitments of nearly $900 million and working to mobilize significantly more. The United States has pledged $475 million to the Fund.

The full report issued by the White House is below,a dnt eh Development memo follows.

Related: The transcript of USAID director Rajiv Shah's full speech as he announced Feed The Future is here. First Lady Michelle Obama visited USAID on May 5, as part of her ongoing agency thank you tour, and discussed the increasing role of agriculture in international aid. A transcript of her remarks is here.

The transcript, as released by the White House:

THE G-8 MUSKOKA SUMMIT: FOLLOWING THROUGH ON FOOD SECURITY

For the first time in history, more than one billion people are undernourished. Acknowledging that investment in agricultural development represents the most effective, large scale intervention to promote inclusive economic growth, alleviate hunger, and reduce the vulnerability of small producers to external shocks, leaders G-8 Summit committed to reversing underinvestment in agricultural development and endorsed five key principles that were subsequently adopted at the Rome World Food Security Summit. Now known as the Rome Principles, these points constitute the foundation for collective, global action and for the Obama Administration food security initiative, Feed the Future:

1. Foster strategic coordination. Development partners commit to coordinating their allocation of resources for agriculture development to maximize their effective and efficient use.

2. Invest in country-owned plans. Development partners commit to using credible, country-owned plans to channel assistance to countries.

3. Strive for a comprehensive approach to food security. To achieve success, it is important to focus on the full range of issues that affect agricultural development, including increasing agricultural productivity; stimulating post-harvest, private-sector growth; supporting the role of women and families in agriculture; maintaining the natural resource base in the context of the changing climate; expanding knowledge and training; increasing trade flows; and supporting good governance and policy reform.

4. Sustain improvements in the work of multilateral institutions. In addition to providing bilateral assistance, development partners will seek to use multilateral institutions and facilities, whenever appropriate; and will work to reform and improve the effectiveness of multilateral institutions and financing mechanisms.

5. Sustained and Substantial Commitment. Development partners agree to substantially increase investments in agricultural development, provide resources to multi-year plans and programs in a timely and reliable way, and sustain their commitments to this sector.
The United States believes that meeting the challenge of food insecurity requires a global effort. By the time of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, donors had committed to invest $22 billion over the next three years in agricultural development using these five guiding principles. The United States pledged to provide at least $3.5 billion over three years, exclusive of food aid. At the Muskoka G-8 Summit, President Obama reiterated the strong commitment of the United States to meet pledges and applauded the significant progress that has been made to implement this initiative this past year:

Country-Led Investment Meetings: The Rome Principles represent an improved business model that emphasizes a country-led approach to development. Consistent with the Rome Principles, developing countries have initiated inclusive multi-stakeholder processes to develop comprehensive national agricultural and food security strategies and investment plans. Rwanda, Haiti, Bangladesh, Benin, The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo have already submitted their national agricultural and food security investment plans to rigorous outside review and analysis.

Additionally, a regional plan prepared by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been reviewed that will enable its members to expand and access regional agricultural markets. Importantly, these plans represent a significant increase in investment in agriculture and rural development by developing countries themselves.
The United States and other countries have reviewed these investment plans, with more expected in the months ahead.

At the high-level meetings held by developing countries to present their plans, the United States stated its intention, subject to congressional appropriations on supplemental and 2011 budget amounts, to provide $72 million against the Rwandan investment plan, a total of $160 million against a number of West African investment plans, over $100 million against the Haitian investment plan, and $15 million against the Bangladeshi investment plan.

The United States intends to invest additional resources in these and other comprehensive national agriculture and food security investment plans in outlying fiscal years, and is encouraging other development partners to similarly state their intentions through the processes agreed at high-level investment plan meetings.

Meeting L'Aquila Funding Commitments: The United States has already allocated $812 million of the $3.5 billion pledged at L'Aquila. This figure includes investments in comprehensive national agriculture and food security plans and in agricultural research and development.

Launch of a Multilateral Fund: Leaders at the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit called on the World Bank to work with interested donors to develop a multilateral trust fund to scale-up agricultural assistance to low-income countries. As part of the Obama's administrations commitment to a multilateral approach to meeting global challenges, the United States has worked with the G-20, the World Bank and other multilateral organizations to establish this innovative new fund to help millions of poor farmers grow more and earn more so they can lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. Hosted at the World Bank, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program has rapidly become operational, mobilizing commitments of nearly $900 million and working to mobilize significantly more.

The United States has pledged $475 million to the Fund. Other commitments include Canada ($230 million), Spain ($95 million), South Korea ($50 million) and the Gates Foundation ($30 million). Of these amounts, $402 million has already been deposited in the trust fund, including $67 million from the United States.

Less than a year since the G-20 called for a multilateral fund, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program has made its first grants totaling $224 million to five low income countries: Bangladesh, Rwanda, Haiti, Togo and Sierra Leone. These first grants are expected to benefit over two million people in rural areas, demonstrating the resolve of the international community to forge a strong, swift and coordinated response against global food insecurity.

Consistent with an approach that values partnership to meet shared challenges, the main decision making body includes an equal number of developing countries and donors as voting members. Developing countries have played a central role in the design of the Fund, and the steering committee includes three seats for civil society organizations.

Recommitment to Investing in Research and Development: Growing global food demand and falling global growth yields requires that we increase support for research to produce more food on less land, with less water, and under less certain climate conditions; and that we make these investments in low-income, food insecure countries.

That is why the United States has announced a plan that it intends to allocate about ten percent of the financial resources for agriculture and food security to research programs in 2011. This includes a doubling of funding for global research over base levels from two years ago plus additional agricultural resources in each of the individual countries to support national and regional research and extension systems, and the increased leadership of women in these systems.

The United States will prioritize agricultural productivity and focus investments on the specific production systems and research breakthroughs that can raise incomes for farmers and generate agricultural growth across Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world.

Examples of these breakthroughs are drought tolerant maize seed in East Africa, more resilient rice strains in South and Southeast Asia, and livestock vaccines. Further, the United States will use a milestones-and- outcome-based funding approach that allows scaled-up support for real technologies that deliver real results in a timely way. Integral to our efforts is the strong support of the G-8 for reform of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and financial support for its focus on increasing the productivity of staple food crops.

Promoting the Role of the Private Sector: Sustained investment and agricultural growth in developing countries can only be achieved with strong private sector engagement. The United States is working with private sector forums like the Institute for Global Development, the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative, and others to engage private sector companies, strengthen country-led agricultural processes and policies, and to create investment opportunities. An example of this is an ongoing effort with the World Economic Forum and eight major companies to jointly develop agribusiness and infrastructure along the southern trade corridor of Tanzania, which can serve as a model for similar development along other agricultural trade corridors. The United States is also working closely with universities and non- governmental organizations as part of its private sector engagement.

The Work of International Organizations: With others, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. World Food Programme, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Bank and have been invaluable partners in advancing country-led processes; both by helping countries to develop their national agricultural strategies and investment plans, and by sending senior level delegations to early country planning programs to generate momentum for the initiative.

The memo detailing President Obama's approach to Advancing Global Development:

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
_______________________________________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2010

A New Approach to Advancing Development

At the Muskoka G8 Summit, President Obama outlined his views on a new approach to development. In his recently released National Security Strategy, development is recognized as a moral, strategic, and economic imperative for the United States and our partners. Development, diplomacy, and defense are components of a comprehensive, integrated approach to the challenges we face today. Countries that achieve sustained development gains make more capable partners, can engage in and contribute to the global economy, and provide citizens with the opportunity, means and freedom to improve their lives.

President Obama launched a study of U.S. development policy in September 2009 and will be issuing a new policy directive in the near future. The new U.S. development policy builds on two signature initiatives launched by the Obama Administration in 2009 to focus on results-based, strategic investments aimed at promoting meaningful and lasting results:

Feed the Future: At the London G20 Summit in 2009, President Obama announced a global food security initiative that has the support of the world’s major and emerging donor nations, includes strong roles for our multilateral institutions, and is led by partner countries that are ready and willing to develop comprehensive plans and commit their own resources to agricultural and market development. Secretary Clinton launched the comprehensive U.S. strategy – “Feed the Future” – to implement this groundbreaking effort in May 2010. To date, the United States has led international efforts to review nine comprehensive country strategies, commit new resources in support of those strategies, collaborate in the establishment and initial capitalization of the World Bank-led Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, and launch a new research and development program.

Global Health Initiative: In May 2009, President Obama announced the Global Health Initiative (GHI), which builds on the progress and success of PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Program on AIDS Relief) and also expands our global health effort and impact by including investments to strengthen health systems, improve maternal child health, address neglected tropical diseases, and foster increased research and development. The GHI will integrate our health programs in order to reduce inefficiencies and expand impact, and is designed to save lives and achieve sustainable outcomes. This new, integrated approach will be fast-tracked in eight countries.

President Obama’s new development policy will:

Foster the Next Generation of Emerging Markets: The U.S. will intensify efforts to promote sustainable economic development and support good governance by making targeted investments in countries and/or regions where the conditions are right for progress.

Invest in Game-Changing Innovations: By leveraging the power of research and development, the U.S. will work to create and scale-up technologies for health, green energy, agriculture, and other development applications.

Meet Basic Human Needs in a Sustainable Fashion: The U.S. will continue to be a global leader in the meeting of basic human needs, but will place increasing emphasis on building sustainable public sector capacity to provide basic services over the long-term.

Tailor Development Strategies: The U.S. will tailor development strategies in countries in or recovering from conflict to reflect the unique conditions on the ground, and will join efforts to promote stabilization and achieve security with those designed to promote our long-term sustainable development goals.

Hold all Aid Recipients Accountable: The U.S. will seek sustained development progress in all countries receiving U.S. economic assistance by placing a greater focus on policy reforms key to development.

In addition, in pursuing these objectives, the U.S. will pursue a new approach to development that:

Is More Selective: The U.S. will seek a division of labor with other donors and focus its efforts on select countries, regions, and sectors - while ensuring critical development needs are met.

Leverages other Donors, Philanthropy, Diaspora and the Private Sector: The U.S. will seek a division of labor with other donors and make a concerted effort to partner with other actors to leverage U.S. investments.

Underscores Country Ownership and Mutual Accountability: The U.S. will place a premium on partnering with countries that are well governed and will work to strengthen their institutions and support their development strategies.

Strengthens Multilateral Capabilities: The U.S. will support multilateral development capabilities and support key reforms and the creation of new capabilities, where required.

Drives Policy with Analysis: The U.S. will adopt metrics and set in place rigorous standards for monitoring and evaluation, and use data and analysis to drive decision-making.
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*Official photos from G-8 Summit. IDs for photo at top: From left: President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan, President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Italy Silvio Berlusconi, President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, , Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr. Angela Merkel, United Kingdom David Cameron and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.