Media Contact:Laura Blank
PARIS, France, 4 November 2011 — As the 2011 G20 Cannes Summit draws to a close, World Vision provides a report card assessing how the G20 did on food security and nutrition, critical issues for the health of children in the global south.
Measured by media attention and political prioritization, the issues that most impact millions of children in the developing world have been largely overshadowed in Cannes. Even the high-profile presentation by Bill Gates on innovative financing for development barely broke through the media and summit preoccupation with the Eurozone crisis and proposed Greek referendum on austerity measures. President Sarkozy even acknowledged this in his final comments.
This does not negate the fact that some progress was made by the G20 in the months leading up to the summit on addressing commodity price volatility and promoting agriculture. And we affirm the fact that the final communiqué stresses that developed countries should meet their aid commitments. However, there was an expectation that the strong French emphasis on food security as a priority issue for this G20 would lead to bold leadership and clear action plans. This was not the case.
G20 and G8 leaders have a history of letting their agendas be derailed by unexpected crises that emerge in the days leading up to a Summit. Certainly the ambitious French G20 slogan that “History will be written in Cannes” rings hollow in light of how little was actually achieved on their original agenda. Future leaders, including 2012’s G-20 host, Mexico, need to ensure that issues beyond immediate political crises are given their due.
The countries that make up the G20 represent about two-thirds of the world’s population and more than 80 per cent of its economic activity. They are home to 44 per cent of the children stunted by malnutrition and almost one-third of preventable under-5 child deaths. These issues deserve the dedicated attention and leadership of all G20 countries.
This G20 felt more like a European Union meeting with the vast majority of intellectual and media energy once again devoted to solving European fiscal issues. While these issues are clearly important, addressing the crushing plight of 925 million people who go hungry each night or the 12 million people fighting for their daily survival in the Horn of Africa deserved the attention of these powerful leaders. Solutions are known, but the political will of the world’s most powerful leaders is essential to ensure that action is taken.
The glamorous and beautiful Cannes environment provided a stark contrast to these struggles and too often invisible realities in the world. While this G20 will likely be remembered by the world outside of Europe as a missed opportunity, urgent progress must be made toward a robust food security, nutrition and the development agenda. With their strong economic focus, the G20 must understand that progress on this issues serve as critical catalysts of growth.
|World Vision’s calls leading up to the G-20 Summit||What the leaders delivered||Grade|
|Work with governments, UN, NGOs and the private sector to develop a global strategy and ways to ensure early and effective response to prevent acute food insecurity and malnutrition.||WV welcomes that the G20 has taken up the issue of people facing severe food crises, like in the Horn of Africa at the moment. We are pleased that the G20 has endorsed the piloting of emergency food reserves as this will help fill a critical gap in getting food resources to severely food insecure people in a timely manner. However, we are disappointed that the specific nutritional needs of women and children, who are most vulnerable in a food crisis, will not be addressed during the pilot phase.|
|Ensure agriculture and food security policies and programs include improved nutrition goals for women and children as a key objective.||Despite references in the Development Ministers’ and Agriculture Ministers’ statements, the final communiqué failed to recognize the importance of nutrition in all aspects of food security. To reduce hunger and unacceptable levels of child malnutrition, improved nutrition outcomes for women and children—especially in the first 1000 days (from conception to 2 years)—must be a key objective of food security initiatives supported by the G20.|
|Put systems in place that reduce extreme and volatile food prices that leave poor children hungry by increasing market transparency and reducing the impact of biofuels on food prices.||World Vision is pleased the G20 is seeking to improve functioning of agriculture commodity markets. Improved transparency through the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is a good first step in addressing destructive levels of volatility in global food markets, but to truly address the most destructive aspects of excessive speculation, the G20 will need to take much bolder action in future. We are disappointed that the G20 has failed to act on biofuels as evidence is clear that it’s contributing to pushing basic food prices beyond the reach of many families.|
|Provide increased and better coordinated support for small-scale farmers.||Despite the fact that support for small-scale farmers, particularly women, is widely recognized as a key to global food security, the G20 failed to even mention small-scale farmers.|
|World Vision supports the concept of innovative forms of finance to ensure adequate resources for development, the achievement of the MDGs and the response to climate change. However we do not think such finance should replace existing and achievable development assistance commitments.||We applaud the fact that it was a dedicated agenda topic, and applaud a number of its recommendations, including the emphasis on identifying new sources of funding and the insistence that these be in addition to current aid commitments, the need for developing countries to do more to raise resources domestically (through improved taxation, for example) and the emphasis on innovation to solve the challenges faced by poor countries. There was a lack of consensus on innovative financing coming into the Summit, but the G20 was successful in moving forward with some concrete steps.|
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