World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization working for the well being of all people, especially children. Through emergency relief, education, health care, economic development and promotion of justice, World Vision helps communities help themselves. Established in 1950 to care for orphans in Asia, World Vision has grown to embrace the larger issues of community development and advocacy for the poor in its mission to help children and their families build sustainable futures. Working in nearly 100 countries, World Vision has assisted more than 100 million people.
World Vision’s mission focuses on human and social transformation. World Vision employs a three-pronged strategy of development programming, humanitarian response and advocacy. In order to implement this strategy, World Vision uses a variety of resources, including food aid.
World Vision believes that there are multiple structural impediments to alleviating food insecurity, including the following:
|>||insufficient or non-existent national food security policies|
|>||unfair trade rules|
|>||the challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic|
|>||insufficient investment and development aid|
Given the structural impediments to promoting food security, we believe that food aid is among several important tools used to realize the fundamental right to be free from hunger and address poverty. While most of the food aid is used in emergency relief situations, a significant portion is also used to meet development objectives.
In the context of international discussions about poverty eradication, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have emerged as the first of their kind in setting key targets for the global community to achieve through a co-operative approach. Each of the eight MDGs addresses aspects of development, and fulfilling them would significantly reduce poverty in developing countries.
On current rates of progress, however, it is anticipated that many developing countries will not achieve the MDGs. The international community is failing to live up to the goals of the 2000 Millennium Declaration: rich nations are still failing to increase their Official Development Assistance (ODA) to adequate levels and target that aid effectively; trade rules and practices, including agricultural trade, remains inequitable; and issues such as debt cancellation for the poorest countries have not been adequately addressed.
The current lack of progress on the MDGs means that NGOs, along with governments, multilateral agencies and the developing countries themselves, need to direct all available resources to fill this gap. It is in this context that the continued use of food aid is one element of the solution required to fulfill the fundamental human right to be free from hunger. (11)
World Vision uses food aid to help feed the hungry, and equally important, to help the poor address issues related to development.
|>||The first MDG is to ‘eradicate extreme poverty and hunger’ by 2015. Achieving this goal will require enormous effort by Northern and Southern governments, specifically addressing issues such as the reduction of Northern agricultural subsidies; the designing and implementing of global and national pro-poor agricultural and national food security strategies; and the promotion of sustainable, pro-poor economic growth. Until such policies are developed and the international community takes responsibility for leadership on these issues, the first MDG will not be met, and food aid will remain an important resource to help ensure people do not go hungry. |
|>||Food aid’s role is not restricted solely to the first MDG, but is one of the many development tools needed to help achieve other development targets. For example:
| - ||supplying food to vulnerable groups living with HIV/AIDS|
| -||undertaking school feeding programs to support children and their families and promote education|
Recognizing that food aid is an imperfect tool, World Vision uses food aid according to its internal policies and in accordance with the Food Aid Convention (1999 and the upcoming revised version) and international standards, such as SPHERE. In particular:
|>||World Vision avoids using food resources that depress demand for appropriate local food products or discourage local agricultural production.|
|>||World Vision gives priority to the utilization of food resources in food deficit regions and to low income areas with limited access to adequate means of production or food at affordable prices. |
Until such time as food security for all is within practical reach, food resources, appropriately used (according to assessments and lessons from evaluations) should be part of the global effort to contribute to food security and the eradication of poverty.
It is World Vision’s position that:
|>||While the international community and NGOs strive to address the root causes of poverty, where there is chronic hunger and food insecurity food aid continues to be an important resource in all its various forms: local purchase, cash, commodities and monetization.|
|>||World Vision calls on Northern governments to reduce agricultural subsidies and allow duty- and quota-free access to their markets for the poorest countries’ goods and provide capacity building support to help developing countries take advantage of increased market access. Within the context of the Doha Development Round, World Vision calls upon wealthy nations to accord developing countries the flexibility they need to achieve their national food security strategies.|
|>||World Vision advocates that a significant portion of savings from reducing agricultural subsidies be redirected toward achieving the MDGs.|
|>||World Vision calls on Southern governments to establish and implement national food security strategies. Within this design, they should address domestic structural impediments to their own food security.|
|>||World Vision calls for parties to the Food Aid Convention to meet or exceed existing obligations.|
|>||World Vision calls on donors to increase resources for assessment and impact evaluation to determine the contextually appropriate mix of food aid in its various forms |
|>||World Vision calls for and is committed to increased investment in research to determine the impact of food aid on local communities, and on national and global economies.|
|>||World Vision opposes a reduction of in-kind food aid by the international community unless accompanied by immediate and substantive additional resources in ODA, debt cancellation and equitable trade policies.|
11. The World Vision International Board has endorsed a range of relevant human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and others.