Hungry kids can’t wait as G20 ponders malnutrition solutions

At the G20 Summit, no specific commitments were agreed upon as to how the 20 wealthiest countries would respond to current or future food crises — much to the disappointment of child-focused groups like World Vision.

By Hannah Marrs, World Vision U.S.
Published July 2, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

During the G20 in Los Cabos, Mexico last month, World Vision represented children’s needs, specifically focusing on malnutrition. 

While much of the summit was focused on addressing the global economic crisis, leaders from the world’s 20 wealthiest nations did devote some time to discussing and creating broad commitments to strengthening agriculture and international development.

Responding to the hunger crisis

The devastating food crises in West Africa and the Horn of Africa prove that there remains a need for a stronger response to hunger and drought emergencies, as well as improved prevention efforts.

However, much to the disappointment of anti-poverty advocates like World Vision, at the summit, no specific commitments were agreed upon as to how the G20 would respond to the current or future food crises.

World Vision’s vice president of advocacy, Adam Taylor, commented that while there is room for celebration for the progress made, “the problem is that when it comes to concrete political commitments, the overall progress here [at the summit] is very stunted.”

Measuring results

During the summit, community groups and businesses formed partnerships that have the potential to improve conditions for those in need. The success of these improvements will be measured by the impact they have on small farmers, the majority of whom are women. Taylor hopes these improvements will be useful in effectively gauging better nutrition for families.

The greatest cause for celebration is the G20’s support for improved nutrition through increased interventions, like vitamin supplements, which will dramatically reduce child deaths and stunting.

According to Taylor, the G20 must continue to detail its broad political commitments, while also implementing proven solutions in countries with high rates of stunting and child mortality.

Three ways you can help

Pray that God would bring rain to West Africa and the Horn of Africa, so that children and families would have access to the nutritious food they need. Pray that countries with the capacity to do so would provide support to regions struggling with drought, so that lives might be saved.

Speak out. Urge your members of Congress to protect the International Affairs Budget. This budget funds life-saving interventions around the world, including West Africa, to protect children and families from hunger and malnutrition. Making up only about 1 percent of the entire budget, there are few places in the U.S. federal budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved.

Make a one-time gift to help provide life-saving food and care to hungry children. Your donation will help deliver emergency food aid, agricultural support, and more to children and families at risk from food shortages.