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Together We Can
By Edona Dervisholli, GHI Policy Intern
This week, 50 African heads of state and government, are meeting in Washington DC for a historic U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. The main theme of the summit is “Investing in the Next Generation”. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other political, business and civil society leaders welcomed this international delegation with the goal cementing new partnerships that will address the challenges Africa and the world face in the coming years.
One of the highlights of the Summit thus far has been Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks during Monday’s session on “Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate”. Secretary Kerry outlined the challenges for sustainably producing enough food, feed, fuel, and fiber for a global population of 9 billion people by 2050 – particularly in light of climate change. Kerry pointed out that food security has been a goal of the Obama administration from day one. The “Feed the Future” initiative, the administration’s signature food security program, supports farmers in 19 countries, including 12 in Africa.
At the same time, Kerry made it clear that the global community’s current efforts are insufficient to meet this challenge. He called on governments, the private sector, research institutions, and civil society to prioritize their investments of time, energy and resources towards improving agricultural productivity in a way that is environmentally sustainable, while creating economic and social resiliency, particularly for people struggling with poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. He highlighted several avenues for achieving this, several of which reflect GHI’s policy priorities: increasing investments in ag R&D and infrastructure, embracing science and information based technologies, and removing barriers to regional and global trade.
Kerry’s presentation was followed by a panel of distinguished agricultural leaders, including Jim Borel, Executive Vice President at DuPont, a founding member of the Global Harvest Initiative.* Borel stressed the need for greater collaboration with smallholder farmers and producers as a key component to success.Investing in smallholders leads to economic development, he said, which increases income and market share, and this ultimately becomes a virtuous cycle. Borel also mentioned DuPont’s participation in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and said that investing in research and partnerships will provide sustainability as well as resilience to climate change. Finally, Borel urged the US government to codify the gains made through Feed the Future by passing the Global Food Security Act.
Watch the entire session event here and tune into Borel’s panel discussion starting at 1:39:00.
*Thank you to USAID and GHI Board Member Lystra Antoine, Global Director for Sustainable Agricultural Development at DuPont Pioneer, for coordinating Mr. Borel’s participation in this important global event.