Why Can't We Do Something to End Hunger? We Can.

News Abroad

Mr. Lambers is the author of Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World and the forthcoming title The Roadmap to End Global Hunger.

It was in November, 1945 that the Cincinnati Enquirer reported a heroic effort by area schoolchildren. The students helped to collect 36,000 pounds of clothing, bedding and shoes for the charity Save the Children, which then distributed the items overseas in war-torn Europe.

It was deeds such as this that helped build the foundation for recovery and peace in Europe following World War II.

After the fighting of World War II had ended, Americans could have solely turned their attention to challenges at home. But as Eileen Egan of Catholic Relief Services wrote, "their concern had to be also turned outward to the world…while for many the fighting was over, the war was not. The war now was against hunger, homelessness, disease and fear."

Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children and other charities today need the help of communities across America, this time to end global hunger. Over one billion people worldwide suffer from lack of food.

A coalition of charities recently made recommendations on how the United States could lead a more effective worldwide campaign to eliminate hunger. These recommendations helped form the Roadmap to End Global Hunger legislation (H.R. 2817) which is currently in Congress. The legislation is in need of public support. Rep. Jim McGovern, who has co-sponsored the bill, says," We are trying to put global hunger on the top of the administration's agenda."

The Roadmap would create a White House office to coordinate the U.S. response to hunger. This is vital because currently the strategy is spread out among a number of agencies. A global hunger advisor would be appointed to lead this office and work with President Obama and the Cabinet.

Ambassador Michael Klosson of Save the Children says this advisor "would be dedicated to keeping food security on the agenda and in the public consciousness." He also points out that this high-level office would not only provide central coordination for the U.S. attack on hunger, it would improve international cooperation as well. Klosson says, "that's the type of coordination that can really make a difference in people's lives, and in a way that directly improves their well-being and serves our national security interests."

We saw this after World War II when Herbert Hoover served as a food ambassador and very much kept global hunger as a front-and center-issue.

Traveling to numerous countries, Hoover coordinated the global response to post-war hunger. In Latin America, for instance, Hoover's speeches were translated and distributed throughout the press. This helped to rally public support for measures to free up more food supplies for Europe and Asia. We need this kind of international cooperation today to fight hunger and build peace.

In countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, it is this fight against hunger which is the road to peace.

In Yemen, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides rations to tens of thousands displaced by conflict in the northern part of the country.

But low funding forced a ration cut this summer and suspension of a school feeding program for children throughout Yemen. Reducing food aid is hardly a strategy for peace in a conflict-ridden country. But when the international community fails to respond to hunger, this is the tragic result.

Recent fighting in Yemen is causing even more displacement and increasing the need for aid. The international community has to step up to ensure funding for emergency food operations so WFP and other charities can do their job.

If every citizen can take a minute to contact their representative in Congress about voting for this bill (H.R. 2817), it could make such a big difference for international peace. Save the Children has set up a take-action page here.

Allan Jury, the US director of the World Food Programme says,"We simply can't afford to let another generation go hungry." We know how to end hunger but yet for some reason the resolve from political leaders is not strong enough.

The Roadmap to End Global Hunger can change this. As Heather Hanson of Mercy Corps says,"The real news is not that people are hungry - but rather that they don't have to be. We can end hunger in our lifetimes."

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Jaakko Juhani Wallenius - 9/22/2009

By high risk I mean just low or no expectation of dividends, but such investment that could give work and self-sustain the population in the long run.
Just giving more food away will not solve the problem in the long run in any way. With direct food-aid we are just giving pain-killers and not trying to cure the disease.
It is of course true that the food is already there, there is not just not enough money to buy it.
The core problem however is that the local food-production is not enough anymore because of the tremendous population growth and people need new ways to sustain themselves. They need sources of income and not hand-outs.

Joel Rosenblum - 9/22/2009

I think the world has had enough high risk investments. What happens when our investment bubble to end starvation pops?

I agree population is in need of control. But we CAN easily feed the entire world's current population with the food that is ALREADY produced today. The only question is how to get it distributed (i.e. how to spend a measly 1% of GDP on ending world hunger).

Also, there is an assumption among anti-population fanatics that giving people food will simply lead to greater population growth rates. In fact food/economic insecurity is a #1 reason for a family to have more children than necessary (what if half die? who will take care of the parents in their old age?)...

Jaakko Juhani Wallenius - 9/21/2009

That population control is the easiest, simplest and safest way to combat the hunger crisis in developing world is extremely obvious to anyone who puts any effort into thinking of these matters.

The Pope and many Islamic and Hindu leaders have however done their utmost to fight against all forms of sensible population control.

Because of the widespread multiculturalist faith one has not been able to even criticize in the mainstream media at least the dangerous and in the long run deadly policies taken by these religious leaders, who have taken their stand because of idiotic old nomadic dogma and also because of the need to protect the growth of their follower-base.

The political dogma of the far left is one reason for the current lack of criticism, as according to them all the problems of the developing world arise from the colonialism and bad effects of capitalism and no blame can be put on the local policies in the developing world.

The hard fact however is that without the tremendous population growth most developing countries would be quite okay today.

The hardest thing to accept is that the improvements and investments in medical care in developing world are one of the main reasons for the current hunger crisis.

When one improves just the medical care, but does not simultaneously put tremendous effort to population control and improving the local economy, the current situation necessarily arises.

With improving health care more and more people survive to adulthood to produce even more children, but the economies of these countries have no chance of providing the means for supporting these fast-growing populations.

The small-time farming that is the main form of livelihood in developing world can support just a certain amount of people. With improvements in health care populations expands and more and more people depend on it, the small-time farming just soon cannot provide for all mouths anymore, but people soon need new means to support them.

There are just two ways to solve this dilemma; either to improve the economies of these countries in such a way that they can support the growing population or to put in force an effective form of population control. Obviously we cannot take the improvements in the medical care away anymore, as this would be inhuman and cruel.

Because of the alliance of the multiculturalists and far left one has not however been able to even raise the question of population control as the most effective way of fighting poverty and hunger in the developing world.

It is quite unrealistic to believe that there would suddenly be a burst of hundreds of millions of new work-places in the developing world, even if we would increase our aid to developing world ten- or even hundred times over the current situation.

To sustain themselves in the long run these countries need working economies and not more handouts. They need investment, not aid, if we try to improve their situation permanently.

A sustainable economy cannot be born out of hand-outs, but with investment it can. We need a system where aid is more and more turned into extremely high-risk investments into real economies in the developing world.

The emphasis is here at the word risk; the aid turned into investments cannot be such that any real profit would be even ever expected, but on the other hand only investing in such a enterprises that can sustain themselves without outside help in the long run is sensible, if we are trying to find real solutions for the problems and not just medicate them temporarily, as direct aid does.

The aim must be in the creation of real local economies that can provide the needed income for the population and soon also create the needed tax-income base for the state to build the education-system, health care and social security this growing economy needs to sustain itself.

However all this needs to be coupled tightly into a tight policy of population control, as no real economy can create jobs in the rate population now grows in many of the developing countries.

Here we however stumble into brick-wall created by dogmatic religions and also multiculturalists who want us to accept the right of the religious leaders to do what they please. Even trying to discuss these matters leads easily to silence.

The multiculturalist dogma creates a trap where all discussion of the negative effects of local traditions, customs and religions is forbidden and in effect all solutions for the problems of the developing world need to come from outside.

PS. By the way, the funny fact is that in Islam there is no real religious base for the opposition of the population control, but the real world opposition is result of personal views taken by many religious leaders.

Even Catholic Church cannot show the lines in the Bible that would forbid use of condoms or birth control pills, but the current policy is just a thing that has been created among the leaders of that dogmatic and autocratic faith during the last hundred years.

It is not however funny that the Catholic dogma of sacredness of life leads in many places of the developing to a situations where countless people starve to death because the land cannot support all of the new mouths anymore.