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‘Global Food Security Act’ Strengthens Feed the Future Initiative to Better Coordinate Agricultural Development Programs, More Aggressively Tackle Chronic Hunger Abroad

Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today introduced the Global Food Security Act of 2015, which aims to attack global hunger and bolster U.S. national security.

In 2010, the Administration launched an initiative called Feed the Future to accelerate inclusive development in the agriculture sector and improve nutrition outcomes for women and children in the developing world. Casey and Isakson’s legislation, which sailed through the House in 2014, would authorize the initiative for the next five years. With growing bipartisan support, the legislation could become law this year.

“We have to meet the challenge of food insecurity head on. Combating hunger and malnutrition in the developing world is a national security imperative for the United States,” Senator Casey said. “Feed the Future has been a successful initiative that we need to strengthen and improve. Providing Feed the Future with legislative backing will ensure our nation’s efforts to combat hunger around the world are more effective and sustainable over time.”

“Chronic hunger continues to be a critical problem that has a particularly devastating effect on children,” said Senator Isakson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I’m proud to once again introduce the Global Food Security Act with Sen. Casey this year to combat hunger across the globe, improve nutrition in developing countries and bolster U.S. security. The Global Food Security Act is based on the premise that a lack of access to affordable, nutritious food impacts not only developing nations’ economies and productivity, but the international economy and U.S. national security.”

One in eight people around the world suffer from chronic hunger, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The U.S. Intelligence Community reported that the “lack of adequate food will be a destabilizing factor in countries important to U.S. national security” in its January 2014 Worldwide Threat Assessment. Malnutrition and food insecurity stunt the mental and physical growth of future generations, which results in considerable social and economic costs.

In 2010, the Feed the Future (FTF), was launched to expand and better coordinate the United States’ investments in improving global food security. Feed the Future is a whole-of-government approach that focuses on the dual objectives of improving farmer productivity, income, and livelihoods in developing countries and improving the nutrition of women and children.

The Global Food Security Act of 2015 is based on the premise that global food insecurity impacts not only developing nations’ economies and productivity, but also the international economy and U.S. national security. It recognizes the important role that agricultural development plays in economic growth, including for women and small-scale producers, as well as the value of leveraging resources and expertise from U.S. academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, private voluntary organizations, and the private sector.

Specifically, the Global Food Security Act of 2015 would:

Require the Administration to develop a whole-of-government strategy to address global food insecurity and hunger. The strategy would emphasize agricultural development, improving maternal and child nutrition, building the resilience of communities, and civil society engagement.

Ensure the alignment of U.S. assistance with country-owned strategies to enhance agricultural productivity, household income, local economies, and food and nutrition security to work toward the ultimate goal of transitioning countries and communities away from the need for U.S. assistance under this Act.

Improve upon existing monitoring and evaluation practices to ensure the effective use of U.S. taxpayer dollars. This includes a requirement for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report in 2019.

Require that the Administration report to Congress and to the American people annually about the strategy, its results, and the use of foreign assistance funds.

Authorize appropriations through 2021 to carry out international development assistance programs and activities under the strategy.