On Saturday 8th June 45,000 people gathered in London’s Hyde Park to campaign against the devastating hunger and malnutrition suffered by millions all over the world. The Enough Food IF campaign, set up by Bill Gates in partnershipwith organisations including Oxfam, UNICEF and Twin, aims to raise awareness of the main themes due to be discussed at the G8, including:
- AID: Life saving aid is needed to help the world’s poorest receive vital resources to alleviate hunger;
- LAND: Stop land grabs and enable farmers to grow essential crops instead of being forced to produce biofuels;
- TAX: Companies need to stop dodging tax in poor countries so that people can free themselves from hunger;
- TRANSPARENCY: Governments and big companies need to be honest about their actions that keep the world’s poorest in a cycle of hunger;
Speakers such as Bill Gates, Satish Kumar, Danny Boyle and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams urged campaigners to do their bit to end hunger and malnutrition, as well as highlighting the need to empower smallholder farmers. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said:
In the last 50 years we have seen huge progress, but still 20,000 children die everyday needlessly…just ask yourself what you can do and then go do it!”
Satish Kumar, a long-time peace and environment activist who has walked around the world to promote peace, urged the crowd to think about the rights of smallholder farmers around the world, stating:
Land belongs to the farmers, it should be in the hands of the farmers and not businesses.”
Empowering female farmers was also shown to be key to alleviating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, as women often lack land rights and access to the right tools and knowledge, preventing them from reaching higher yields.
In response to the Enough Food IF campaign UK Prime Minister David Cameron led a high-level hunger summit where £2.7bn was pledged to tackle global hunger and malnutrition. The pledged money aims to save 20 million children from chronic malnutrition, which is currently the biggest underlying cause of death in under fives around the world.
250,000 paper flowers were also planted at the event, with each petal representing a child’s life lost to malnutrition. (see image below)
To improve global food security and nutrition Farming First urges G8 leaders and policymakers to:
- Promote a clear joint focus on a common goal for food security at the global level through policy and operational coherence
- Encourage increased transparency on how much of pledged funding has been committed and to what types of programmes
- Engage a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that efforts are coordinated, clear, collaborative and ultimately successful.
The Enough Food IF campaign will continue in Belfast on 15 June ahead of the G8 taking place 17-18 June at Lough Erne Northern Ireland.
Find out more about global food and nutrition security initiatives here