ActionAid activists from across Europe today called on EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxembourg to agree a rescue package to get their commitments on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) back on track and stop using the financial crisis as an excuse for not tackling hunger and poverty.
Delegates were greeted at today’s meeting with a giant ‘hunger hourglass’ showing that with only 5 years remaining to halve hunger and meet the global targets they signed up to in 2000, time is running out.
The EU remains woefully off target in meeting its commitments on aid quantity and quality. ActionAid is calling on EU leaders to put forward an ambitious MDGs action plan to show that they are serious about fighting global hunger.
“Tonight over one sixth of the world’s population will go to bed hungry – this is the real crisis – one which EU leaders cannot ignore. They must keep their aid promises and improve the way that is given, reforming energy, trade and agriculture policies that deepen the hunger crisis", said Laura Sullivan, ActionAid’s European Policy and Campaigns Manager.
If current trends continue, more than 1.5 billion people will be hungry by 2015, returning hunger to 2000 levels. Instead of halving hunger, 650 million more people will have been pushed into hunger since the target was set.
ActionAid’s Fertile Ground Report shows that investing in smallholder farmers is key to tackling hunger. Smallholder farmers are responsible for 90% of the food grown in Africa and about half of the world’s food supply. Yet three quarters of the world’s hungry are smallholders.
Smallholders are vital to the world’s food production but are not getting the support they need to grow their way out of hunger. The EU and other international donors give as little as 3.6% of their aid to agriculture, with only 10% of this going to women farmers.
“Back in April, EU member states emphasized the key role of smallholder farmers in halving hunger. So they know what’s needed. Now they have to put up the money so that the world’s poor have something to put in their stomachs. They can’t let the hungry pay the price of the crisis”, said Maja Andersen, a campaigner with ActionAid Denmark
ActionAid estimates that $40 billion per year is needed to halve global hunger. Half of this money should come from donors including the EU, with developing countries making up the other half.
EU member states should support developing countries in generating tax revenue by supporting them in the fight against tax evasion. If all developing countries raised 15% of their national income as tax revenue they would raise at least $198 billion per year – an amount greater than global development aid.
photo : ©ActionAid