Strong leadership is a critical determinant of success in ending hunger

From reducing to eradicating hunger: a new common goal that can make the difference

30 June 2013, Addis Ababa - Africa has vibrant societies that are eager to achieve development and eradicate hunger, agreed African Ministers and other senior officials meeting at the African Union in Addis Ababa today, in the framework of the High Level Meeting of African and international leaders to end hunger in the continent. The Ministers were meeting ahead of the meeting of African Union Heads of State and Government tomorrow, under the theme "New, unified approaches to end hunger in Africa".

The will to promote food security in Africa motivated the African Union, FAO and the Lula Institute to partner for a unified approach to end hunger in Africa by 2025 within the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) framework. About 15 Heads of State and Government positively responded to the invitation from the AU, FAO and Lula Institute to participate in the event and add value to CAADP by sharing knowledge on investment to vulnerable people.

The positive response from the Heads of State is important because there is growing consensus on the continent that strong political commitment is required for Africa to effectively strengthen resilience and eradicate hunger. Through CAADP, Africa has the foundation on which to build sustainable solutions to hunger, the Ministers said.

It is possible to end hunger

The HLM is gathering experiences from different African and non-African countries, such as Malawi, Angola, Ethiopia, Niger, China, Vietnam and Brazil. Combining investment in agriculture with social protection policies and inclusive growth development, many countries have managed to reduce hunger and poverty. Brazil has lifted 36 million people out of extreme poverty in the past ten years.

"Hunger will not be eradicated unless we include the poor in the government budget. I am convinced that ending hunger will only be possible if transformed into a state policy. The commitment of civil society is also important to the success of this process," said founder and honorary President of Lula Institute, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva."I'm certain that every country in Africa and in the world can end hunger if they include the poor in their national budget. Economic growth alone is not enough," emphasized Lula.

The AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, said: "The CAADP Framework is steadily gaining recognition as a comprehensive, multi-sector approach for boosting production and productivity, and also for improving resilience and food security, by scaling up agricultural investment and increasing economic opportunities for entire populations. It is, therefore advocated that CAADP provides the platform for building and facilitating the renewed partnerships as well as technically backstopping a unified approach for scaling up hunger eradication efforts at all implementation levels."

On his part, Director-General of FAO, Mr. Graziano da Silva, stressed: "We can win the war against hunger only if we work together. This meeting in Addis Ababa will support our efforts by transforming political will into further and coordinated action".

The Renewed Partnership has the intention to contribute to the CAADP agenda. The synergy from combining CAADP with its renewed momentum and social protection under the partnership for Unified Approaches to End Hunger in Africa would justify the ambition to achieve the following objectives:
  • Eliminate hunger and poverty by 2025, in the same time frame as for the Sustaining CAADP Momentum (SCM);
  • In the countries implementing the partnership's approach, reduce hunger by 40 percent by 2017;
  • Improve access to food all year round, reducing the need for external food aid within 10 years;
  • Prioritize defeat of stunting, especially in children under 2 years, and to provide nutrition of pregnant women and young children;
  • Double the productivity of staples within 5 to 10 years, without compromising the sustainability of farming systems; and
  • Reduce food waste and losses to levels no worse than global averages, with the ambition to minimise them.

Promising expectations

Despite most countries in Africa experiencing economic growth of unprecedented proportions as well as improved governance and human development indicators in the last decade, the continent has 239 million undernourished people, representing nearly a quarter of the entire population.

The High Level Meeting is expected to agree upon and commit to a set of principles, policies and strategies with a focus on strategies for eradicating hunger. Key among them will be support to integrate purpose-specific food-security and social-development strategies and actions into CAADP investment plans.

Today's ministerial meeting was preceded by a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on 29 June 2013, attended by more than 100 representatives of civil society, producer organizations, the private sector, cooperatives, the research community in Africa and other non-state actors.

This meeting allowed for these important stakeholders to voice their views and discuss their essential role in the formulation and implementation of this Renewed Partnership.  Recognizing that the problems of food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa are multi-faceted and multidimensional, the solution requires a multi-stakeholder partnership, which is being promoted during this High Level Meeting. They stressed the importance of accountability, civil society participation and strong political commitment from governments to successfully promote food security.

The Renewed Partnership for ending hunger in Africa will be developed according to a Road Map and a Declaration adopted by the High Level Meeting.

Photo: ©African Union
Addis Ababa High Level Meeting on Zero Hunger in Africa Ministerial Session