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 Home > News & Policies > June 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 10, 2004

Ending Famine in Horn of Africa
Ending the Cycle of Famine in the Horn of Africa, Raising Agricultural Productivity, and Promoting Rural Development in Food Insecure Countries

We are united in our belief that famine is preventable in the 21" century. Famine, food insecurity, and malnutrition have many complex causes, and defeating them will require a global partnership between the governments of affected countries, donors, international institutions, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). We renew our commitment to help build this partnership, particularly in Africa, where more than 200 million people remain threatened by famine or food insecurity.

President George W. Bush and G8 Summit leaders pose with African leaders at Ocean Forest during the last day of the Summit at Sea Island, Ga., Thursday, June 10, 2004. Leaders from Algeria, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda attended the last day of the summit.  White House photo by Paul Morse We support fully the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the principles and goals set out in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme. In particular, we applaud the African Union Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security, in which African leaders committed to allocating at least 10% of national budgetary resources for agriculture and rural development. Our efforts to fight famine, hunger and food insecurity are a demonstration of our commitment to achieve internationally recognized development goals, including the goals of halving by 2015 the number of people who suffer from hunger and from poverty.

Under the Evian Famine Action Plan, the G-8 has made significant progress in coordinating our emergency assistance efforts in the Horn of Africa and improving our famine early warning capabilities. We have agreed on a joint response to the crucial problem of promoting broad-based rural development and raising agricultural productivity in food insecure areas. To build on this work, we have agreed to undertake three new initiatives within the framework of the G-8 Africa and Famine Action Plans: Breaking the Cycle of Famine in the Horn of Africa: Along with the World Bank and other donors, we have agreed to support a new Ethiopian Government framework that offers a real chance to break the cycle of famine in that country and can serve as a point of reference for other countries. We will work with the New Coalition for Food Security to offer unified support for the Government's reform program to realize the Government's goal of attaining food security for five million chronically food insecure people by 2009. We will support land reform by funding the rollout of a land user rights system throughout Ethiopia by 2006. We will expand our support for rural infrastructure development to help the Government meet or exceed the road building goals set out in its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). We will work in a coordinated fashion to develop agricultural markets and facilitate regional economic integration.

We stand ready to help other countries in the Horn that are willing to make a political commitment to develop comprehensive food security and famine prevention programs. We encourage Eritrea to complete its interim PRSP in a manner which would serve as a basis for a

concrete dialogue with its development partners on initiatives to support a transition to a more food secure future. A sustained commitment to policy reform by the Eritrean Government will be essential to deliver on the promise of this paper.

Improving Worldwide Emergency Assessment and Response Systems: We will work closely with the World Food Program (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), other UN agencies, and leading international NGOs to continue to improve global emergency assessment and agricultural information systems in order to estimate more accurately food aid and non-food needs and enable emergency assistance to reach the areas and groups that need it most. During 2004, we will support field testing of improvements to emergency needs assessment systems in two Southern African countries. We urge the international community to meet fully the emergency assistance needs, including non-food items, in the Horn of Africa and other famine-prone regions, and will do our part to achieve that objective.

Raising Agricultural Productivity in Food Insecure Countries and Promoting Rural Development, Especially in Africa: We applaud the renewed attention by donors, international institutions, NGOs, and developing countries to these crucial issues, in particular the significant increase in the agricultural and rural development activities of the World Bank and the FAO and the innovative irrigation and agricultural technology programs financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

We will focus our institutional capacity building to help food insecure countries, particularly in Africa, develop agricultural science and technology, raise agriculture productivity, and meet international food safety standards. We will strengthen local and regional agricultural markets and work with governments to improve access for poor farmers to productive resources such as land, credit, agricultural inputs and services, and technology. We will encourage private investment, foster sub-regional growth, promote the use of geo-spatial data, and explore famine-risk schemes. To promote agricultural science and research, we will enhance institutional capacity to utilize science and technology through links between universities. Together we will advance a vision of a "second green revolution" adapted to African conditions that would raise agricultural productivity, promote hardier crops for healthier people, and make food insecurity in Africa a thing of the past.

The attached Action Plan provides details on these initiatives.




I. Breaking the Cycle of Famine and Increasing Agricultural Productivity in the Horn of Africa

With a population of almost 150 million, recurring conflict, and an average per capita annual income of less than $220, the Horn of Africa presents a compelling case for attention. For more than two decades, nearly half of Ethiopia's 68 million people have experienced some degree of food insecurity and malnutrition. Approximately five million are "chronically food insecure", i.e., unable at some time in any year to secure an adequate supply of food for survival. Millions more face hunger or food insecurity in Eritrea, Somalia, and the Sudan.

Since Evian, G-8 aid agencies and other donors have worked closely under Ethiopian Government leadership to design and support a "productive safety net." The safety net will protect the assets of chronically food-insecure families, enhance the functioning of food markets, and support urgent rural investments. Within three to five years, this safety net should provide an alternative to emergency assistance for the Ethiopians who are chronically food insecure.

The completion of Eritrea's interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper could offer a basis for a concrete dialogue with its development partners on initiatives to support a transition to a more food secure future. A sustained commitment to policy reform by the Eritrean Government will be essential to deliver on the promise of this paper. G-8 members are prepared to support such a commitment by strengthening assistance to projects targeting agricultural development in Eritrea, including in the area of water distribution.

G-8 members will take the following actions in close coordination with each other, governments in the region, and all relevant stakeholders:

* We will work with the New Coalition for Food Security in Ethiopia to give unified support to the Government's nascent structural reform effort. G-8 and other donors have worked with the Government of Ethiopia to develop an alternative to emergency food aid which should cover more than five million people over three years. We will work with the Government and other donors to realize the Government's goal of attaining food security for five million chronically food insecure people by 2009.

* We will cooperate closely with the Ethiopian Government to address the problems of the most vulnerable groups. Our aid agencies will monitor closely the implementation of the safety net and will coordinate on effective approaches for targeting populations and regions.

* We will help accelerate land reform and strengthen land tenure for all Ethiopians, including vulnerable groups, by supporting the Government's plan to establish a system of user rights inthe context of its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Working with all stakeholders, G-8 countries and other donors will fund the rollout of a transparent user right system in two states in 2004, three more in 2005, and a final two states in 2006. Land reform will increase incentives for farmers to invest in their land and increase agricultural productivity.

* We will expand our support for rural infrastructure development in the Horn, including social infrastructure, soil fertility, and water management programs. In Ethiopia, this support will take place under the safety net program and will focus on farm-to-market or feeder roads. We will work with the World Bank to increase the number of activities under its Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility. Through these collective efforts, we aim to help the Government meet or exceed the road building goals set out in its PRSP. Developing rural infrastructure helps mitigate food insecurity by connecting food surplus and food deficit regions and enabling the Government and donors to more easily access people in need. Assisting the health and education sectors and building the capacity of institutions and civil society organizations brings a multiplier effect to the wider economy.

* We will unleash the power of markets through cash-for-work and cash-for-relief programs and working with business associations and cooperatives to expand private participation in market development. Our aid agencies will work with the World Bank and the Government of Ethiopia to complete an Action Plan for improving market and trade infrastructure by June 2005. This plan should include trade information systems, building private sector trade capacity, and access to micro-finance and rural credit.

* We will work to expand access for Ethiopian farmers to improved agricultural technologies and add value to farmers' production through innovations in processing, packaging, and shipping.

* We will facilitate regional economic integration and debt relief to mitigate threats of famine and strengthen rural economies as has occurred in other regions of Africa. We will coordinate our trade capacity building assistance to support Ethiopia's full integration into the COMESA Free Trade Agreement as soon as feasible and stand ready to assist Ethiopia in its negotiations to join the WTO.

* As we pursue these initiatives we will continue to improve donor coordination so as to contribute to the goal of breaking the cycle of famine in the Horn.

II. Improving Worldwide Emergency Assessment and Response Systems

Emergency assistance, both food and non-food, continues to play a crucial, short-term role in combating food insecurity. In recent years, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan have been among the world's largest recipients of emergency food assistance. Although harvests improved in

2003-04, substantial emergency assistance will still be required for Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan, in part because of political instability and displacement of populations due to conflicts.

* We will monitor closely the WFP's estimates of food aid needs in the Horn of Africa.

* Working with other donors, we will do our part to ensure that emergency needs, including food, are met.

Our aid agencies are collaborating on efforts to harmonize methodology for collecting data on national nutrition and mortality levels and responding effectively. When operational, these initiatives will give donors reliable new tools to target more quickly and accurately emergency assistance.

Acting individually and collectively, G-8 members will take the following actions:

* Support national efforts to improve data collection and monitoring systems and enhance capacity to respond to emergency food crisis in line with the NEPAD initiative on Stimulating an Agriculture Renaissance in Support of Food Security in Africa presented at the April 2004 meeting of the African Partnership Forum in Maputo.

* Continue to work closely with the WFP and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to improve global food emergency assessment methodologies and response systems. G-8 countries will support the piloting of the improved assessment process in two Southern African countries this year.

* Support the International Food Policy and Research Institute's "Strategic Analysis Knowledge Support System" for agricultural and market analysis.

* Support improvement of international needs assessment initiatives such as the WFP/FAO common approach and the Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) Initiative. The G-8 will support further activities to improve needs assessment and monitoring of famine and food security. This will include the establishment of a multi-partner experts' panel to review standards of practice for vulnerability assessments and food security and the development of online information systems to disseminate information on vulnerable areas, needs assessments, and the impact of assistance operations.

* We will support the development of regional strategies for disaster prevention and emergency management covering policy instruments, institutional responses and safety mechanisms.

* Where possible and appropriate, we will consider the local or regional purchase of relief and food items.

* We will work to ensure coherence among our policies, including development, trade and agricultural policies that may affect famine, agricultural productivity and rural development in food insecure countries.

* We will work to ensure that the outcome of the re-negotiation of the Food Aid Convention promotes good food aid practices and improved assessments based on the needs of beneficiaries in food insecure countries.

* We will work with other governments and stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the World Food Summit and the World Food Summit: Five Years Later.

* To improve early warning systems, we will share technologies and data to develop food security maps and improve donor and government capacity to collect geo-spatial data.

III. Boosting Agricultural Productivity and Rural Development in Food Insecure Countries, Especially in Africa

We welcome the high priority Africans place on increasing agricultural productivity as evidenced by the recent, successful Africa 2020 Conference in Uganda. Raising agricultural productivity and promoting broad-based rural development are two of the long-term keys to reducing the threat of malnutrition and child mortality, increasing incomes, and stimulating overall economic growth in food insecure countries. These challenges are multifaceted, requiring reforms of domestic agricultural, social, economic, and development policies with the full participation of civil society. They demand integrating food and nutrition insecure countries into the world economy, decentralizing decision making, expanding access to credit, empowering women, harnessing the power of science and technology, unleashing the power of markets, and improving rural economic and social infrastructure.

We strongly support the significant increase in the World Bank's agricultural and rural development activities, including lending, agricultural research and the rural development strategy "Reaching the Rural Poor." We encourage the World Bank to include an assessment of recipient country agricultural policy performance in Country Assistance Strategies where agriculture is a significant economic sector, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. We commit to supporting efforts by Africans to create a positive and sustainable per capita agricultural output growth rate in Sub Saharan Africa by 2007.

G-8 members are supporting a range of programs to promote agricultural productivity and rural development in African and other countries. Our activities are built on the clear lessons of the past, including the importance of a transparent and supportive domestic policy environment; building capacity to implement agricultural and development policy; regional cooperation in support of agricultural growth; participation of all stakeholders; coordination between and a long-term commitment by donors; and local ownership of programs.

Acting individually and collectively, G8 members will:

* Focus our institutional capacity building, including in the field of trade facilitation, to help food insecure countries, particularly in Africa, develop agricultural science and technology, raise agriculture productivity, and meet international food safety standards. We will examine the potential of improving education and literacy for farmers to enable them to better utilize existing agricultural technology and equipment.

* Sponsor in cooperation with the AU, NEPAD, and other relevant organizations a public-private forum in the second half of 2004 aimed at offering concrete solutions to the challenges of raising agricultural productivity, especially for the rural poor. We will explore ways of improving farming techniques and raising yields through improving investment climates, disseminating appropriate and practically usable agricultural technology, identifying research needs, infrastructure and knowledge bottlenecks, and trade capacity gaps.

* Establish food and nutrition security scholars programs to expand training in agricultural science and technology for researchers, scientists, and policy makers in developing countries. These programs will address the critical role science and technology plays in raising agricultural productivity in an environmentally sustainable way consistent with local needs.

* Foster partnership relationships between agricultural institutes and agriculture departments in our universities and their counterparts in food-insecure countries, including by linking national programs into sub-regional and regional networks.

* Support work of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and others that will channel more effectively resources allocated to research and development of drought, pest, and disease-resistant staple crops for use in developing countries. We will also support initiatives on staple Africa food crops, including the Pan Africa Cassava Initiative, the Global Cassava Partnership and the Pan Africa Nerica initiative. These initiatives, carried out in a responsible manner and respecting biodiversity protection, should result in "hardier crops for healthier people."

* Assist developing countries in producing and gaining access to geo-spatial information for land-use planning, land cover analysis, agricultural assessments, and environmental monitoring.

* Promote increased use of local and regional commercial markets to meet food needs in famine prone countries and reduce dependence on food aid.

* Support the organization of community level associations, including agricultural cooperatives, to provide farmers in food insecure areas with up-to-date information on government policies, useful technologies, and micro finance options.

* Coordinate in supporting the African Forum for Agricultural Research (FARA) and related Subregional Research Organizations (SROs) in East, West and Southern Africa to facilitate the involvement of all stakeholders in identifying research priorities for stimulating agricultural growth and tackling food and nutrition insecurity.

* Review ongoing initiatives and help develop a global consensus on the core building blocks of agricultural productivity that includes increasing yields, secure land tenure, functioning markets, sustainable management of natural resources, and social equity.

* Work with the AU, NEPAD, regional economic organizations, business groups, and relevant international institutions to review and improve the investment environment in Africa and promote private sector links and development.

* Encourage CGIAR to increase its efforts in Africa, and increase funding for challenge programs on "Water and Food" and those others which benefit Africa. Develop at least three new projects with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation. We will also encourage IFAD efforts to improve the access of African farmers to water on a sustainable basis.

* Implement programs of support for regional and national programs aimed at tackling food insecurity and vulnerability in Southern Africa by 2005.

* Support continued exploration of potential market-based famine risk-insurance mechanisms, taking into account work done by the World Bank and WFP.