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My Foreign Policy column this week suggests that in the Twenty-First Century, famines can only occur with the active engagement of local leadership – taking away food from producers and/or denying access to agencies delivering emergency relief. In Somalia, the leadership that is denying access is al-Shabab – the group in control of the areas of the country where famine has already begun.
I don’t mean to let donors off the hook. They should have responded earlier and with greater generosity to a situation that has developed over months, to ensure that the lack of outside assistance would never be the binding constraint to preventing death by starvation. But at the moment that isn’t the biggest constraint. Al-Shabab is the biggest constraint. And its leaders should be held to account.
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) have teamed up with Democratic colleagues Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to introduce new legislation that would reform US international food aid to deliver more help to more people in crisis, faster.
As donors gather next week in Rome to pledge funds to the International Fund for Agriculture Development , they may be wondering where the United States is. Given the generally high marks this independent fund earns for development effectiveness, the uncertainty around a US pledge is troubling. In this “America First” moment, it’s worth asking when it comes to IFAD, what’s in it for the United States and what will be lost if the United States drops out?
One of the mysteries of development economics is why more people in subsistence agriculture don't migrate to cities where incomes are much, much higher. New data suggests one answer: when they move, their incomes may not go up as much as we thought.
Members of the World Trade Organization will be meeting next week in Buenos Aires to discuss the future of agricultural and other trade policies that could have important implications for food security and jobs in developing countries (eventually). And members of the US House and Senate agricultural committees will be meeting through next year to craft a new five-year farm bill that will help shape global markets and determine how much and how quickly US food aid can be delivered to people in desperate need around the world.