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New State Department Office Set to Lead Attack on Global Hunger

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The Cincinnati Enquirer recently ran a section dedicated to "good news." Featured was Meghan Marth of Sycamore High School, founding a club to help children in Uganda. There was also Olivia Morris of Indian Hill High School setting up a global hunger awareness event.

These stories were more than inspirational reading. They were displays of awesome organizational capability.

The type of coordination and dedication shown by these activists at the grassroots level is needed also at the highest levels of government. That is why news of the opening of the Global Hunger and Food Security office at the State Department is so encouraging.

Laura Rozen of Politico broke the story earlier this week. The new office, which opens in May, could not come at a more critical time. More than one billion people are suffering from hunger worldwide.

This is clearly a grave humanitarian concern. It is also one of national security, something Josette Sheeran of the UN World Food Programme discussed last year at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The new State Department office has to bring the struggle against global hunger to the forefront of American foreign policy. No longer can it be relegated to just an important side issue, for hunger and malnutrition are devastating to America’s foreign policy goals in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti and many other countries.

In Yemen, due to low funding, the World Food Programme (WFP) has been forced to reduce rations for people displaced by conflict. Some child feeding programs have been cut completely.

There has been no WFP school feeding distribution in Yemen since June of last year because of lack of international donations. There may be a limited distribution in April, but then that's it. Stocks will be depleted. Stability is what we want in Yemen, but that will never happen if hunger runs rampant in that country.

In Iraq, a WFP school feeding program was scheduled to start in April for 900,000 children.  It will be put on hold until September now, assuming it receives enough funding.

Low funding is also forcing ration cuts for WFP school feeding programs in Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritania.  Afghanistan, Sudan, and so many other countries also have their own struggles with food shortages and starving, malnourished children.

The food crisis is so massive that effective coordination is needed not only in the U.S. government, but also among the international community. The new State Department office on global hunger and food security is moving in to assume that responsibility.  It's time for action.

See also: Secretary Clinton Calls for Action to End Global Hunger

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • http://www.friendsofwfp.org/donate Blake Parker

    This is good news. I will be interested in seeing what the State Department does. They could be very effective with the issue of hunger and may even lead the International community in addressing the problem. It bothers me that 10 children die every minute somewhere in the world from hunger or a hunger related illness. The cost of a cup of coffee can feed about 6 children in a school meals program for a day through the World Food Programme. The cost of one cup of coffee each day for a month can feed a child for an entire year. I think I could go without one cup of coffee a day for a month so a kid could eat a meal once a day for a year.