Children going hungry in a world of surplus is the scandal of our age. As British prime minister David Cameron starts preparing for June's G8 summit, ActionAid, as part of the Enough IF coalition, is calling on the UK to lead action to help end world hunger. Bringing together more than 100 charitable organisations, Enough IF will lead the biggest UK public mobilisation on the issue since Make Poverty History in 2005, when the country last hosted the G8.
And the time to act is now. The global food price crisis of 2007-08 created a record world total of 1.02 billion hungry people. Today, 868 million people are still going hungry.
ActionAid's work with poorer communities highlights the devastation hunger has inflicted on people's daily lives. The crisis meant families eating less nutritious food, cutting consumption of milk, meat and vegetables and often having only one meal a day. Women's unpaid care burden has increased and they tend to get less to eat.
Even in the UK, sharp rises in the numbers of people using food banks show that developed countries have also been hit by failures in the global food system and the management of economies. Urgent measures to tackle the underlying causes of hunger in poorer parts of the world are thus relevant to tackling - not neglecting - problems affecting British families too.
It is crucial that governments meet their pledges to deliver life-saving aid and reach the internationally agreed target of 0.7% of Gross National Income to be spent on aid. The Prime Minister deserves real credit for his promise to do this, as it will make an enormous difference in saving lives and helping people feed themselves in the future. This is a key campaign ask.
The UK, as one of the richest countries in the world, has the power and resources to act both at home and abroad. We do not have to choose between the two. And, central to the IF Campaign, we must also tackle some of the systemic causes of hunger.
Effective international action is needed to deal with tax dodging by multinational companies. In a time of economic austerity and with rising public concern over this problem in the UK and Europe, tax dodging imposes massive costs on the world's poorer nations where the need for public finance to tackle challenges such as hunger can be a matter of life and death.
The world's small-scale farmers - the majority of whom are women - also need support. History shows public spending on small scale agriculture in developing countries is highly effective in driving growth and reducing poverty. After decades of plummeting aid for agriculture, donor governments have moved since the food price crises to increase support, but this is not enough to meet needs and eliminate world hunger.
The G8 must also recognise the need for decisive action to halt the damage caused by biofuels. Policies and subsidies encouraging land-based crops producing fuel for cars rather than food for people make no sense when tackling either world hunger or global energy security.
Evidence of biofuels' contribution to rising and volatile food prices is so compelling that the G8 should support efforts to adopt the recommendation by ten major international bodies in 2011 that they be abolished. And as biofuels production is a significant cause of 'land grabs', the G8 should pledge support in June for efforts to ensure land laws and agricultural investment are transparent and accountable to protect the rights of poor rural communities.
The 2013 G8 summit will be a test of how David Cameron will sustain UK leadership on international development and instil it with further ambition. Building a movement of millions to pressure leaders to act and ensuring governments and companies do the right thing is a crucial part of IF's equation of change.
There is enough food to feed us all. That is, Enough IF we join the movement now to create an end to hunger.
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