On a day when the Prime Minister is leading the news bulletins by pledging a referendum to ask whether the UK should remain in the EU, 100 aid and development organisations are asking the Government to answer a less headline-grabbing but vitally important question. Why do nearly a billion people go to bed hungry in a world where there is enough food for everyone?
A host of charities and faith organisations have joined forces to launch 'Enough Food for Everyone IF' - a new campaign to urge the UK to take a lead in tackling global hunger. It's the biggest joint campaign of its kind on international poverty issues since Make Poverty History eight years ago.
One in eight people go to bed hungry at night and over two million children die from malnutrition every year, yet the world produces enough food to feed us all. So how did we get in this mess, and how can we get out of it?
The global financial crash of 2008 led to an increase in food prices and economic insecurity, and also contributed to a global land-grabbing rush. These factors, coupled with the effects of climate change on agriculture and the land demands of biofuels production, have deepened the global hunger crisis.
The campaign calls on the Prime Minister to use the UK's G8 presidency in 2013 to take action on the root causes of the hunger crisis in the poorest countries. The 'IF' movement challenges the Prime Minister to tackle 4 big 'ifs', arguing that there is enough food for everyone:
IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.
IF governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.
IF governments close loopholes to stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
IF we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.
Taking action on the 'corporation tax gap' by multinational companies would enable developing countries to raise enough revenue every day to save the lives of 230 children under 5 currently dying because of malnutrition.
Islamic Relief is supporting this campaign because as Muslims we are challenged to stand up for the hungry and the oppressed - and we want Muslims and mosques throughout the UK to get involved. This is a year when we really can make a positive difference by working together to challenge our leaders. If they listen to us, we can make hunger a thing of the past.