Costello, Gilchrist urge CHOGM leaders to hit hunger for six
Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist and World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello today urged leaders attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this week in Perth to step up to the plate and address world hunger.
At an event today in Perth, Mr Gilchrist and Rev Costello presented Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd with a giant paper plate on behalf of more than 50,000 Australians who signed postcards calling on CHOGM leaders to step up to the plate on child malnutrition.
“More than 7,500 children under the age of five die every day because they do not have access to enough of the right types of food,” Rev Costello said.
“With more than half of all under-five child deaths occurring in Commonwealth countries, we’re urging leaders attending CHOGM to make a firm commitment to improve food security and nutrition for the world’s poor.”
Rev Costello also launched a new report by World Vision: Island Nation or Global Citizen: Solving the Food Crisis by Helping Small Scale Farmers. The report shows there are 430 million small farms in the developing world who hold the key to solving the world food crisis. It says half of the world’s undernourished live on these farms.
“If leaders here at CHOGM and at the G20 provided better support to these farmers as part of a wider global strategy they could put our fight against hunger back on track. And Australia with its agriculture expertise can play a leading role,” Rev Costello said.
“Innovative technologies created for Australian farmers can be modified for smaller farmers overseas. These technologies include water saving technologies, alternative energy farm technologies, and crop development for dry conditions.”
The report found that since 2005 the prices of staple foods have skyrocketed including: wheat (up 186 percent), rice (up 252 percent), sorghum (up 191 percent) and barley (up 174 percent).
The report says Ghana is the perfect example of where investment in agriculture, particularly cocoa farmers, has made a big difference. Agricultural growth in Ghana has accompanied rapid poverty reduction and has seen child malnutrition halved in just over 20 years.
World Vision has pushed for food and agriculture to be a focus of CHOGM and is making four recommendations to the G20 to facilitate improved food security and nutrition for the world’s poor:
- Provide increased and better coordinated support for small scale farmers.
- Work with governments, the UN, civil society and the private sector to develop a global strategy and mechanisms that ensure early and effective response to prevent acute food insecurity and malnutrition.
- Ensure that agriculture and food security policies and programs include improved nutrition outcomes for women and children as a key objective.
- Implement systems and mechanisms that reduce extreme and volatile food prices by increasing market transparency and reducing the impact of biofuels on food prices.
To arrange interviews with Tim Costello please contact Head of Public Affairs and External Relations Martin Thomas on 0400 454 695.
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