Editorial, Opinion Pieces, Blogs Address Hunger Summit Held In London On Sunday

The following editorial, opinion pieces, and blog posts address a hunger summit hosted by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron at the conclusion of the Olympic Games in London on Sunday.

  • The Guardian’s “Comment is Free”: “It requires an Olympian suspension of disbelief to take at face value David Cameron’s … hunger summit just hours before the Games’ closing ceremony,” the editorial states, adding, “When tackling malnutrition involves photo-opportunities with icons such as Mo Farah and David Beckham, it’s hard not to be skeptical.” The editorial says the “real goal” is not only food security but sustainability, and concludes, “It needs thriving local markets, water management, the preservation of diversity, and support for country-based agricultural research. … It is not quite how Mr. Cameron is selling it, but passing the challenge to a country that is making real progress on hunger and rural poverty might be just what’s needed” (8/10).
  • David Bull, Telegraph opinion piece: “To some it may seem like a cruel irony that this global summit is to take place amid the glare of the Olympic Games; the contrast between athletes at the peak of fitness who can push the boundaries of reason with their bodies and minds; and the plight of children suffering from stunting whose dreams may never see the light of day, is painful to acknowledge,” Bull, executive director of UNICEF U.K. writes. “I can only hope that this brutal disparity will help to sharpen the minds of those who will sit around the decision making table on Sunday,” he continues, concluding, “I applaud David Cameron for making this meeting happen, and I hope it will be the start of a real global push to tackle the issue” (8/10).
  • Gordon Conway, Huffington Post opinion piece: “As the Olympics draw to a close, there is no doubt that the champions of London 2012 will leave a legacy of achievements that inspires large numbers of young people to fulfill their personal potential,” but “for 200 million children in the world, a very different legacy is in prospect,” Conway, a professor of international development at Imperial College London and director of Agriculture for Impact, writes. “We need commitments that will build on and raise the ambition of existing initiatives such as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, and we also need political leadership that will deliver long-term commitment to this agenda” he continues. He concludes, “While the lasting effects of the London Games will benefit many young people in the years to come, a long-term legacy to tackle child malnutrition would help create a level playing field for every child around the world” (11/8).
  • Justin Forsyth, the Guardian’s “Comment is Free”: “I am glad that, amid all the wonderful celebration of sporting achievement, world leaders have been able to use the London games as an opportunity to think about helping children who are without the most basic means of building a productive life: adequate, nutritious food,” Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, writes. “We can’t afford to wait: research shows that acute malnutrition is actually on the rise for the first time in a decade,” he continues, concluding, “Meaningful action on hunger, kick-started here in London in 2012, could be the real legacy of our Olympics; that prize would be worth its weight in gold” (8/12).
  • Anja Tranovich, Huffington Post’s “Impact Blog”: “As U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron uses this last day of the Olympics to shift our collective attention and rare international unity toward combatting hunger with the Hunger Summit, we should look at food security initiatives that both make sense and work,” Tranovich, an editor and media relations specialist at ACDI/VOCA, a nonprofit development organization, writes. “We might start with the 500 million smallholder farmers feeding two billion of the world’s poorest,” and “then focus on Africa, which perennially manifests dire food needs but paradoxically offers about 60 percent of the world’s available cropland,” she continues. She highlights the Kenya Maize Development Program (KMDP), implemented with USAID funding, and adds, “Helping smallholders — like those growing maize in Kenya — increase production is localized, smart development” (8/12).
  • Andrew Wander, Al Jazeera opinion piece: Sunday’s summit aims “to leave an Olympic legacy that transcends sport, saving the lives of thousands of the world’s poorest children before the next Games in Rio in four years’ time,” Wander, Save the Children’s media manager for humanitarian emergencies, writes. Wander highlights the food crisis in Niger, writing, “Niger needs long-term projects aimed at tackling the drivers of malnutrition — lack of social protection, over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture and a rapidly growing population — as well as short-term emergency relief.” He continues, “If delegates at the Olympic hunger summit are going to make a real difference, the reality faced by the people of [Niger], and places like it around the world, must be understood.” He concludes, “The current approach of responding only to acute periods of crisis must be seen for what it is — too little, too late” (8/12).

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