Secretary of State Clinton Announces Food Security Initiative

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday “unveiled … a food security initiative launched by the Obama administration to combat hunger worldwide,” the Associated Press reports. “Clinton spoke about a new approach from the Obama administration in dealing with hunger issues — a food security initiative that attempts to help people around the world grow, buy and sell the food they need instead of focusing primarily on emergency food aid in times of crisis,” the news service writes.

“Food security is not just about food, but it is all about security, economic security, environmental security, even national security,” Clinton said. “Massive hunger poses a threat to the stability of governments, societies and borders” (Hajela, 9/26).

The new initiative will help farmers to invest in technology and infrastructure to help “make agriculture ‘more productive and profitable’ in developing countries,” Agence France-Presse reports. According to AFP, Clinton said the department would request additional funding for agriculture in the future and pledged “long-term commitment and accountability to our efforts” (9/26).

A Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal column examines Clinton’s remarks that women would be “at the heart of the U.S. government’s food security initiative.”

“We’ve seen again and again that women are entrepreneurial, accountable and practical. They invest earnings directly in family and communities and pay back loans at a higher rate than the norm. Women are a good investment,” Clinton said (Banjo, 9/25).

Clinton made the food announcement during closing remarks to wrap up the four-day Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which is headed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton (AP, 9/26).

CGI raised over $8 billion in pledges over the course of the summit, “surprising its organizers who had worried that the recession would lower the level of support,” Reuters/Washington Post reports. “The new commitments include plans to increase female employment in Africa, expand micro-insurance and distribute vaccines that would prevent cervical cancer,” the news service writes (Geller, 9/25).

The Baltimore Business Journal reports on the plans of the non-profit health organization Jhpiego to invest $5 million to reduce the high-blood pressure disorder eclampsia in developing countries. According to the newspaper, the disorder “kills 50,000 women in developing nations every year.” As unveiled during CGI, Jhpiego will invest the money in 20 countries with the highest mortality associated with eclampsia (Dash, 9/25).

Also, UNICEF, CGI and Zinc Industry have committed to boosting “the survival, growth and development of children through improved zinc intake,”
VOA News reports. Zinc deficiency is thought to contribute to 450,000 child deaths annually. UNICEF also made other commitments including to improve infant survival rates and to combat sexual violence against women and girls, according to VOA (Mpuga, 9/26).

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