Seize the chance to help a billion people escape hunger

    
    -  World Vision calls on G20 leaders to push forward commitments to end
       hunger
    -  Children in poor communities affected most by food insecurity
    

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 22 /CNW/ - World leaders gathering at the United Nations and G20 meetings this week have a unique opportunity to help a billion people escape hunger, say policy experts at World Vision.

"Many leaders don't see the faces behind global hunger. What we see every day as a grassroots child-focused organization are children whose development has been stunted because of inadequate nutrition. At least a third of all childhood deaths are a direct result of malnutrition," said Chris Derksen-Hiebert, World Vision's director for advocacy and education.

One in six people in the world go to bed hungry, the vast majority of whom are women and children. A US$20 billion promise by the G8 leaders to the poor to improve access to food over the next three years could help change that. The World Hunger Initiative was proposed in July at the G8 Summit and the world leaders meeting this week have been tasked to flesh out the details of the plan and firm up commitments to make this a reality.

Most G20 countries, the African Union and several multilateral organizations endorsed the World Hunger Initiative's comprehensive approach to hunger and malnutrition. Canada has announced that food security is a priority theme for it international aid program and pledged $600 million as part of its food security initiative.

"We call on Canada to deliver on its food security promise and pressure other G8 leaders to do the same by putting this proposal into action with solid policies and guaranteed funding. Without that, it's just another summit and just another empty promise," Derksen-Hiebert said.

In particular, World Vision wants to see concrete measures to support poor small-scale farmers - the majority of whom are women - to sustainably increase and diversify household food production and enhance incomes in order to improve nutrition for women and children under five. Policies and funding should also be in place so that food assistance in emergencies meets the particular nutritional requirements of pregnant and lactating women and small children.

Leaders debating environmental policies this week must also consider the impact of climate change on food security for the poor. World Vision has seen its impact in poor communities where we work - in the form of more frequent, damaging storms and erratic rainfall - which has led to poor crop yields and increased food insecurity, deadlier cycles of flooding and drought, increased conflicts due to decreasing water and arable land resources, and other climate-related disasters.

"Ongoing climate change will affect the poor the most - especially children. Children are more likely than adults to perish during natural disasters or succumb to malnutrition, injuries or disease in the aftermath," Derksen-Hiebert said.

"Altered weather patterns and more frequent natural disasters are already taking a toll on families' food sources, and the ones that will suffer the most are children," said Derksen-Hiebert.

"It is essential that these are considered and that global policies include adequate funding to help poor communities adapt to the effect of changing weather patterns."

    
    Note to the editors:

      -  World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy
         organization dedicated to working with children, families and
         communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves
         all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

      -  The Group of Twenty (G20) leaders will meet in Pittsburgh,
         Pennsylvania on September 24 and 25. This year, U.S. President
         Barack Obama will be hosting the event, to discuss further actions
         needed for a solid recovery from global economic and financial
         crisis, along with other global issues such as climate change and
         food security.

      -  The 64th session of the UN General Assembly began on September 15 in
         New York. The annual general debate, which features statements by
         heads of state and government as well as ministers, will be held
         from September 23 until September 30. There will also be a World
         Summit on Climate Change convened by the UN Secretary-General on
         September 22.
    

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information: For further information: For interviews with World Vision policy experts, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@WorldVision.ca; Alex Sancton, (905) 565-6200 ext. 3949, (416) 419-1321 (cell), alex_sancton@WorldVision.ca


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