SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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THE WORLD HUNGER CRISIS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA, GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
MAY 25, 2006
Serial No. 109191
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
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Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationalrelations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey,
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
DARRELL ISSA, California
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTHADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan
KATHERINE HARRIS, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
J. GRESHAM BARRETT, South Carolina
CONNIE MACK, Florida
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
MICHAEL McCAUL, Texas
TED POE, Texas
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
DENNIS A. CARDOZA, California
RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California,
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDIANE E. WATSON, California
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MARY M. NOONAN, Subcommittee Staff Director
GREG SIMPKINS, Subcommittee Professional Staff Member
NOELLE LUSANE, Democratic Professional Staff Member
SHERI A. RICKERT, Subcommittee Professional Staff Member and Counsel
LINDSEY M. PLUMLEY, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
Mr. James T. Morris, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Program
The Honorable Michael E. Hess, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development
The Honorable Tony P. Hall, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture
Mr. Sean Callahan, Vice President, Overseas Operations, Catholic Relief Services
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Gabriel Laizer, Beneficiary of School Feeding Program, Tanzania
Mr. Gawain Kripke, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam America
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in Congress from the State of New Jersey, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations: Prepared statement
Mr. James T. Morris: Prepared statement
The Honorable Barbara Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of California: Prepared statement
The Honorable Michael E. Hess: Prepared statement
The Honorable Tony P. Hall: Prepared statement
Mr. Sean Callahan: Prepared statement
Mr. Gabriel Laizer: Prepared statement
Mr. Gawain Kripke: Prepared statement
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Responses from the Honorable Tony P. Hall to questions submitted for the record by the Honorable Barbara Lee
Responses from Mr. Gawain Kripke to questions submitted for the record by the Honorable Barbara Lee
THE WORLD HUNGER CRISIS
THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2006
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights
and International Operations,
Committee on International Relations,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:03 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building. Hon. Christopher H. Smith (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. SMITH. The Subcommittee will convene, and we are actually doing this in two parts. We will begin first with a briefing, and we are delighted to have a distinguished representative of the United Nations here to speak to us, and we will then convene a hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today our Subcommittee is examining the enormous need for food around the world, particularly in Subsaharan Africa, which has the greatest need. As an essential element for life the assurance of food availability must necessarily be a focal point of our humanitarian assistance, and at the forefront of our interventions on behalf of those in the greatest need.
While the extent of that need can at times be overwhelming, we must keep in mind the verses of Matthew 25, when our Lord said, ''As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did likewise to me.'' And he also said in that same passage that whatever you didn't do to the least of my brethren, you likewise did to me.
Sean Callahan, the Vice President of Overseas Operations for Catholic Relief Services, will say in his testimony later on in this hearing that we face a severe challenge in responding to the grim requirements posed by global hunger.
The United Nations, as he points out, estimates that 852 million people are undernourished worldwide. According to the USDA, 83 million people live on less than eleven hundred calories a day. Six million people will die of hunger-related causes this year alone.
According to the United Nations, 25,000 people a day die of hunger-related causes. They are too weak to fight off flu, or the effects of diarrhea. There are underweight infants and overwhelmed mothers. They die quietly off camera, unnoticed by the rest of the world.
Last year, I, along with Greg Simpkins, of our Africa Subcommittee staff, visited Kalma and Mukjar refugee camps in South and West Darfur. We saw firsthand how food aid was making a profound difference between life and death for the thousands of people in those camps.
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We spoke with many people whose lives have been utterly devastated by the ravages of war, but who are keeping hope alive thanks to the gifts of the international humanitarian aid and food aid.
However, our visits to these camps raise a question that I hope will be answered in today's hearing. What is the Government of Sudan, as well as other developing country governments, going to do about contributing to the elimination of hunger by opening their own stocks of food, or by facilitating rather than hampering, the delivery of food to hungry people in their countries?
We all remember how Mengistu used to put a level on food and grains coming into his country during the crisis in Ethiopia previously. In the Sudan, the government has not only failed to contribute to the feeding of its own people, but has actually interfered with the supply of food to those in need in the Darfur camps like the ones we visited. Moreover, the government of Sudan placed a commercial embargo on Kalma camp while we were there that prevented the sale of food and other items, necessary items, to those to be able to buy them in the camps themselves.
We in the developed world should help feed those in need, but it is also the responsibility of the governments in question to respond to the needs of their own people, and more pressure needs to be brought to bear there.
The United Nations World Food Program has announced that almost 731,000 metric tons of food will be needed this year to feed the 6.1 million people caught in the conflict in Southern Sudan and Darfur.
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Over 89,000 metric tons is needed in Eastern Chad for Sudanese refugees. Chadian nationals adversely affected by the influx of refugees, and a contingency reserve of 6 months for the refugees.
An estimated 6.25 million people in the Horn of Africa face a severe humanitarian crisis this year, resulting primarily from successive seasons of failed rains in that region.
The World Food Program has sent out appeals for approximately 1.6 million metric tons of food for the Horn of Africa and the rest of Subsahara. This does not include, of course, the emergency food aid needs of people in other parts of the world, including Haiti, North Korea, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, to name a few.
It is important to keep in mind that behind these mindboggling numbers are real men, women, and children, people like you and me, individuals who are suffering not only from the present pangs of hunger, but who will have to live with the long term effects of mal- and under-nutrition.
There are also those for whom the lack of food exacerbates the cruel effects of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, thereby increasing the likelihood of death. This is the reason why it is so important for us to examine the crisis of world hunger, and to continue to direct and expand our efforts to address it.
I am proud to say that we as Americans continue our long tradition of compassion and generosity in responding to these needs. But obviously we need to do more as well. The United States is the primary donor of food aid in the world, and the leading donor of food aid in Sudan and Chad.
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The United States Government has contributed a total of $282 million worth of food aid thus far in 2006 to Darfur, and the Sudanese refugees in Chad through the World Food Program and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
This follows contributions totaling $324 million to the same two organizations in 2005 for Sudan and Chad, in addition to 200,000 tons of wheat from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust for Darfur.
The United States is also addressing the nutritional needs of particularly vulnerable populations. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief maximizes leverage with other donors, including USAID and USDA, and the World Food Program, with United States financial support, to address the needs of HIV-affected communities, both in terms of providing direct food assistance, and in addressing the underlying causes of food and security.
We look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses today about the hunger crisis in our world, and what is being done to respond, and recommendations as to how we can respond better.
But we will also consider the contribution that the United States food aid makes to longer term non-emergency development goals, and the corresponding impact that this food aid has on individual lives.
The most recent data indicates that over 4 million children in 26 countries participated in the McGovern-Dole international food for education, and child nutrition programs in fiscal years 2003 and 2004.
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This program has resulted in higher school enrollment, and improved access to education, especially for girls. It is also reported by teachers and program administrators that the FFE program has increased local communities concern for and participation in their children's education.
There is a general improvement in academic performance as children are better able to concentrate after receiving a nutritious school lunch. Both families and the school community benefit from training on food preparation, health, and hygiene.
In this regard, we will have the benefit of hearing today from Mr. Gabriel Laizer, who now works on international development issues for the Alliance to End Hunger, and who started his career as a beneficiary of a feeding program in the primary school in Tanzania.
Finally, my good friend and colleague for many, many years, Tony Hall, former Member of the House, and a distinguished Member from Ohio, who just recently left his position as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, will also be testifying.
He has published a book recently, entitled, Changing the Face of Hunger, which I highly recommend and which recounts many stories from Ambassador Hall's years of confronting hunger, poverty, and oppression, throughout the world.
In his conclusion, he writes:
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''When you show Americans the poor and the hungry, when you connect with them and educate them, and they see the problems themselves, they don't turn their backs. They want to help. They respond.''
''We are a compassionate people,'' he goes on to say, ''a giving people. We care.''
In that spirit of compassion, I would ask my colleagues of Congress to continue to support the 2003 emergency supplemental appropriations of $350 million for food aid, while encouraging other international donors to respond in a likewise generous manner.
We must continue to help, to respond, and in the words of Tony Hall, show that we care. It is my hope and expectation that in this hearing today that we may further educate ourselves, our colleagues in the Congress, and the American public, about the poor and the hungry, that we may respond with compassion that is so desperately needed.
At this time, I would like to yield to my good friend and colleague, Mr. Payne, for any opening comments that he might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Smith follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA, GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS
I am pleased to convene this hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations. The Subcommittee today is examining the enormous need for food aid around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa which has the greatest need. As an essential element for life, the assurance of food availability must necessarily be a focal point of our humanitarian assistance programs and at the forefront of our interventions on behalf of those in the greatest need. While the extent of that need can at times be overwhelming, we must keep in mind the verses of Matthew 25, ''as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,'' and ''as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.''
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Last August, I, along with Greg Simpkins of the Africa Subcommittee staff, visited Kalma and Mukjar refugee camps in South and West Darfur. We saw first hand how food aid was making the difference between life and death for the thousands of people in the camps. We spoke with many people whose lives had been utterly devastated by the ravages of war, but who were keeping hope alive thanks to the gifts of international humanitarian aid and food aid.
However, our visit to these camps raised a question that I hope will be answered in today's hearing. What is the Government of Sudan, as well as other developing country governments, going to do about contributing to the elimination of hunger by opening their own stocks of food or by facilitating, rather than hampering, the delivery of food to hungry people in their countries? In Sudan, the government has not only failed to contribute to the feeding of its own people, but has actually interfered with the supply of food to those in need in the Darfur camps like the ones we visited. Moreover, the Government of Sudan placed a commercial embargo on Kalma camp while we were there that prevented the sale of food and other necessary items to those able to buy them in the camps. We in the developed world should help feed those in need, but it also the responsibility of the governments in question to respond to the needs of their own people.
The UN World Food Program has announced that almost 731,000 metric tons of food will be needed this year to feed the 6.1 million people caught in the conflict in Southern Sudan and Darfur. Over 89,000 metric tons is needed Eastern Chad for Sudanese refugees, Chadian nationals adversely affected by the influx of refugees, and a contingency reserve of six months for the refugees. An estimated 6.25 million people in the Horn of Africa face a severe humanitarian crisis this year resulting primarily from successive seasons of failed rains in that region. The World Food Program has sent out appeals for approximately 1.6 million metric tons of food aid for the Horn of Africa and the rest of the sub-Sahara.
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This does not include, of course, the emergency food needs of peoples in other parts of the world, including Haiti, North Korea, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
It is important to keep in mind that behind these mind-boggling numbers are real men, women and children, people like you and me, individuals who are suffering not only the present pangs of hunger but who will have to live with the long-term effects of mal- and under-nutrition. There are also those for whom the lack of food exacerbates the cruel effects of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, thereby increasing the likelihood of death. This is the reason why it is so important for us to examine the crisis of world hunger, and to continue to direct our efforts to address it.
I am proud to say that we Americans continue our long tradition of compassion and generosity in responding to these needs. The United States is the primary donor of food aid in the world and the leading donor of food aid to Sudan and Chad. The US Government has contributed a total of $282.2 million worth of food aid thus far in FY2006 to Darfur and the Sudanese refugees in Chad through the World Food Program and the International Committee of the Red Cross. This follows contributions totaling $324.5 million to the same two organizations in FY2005 for Sudan and Chad, in addition to 200,000 tons of wheat from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust for Darfur.
The United States is also addressing the nutritional needs of particularly vulnerable populations. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief maximizes leverage with other donors including the USAID, the USDA and the World Food Program (with US financial support) to address the needs of HIV-affected communities, both in terms of providing direct food assistance and in addressing the underlying causes of food insecurity.
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We look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses today about the hunger crises in our world, what is being done to respond, and recommendations as to how we can respond better. But we will also consider the contribution that U.S. food aid makes to longer-term, non-emergency development goals and the corresponding impact that this food aid has on individual lives. The most recent data available indicates that over 4 million children in 26 countries participated in the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program in fiscal years 2003 and 2004. This program has resulted in higher school enrollment and improved access to education, especially for girls.
It is also reported by teachers and program administrators that the FFE program has increased local communities' concern for and participation in their children's education. There is a general improvement in academic performance as children are better able to concentrate after receiving a nutritious school lunch. Both families and the school community benefit from training on food preparation, health and hygiene. In this regard, we will have the benefit of hearing today from Mr. Gabriel Laizer, who now works on international development issues for the Alliance to End Hunger and who started his career as a beneficiary of a feeding program in his primary school in Arusha, Tanzania.
My good friend Tony Hall, a former Member of Congress who just recently left his position as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture, will also be testifying. He has published a book recently entitled, ''Changing the Face of Hunger,'' which I highly recommend, and which recounts many stories from Ambassador Hall's years of confronting hunger, poverty and oppression throughout the world. In his conclusion, he writes, ''when you show Americans the poor and the hungrywhen you connect with them and educate them and they see the problems themselvesthey don't turn their backs. They want to help. They respond. We are a compassionate people, a giving people. We care.''
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In that spirit of compassion, I would ask my colleagues in Congress to continue to support the FY2006 emergency supplemental appropriation of $350 million for food aid. While encouraging other international donors to respond in a likewise generous manner, we must continue to help, to respond, to show that we care.
It is my hope and expectation that with this hearing today, we may further educate ourselves, our colleagues in Congress and the American people about the poor and the hungry, and we may respond with the compassion that they so desperately need.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for calling this very important hearing on food security, and I welcome all of the panelists also; to Mr. Morris, from the United Nations World Food Program, who is doing an outstanding job on the world hunger crisis, and of course, as the Chairman indicated; to Tony Hall, one of our former colleagues, who has long been a champion for fighting against hunger while he was here in the Congress, and then as the Ambassador to the World Food Program.
He has done an outstanding job and I had the opportunity to meet with him in Rome several months ago, where he was still pushing for more assistance from around the world. And to the other panelists, we appreciate the world that you and your organizations do.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this very important hearing on the world hunger crisis, and the effectiveness of food programs and food aid. And each day in the developing world nearly 30,000 children under the age of five die from preventable causes, half of them due to hunger.
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There is no reason that in this new millennium that people should still be dying of hunger. There is ample food in the world, but we have a world that is shattered by unshared bread. There is enough food if it is distributed properly so that no one should go to bed hungry, especially to die from hunger.
Hunger worldwide has grown in more than half of the developing countries since 1990, and so rather than getting better as we all thought time would take care of it, we are getting worse. It is absolutely abominable that in a world of high technology, new manners of producing food, new technologies, that half of the developing countries are still in worse shape than they were before.
In fact, the number of hungry people in Subsaharan Africa has jumped 20 percent since 1990. According to the Food and Agricultural Association, the FAAO, 800 million people, including 200 million children in the developing world, go to bed hungry every night.
Half of the people on our planet still live on less than $2.00 a day, and as we talk about how great the United States of America does, and I am very proud to be an American, and what we do. We are not doing nearly enough.
We can do much more, and I think we have to fail from falling into the trap of patting ourselves on the back about what we do. Yes, the rest of the world should do more, but there is no question about the fact that we can do much more.
In Subsaharan African alone, one in three people are malnourished. These numbers are staggering, but they aren't just numbers as the Chairman mentioned also. These are people. These are mothers. These are fathers. These are children. These are grandparents. These are human beings.
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There have been many international meetings around the world dealing with hunger in recent years. These culminated in 1990 in a global commitment to what is literally a half measure. It is a half measure because the goal was to half hunger by 2015.
We really didn't want to take the boast of eliminating hunger by 2015, but let us take half a step and it would be a great goal to half hunger by 2015. So you are almost 50 percent losing even if you reach your goal. We really need to take another look at how this world is run.
As reports coming in suggest, at current rates of progress, we shall fail by a long way. If we stay on the targets that we are on, we won't even half the hunger by 2015. We are off the track already, and if we go at this current rate, it would be about 2025 before we can even half hunger in the world.
And even though 186 countries agreed to the Millennium Development goals which reiterated the call to eradicate extreme hunger by poverty and poverty by 2015, enough simply isn't being done by wealthy nations, and there are many wealthy nations, oil rich countries, that do not do their share at all, in the Middle East and in other parts of the world.
A recent World Bank report stated that the number of major disasters around the world increased from 100 in 1975 to over 400 in 2005. So the world is becoming more fragile. Climate change, deossification, and natural disasters, are factors that contribute to food and security, but human actions, such as conflicts, crippling subsidies to Western farmers, therefore making it impossible for African farmers to compete, and Caribbean farmers to compete, and small farmers in Latin America to compete.
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And the neglect of our agriculture are also critical factors in the declining ability to have sufficient food. The question is what do we do to effectively reduce and ultimately eliminate global hunger.
The United States is the world's largest provider of food aid to the poor nations, and that is to be commended as I mentioned before. Most of this aid goes through the World Food Program, which does an excellent job of addressing food needs in poor nations.
But we have to look more critically at our food assistance programs to figure out how best to deal with emergencies and also build in capacities so that countries can feed themselves and better deal with droughts and other national obstacles.
As a matter of fact, USAID got out of the whole business of agricultural assistance in their programs about 20 years ago, and we see the results because the assistance that was needed to the farming agriculture, which most developing countries are more agriculture than rural, we have failed in that policy change.
There is a well documented dilemma of food aid, that food meant to help hungry people in a certain country or in a region, actually contributes sometimes to problems, which cause the food and security to begin with and end up actually sometimes being a destablizing factor, and hurting people it seems to help in the long run.
When food is brought in, sometimes it then pushes the commodity prices down, and have an over supply. So we have to really be more careful when we do food aid so that it is calculated properly so it does not have the negative effects, and sometimes without it being well planned, it does.
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Africa represents 13 percent of the world's population. Yet, it has 30 percent of the world's poverty. African countries spend $1.51 for every dollar they currently receive in aid. So they are really going out of the world backwards almost.
The West extracts 30 billion from Africa every year. United States subsidies depress the world's commodity prices, and cost African countries $250 million a year in lost export earnings.
What the United States provides in subsidies to the cotton sector alone is twice what it gives in foreign assistance to Subsaharan Africa. So we have to take a look at our policies here, because we are really devastating the world, and until we step up to the plate and look at our agricultural policiesand not only the United States, but western Europe alsothen we are going to continue to see these problems of food and security.
Three hundred million Africans do not have access to safe water. Yet in the United States, water for poor initiatives, a wonderful program, with a wonderful title, and with tremendous goals, an $800 million program, only 6.5 percent of the money that we give toward clean portable water around the world goes to Africa, where there is the greatest need.
And 93.5 percent of the United States water for the poor initiative go to Afghanistan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan. And I believe that those areas need money, but if we have got a program that is supposed to take the poorest countries in the world where the water is the worst, that get very little other assistance, the countries that are mentioned here get hundreds of millions of dollars in other aid.
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And that money from those programs should be used to try to have portable clean water, but don't take money from a program that is supposed to go to the neediest in the world, and have it go 95 or 94 percent to the countries where politically it is important that we see progress.
And I think that we need to see continued progress in Afghanistan, and in the West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip, and in Jordan. But we also need to see people in Subsaharan Africa who are getting very little assistance to have the program focused where it should be.
The moral arguments are compelling. But so too are the economic arguments. If the GDP of the African continent was to increase by just 1 percent, the resulting $70 billion in additional revenues could be used to foster sustainable self-development, and that is what we need to see more of.
Africa is a resource rich continent, with a young work force. There is no reason why it should not be a prosperous region that produces enough food to feed itself and the rest of the world for that matter.
If we are earnestly seeking a solution to cutting hunger in a major way, and such a solution needs to be a comprehensive and integrated approach. We need to increase food aid to address critical needs around the world, particularly in Africa, while also stepping up agricultural assistance significantly to allow for self-sustainability.
Nobody really wants to rely on food aid all their lives. It is a basic human right to have access to food and water, and we who have food, water, and more in abundance have a responsibility to our fellow global citizens to ensure these basic rights are upheld.
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So I thank the Chairman for having this very important hearing. I certainly look forward to hearing the witness' testimonies and their recommendations.
Mr. SMITH. Would any other Members of the Subcommittee like to be heard? If not, thank you, Mr. Payne. Let me now introduce for this part of the hearing, which is the briefing part, James T. Morris, who is the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program, who became that at the beginning of April 2002.
In July 2002, Mr. Morris was appointed U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy for humanitarian needs in Southern Africa. In 2003, he successfully guided the World Food Program in the largest humanitarian operation in history, feeding some 26 million Iraqis.
He has a long and distinguished career, and is absolutely committed to alleviating the blight of hunger, and we are privileged to have you here at this briefing today. Mr. Morris, please proceed as you would like.
STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES T. MORRIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAM
Mr. MORRIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Payne, distinguished Members, ladies and gentlemen. First, may I say thank you for both of your extraordinary statements on the issue of world hunger.
This Committee has long been in a very strong and highly effective leadership role in helping to address the toughest humanitarian issues around the world, obviously with the special focus on Africa, and you will never know the number of lives that you have touched for the better.
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So little means so much, and what you care about, and what we try to do truly is not rocket science. We know how to do what needs to be done and you have given us the tools. But you have given us the tools with the right spirit and we appreciate that.
If I may also just pay tribute to your colleague, Tony Hall. Tony Hall was the United States Ambassador to the World Food Program for more than 3 years. He and his wife, Janet, were brilliant, and incredibly hard working, around the clock going anywhere and everywhere, to make things better for people so seriously at risk.
But you would have been proud of the remarkably wonderful face that he put on the United States of America as your representative. He was the face of America in hundreds of the toughest situations in the world, and I am grateful to him, and would that the world had a good many more like him. You really in many respects have put the issues in context. The World Food Program, the largest humanitarian agency in the world, the largest program of the United Nations, in 2004, we provided food for 113 million people in more than 80 countries, and last year, probably 94 million people.
Half of our work is in Africa, and half of our work deals with children, and half of our work interestingly enough is in countries that belong to the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Our issues today in Africa are overwhelmingly. We will be a billion dollars short of what we need to do our job in Africa. Remarkable, truly remarkable, and almost incomprehensible challenges for people who live like most of us live, and incomprehensible to see how so many hundreds of millions of people suffer and are vulnerable every day.
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Congressman Payne referenced the report from the World Bank. This is a powerfully important document. It said that the number of natural disasters in the world increased four-fold in 1975 to 2005, and to a number of 400. The number of people affected in the decade precedent to 2005, 2.6 billion people, compared to 1.6 billion people in the preceding decade.
You put on top of this all of the sad, unnecessary, mean-spirited conflict and violence in the world that is overwhelming, and then you add to it the tough issues of health, especially HIV, and heaven forbid if the Avian Flu issue realized the worst situations.
And the tragedy of this is overwhelming, but like most tough problems in the world, they fall disproportionately on the backs of those least able, most vulnerable, usually women and children.
The burden on women in Africa is absolutely unacceptable. Women provide 80 percent of the agriculture, all of the home care, all of the food preparation, and now have a highly disproportionate percentage of the HIV infection.
At least 100 million kids in Africa are severely malnourished, not able to go to school, disproportionately affecting girls once again. My overwhelming thoughtand let me just go back for a second.
The World Food Program is very focused on how we are prepared to respond to a huge number of natural disasters on any one day, but secondly, how do we go about advancing the Millennium Development goals of cutting hunger and poverty in half, infant mortality, maternal health, gender equity, universal primary education, HIV.
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And it is my strong view that we need a huge focus on eliminating child hunger in the world, and being sure that the mothers that nurse them and to which they are born are well nourished so that a healthy mother gives birth to a healthy child. And we know that the first 24 months of a child's life are critical in terms of making and developing that child's potential for a lifetime.
So I am very focused on how we as a world community, just like we have addressed issues on the environment or civil rights, how do we come to a world commitment that is engaging the private sector, the faith community, the civic community, youth groups, governments, and to say that it is no longer acceptable for 300 million children to be hungry, for 18,000 children to die every day, one every 5 seconds all day long.
If the headline in the Washington Post tomorrow morning said that 45 747s crashed today, and everybody on board was killed, and oh, by the way, all of them were children, and also by the way, that is going to happen every day for the foreseeable future, the world would be outraged.
And this is a solvable problem. And the economics are not overwhelming, and we can feed a child in Africa for $35 for a full school year, and a few pennies more to get rid of the worms.
You feed that little girl in Malawi and enable her to go to school for just a few years, everything about her life changes for the better. Fifty percent less likely to be HIV positive. Fifty percent less likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby.
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She will have children when she is 20 and not when she is 12. She will have 2 or 3, and not 8 or 10. And whole different aspirations for her life, her family's life, and her children's life.
And since so much of the burden of life in Africa is on the back of a woman, if she is fed and educated, her contribution will increase in a geometric way. So I would be happy over time to have extended discussions.
The McGovern-Dole program is overwhelmingly important, and it has inspired people all around the world to do more. But the fact of the matter is that we have to have a strategy that over the next 10 years doesn't find it acceptable to still have half the children who are hungry now still hungry. We have to solve this problem.
And the United States has provided extraordinary leadership. About 45 percent of what we receive today comes from the United States, and beyond that, the United States, through USAID, and USDA, and the State Department, truly works very hard and very thoughtful at trying to solve problems.
We have been through the most difficult situation that you can imagine in the Darfur region of the Sudan. The United States has provided overwhelming percentages of what we have to work with, but suddenlyand we had given people steady warnings.
But on the first of May, we had to make a decision to cut rations in half, to go from a daily calorie allocation of 2,100 calories to 1,050 calories. And in order to have food available for the next 5 months so that we didn't find ourselves in a predicament where there was no food available.
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But USAID, really in a very focused, and heart-felt way, found a way to provide an additional 47,000 tons of food. The Government of Sudan provided an additional 20,000 tons of food.
Additional help from Canada, Germany, and Denmark, and I am pleased to tell you now that by the first of June that we will have elevated that daily calorie allocation from 1,050 to 1,770. And then by the first of October, we will be back at a full allocation.
But the issues in Darfur you know well, and these are people living in camps under the worst possible conditions. Once again, always disproportionately falling on the backs of women and children.
The issues in Southern Africa, where I have been the Secretary-General's special envoy for 4 years, thank God there has been better weather this year, but we have been feeding more than 10 million people in that part of the world, and the convergence of the issues of food security, the HIV AIDS issue, and then tough issues of capacity and governance coming together with what we call a triple threat crisis.
And the impact overwhelming in places where life expectancy has gone from the high 60s to the low 30s. Life expectancy in the United States is 78, and we expect it to go up a few days every year. But life expectancy in this part of the world has been plummeting, the impact once again on children.
A country like Zimbabwe, 12 million population, and 1.3 million children are orphaned because mom and/or dad have died of HIV. You end up with 15 million kids in Southern Africa who are orphans. These kids have every need that the kids in New Jersey or Indianapolis have. You know, food, water, shelter, health, education, to say nothing of an adult to put their arm around them and say I love you and I care about you.
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The issues confronting children are overwhelming. The HIV AIDS crisis is so serious in parts of the world that there are a good many countries whose future is absolutely at risk. It overwhelms every facet of life in so many places.
The United States, through PEPFAR, has done an extraordinary piece of work in prevention, in treatment, in getting anti-retroviral treatment to a growing number of people, and it has been very thoughtful.
But the fact of the matter is that it is just like health care in the United States. Medicine administered on an empty stomach to a poorly nourished body has no chance to work. It often takes a very difficult toll on that body.
The relationshipif you would talk to Peter Piat, the head of U.N. AIDS, he would tell you that hunger and nutrition are the single biggest issues in the fight against HIV. And we have got to focus on how we address the nutritional issues, the hunger issues, of the 40 million people affected by HIV.
It is a factor in the prevention of mother to child transmission. It is a factor in the usefulness of the anti-retroviral treatment. It is the key factor in terms of how we educate children about HIV in school. They have to be fed to be successful in school.
So I would implore you to be seriously thoughtful about the connection between nutrition and the fight against HIV, and especially as the African Subcommittee, where half-a-dozen or more countries, truly their future is at risk because of the HIV crisis, places where more than 40 percent of the adult population are HIV positive, and the cost overwhelming.
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Consider the issues that the World Bank points out, the issues of ending child hunger, and the impact as it relates to HIV AIDS. And I agree with you, we are talking about real men, real women, real children.
The issues demand attention however you look at it, from a humanitarian, moral, spiritual perspective, an economic perspective, or a political security perspective. President Olusegun Obasajo of Nigeria says a hungry man is an angry man, and we know the ramifications of that.
I am profoundly grateful to the United States of America. When I came, you were providing 60 percent of our support. Five years later, you are providing 44 percent of our support, but you have continued in absolute numbers to increase, and we have gone from 56 to 81 donors, and we will have a hundred donors by the end of this year.
But my dream is that somehow the United States and its strong partners around the world as governments, but will partner with Rotary, and Kwanis, and the faith-based groups, the Boy Scouts, and the Future Farmers of America, to say that we are allyou know, I gave a commencement speech in Kentucky a few days ago, and little Georgetown College gave me money to feed 1,400 children in Guatemala.
Everybody needs to do a little bit more, and we can solve this problem, and for just so little, so powerfully change the lives of children. I don't know how you solve big problems other than one drop at a time. And you begin to change a child's life by feeding, and going to school. You change a family and you change your community.
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And President Eisenhower, when he set up the Food for Peace program, which is one of the United States' great foreign policy successes, said the world will be changed with wheat, not weapons.
And the United States has fed somewhere between 4 and 6 billion people the last 50 years in 135 countries, and many of those countries are now our best allies. So an investment in this issue of hunger and nutrition, with a special focus on women and children, looking at the tough issues that go along with it, the HIV AIDS issue, the natural disasters, and heaven forbid, so much conflict.
It is a winning formula, and as I say, my wife says that I give you the thesis sentence and that is enough and I always finish the volume. But I feel so passionately about this, and every day I go somewhere, anywhere in the world, I feel proud to be an American because of your generosity, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Morris follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES T. MORRIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAM
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I was in Africa a few weeks ago together with Ann Veneman, the Executive Director of UNICEF and Antonio Guterres, the Executive Director of UNHCR. We visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Right after, I headed to Kenya, where prolonged drought is menacing the lives of the poor. It has already devastated farms and killed thousands of cattle. The question is: Will it claim the lives of children next?
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Few experiences have changed my life more than holding an acutely malnourished child in my arms, as I did in Kenya. To hold in my arms a one year old girl who weighs little more than an average newborn in the United States unleashes a tide of emotions. One can't help but feel grief for this child's pain; shame that this should be allowed to happen in the 21st century; anger that this child will not be the last to suffer this fate.
In fact, 18,000 children will not make it through today. Their tiny bodies will succumb to months and years of not getting the nutrition they needed to survive. Millions more will have their growth stunted forever, their minds dulled by malnutrition and their futures limited to a life of poverty and ignorance.
When we talk of deaths from hunger, scenes from drought in East Africa and conflict in Darfur come quickly to mind.
In these places, we face decisions that would make even King Solomon pause. Two weeks ago, we simply did not enough food or money soon enough for Darfur. We were forced to make one of the hardest decisions ever: do we halve the number of people we help, or do we try to give all of the people half the food they need?
Thankfully, the US has come to our rescue. In addition to announcing the emergency dispatch of five vessels and expediting procurement of 40,000 MT sorghum for Darfur, President Bush has asked Congress for $225m in emergency supplemental funding for Sudan. This assistance would be very welcome and would help us start increasing rations again next month for millions of people in Darfur. However, it takes on average 46 months for a confirmed donor pledge to arrive and be distributed in Darfur, so we really hope that funds will be approved quickly, before it is too late for the smallest and weakest people in Darfur.
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Other donors, including the European Commission, Canada and the Sudanese Government have also pledged to help. Next week I will be in Sudan to discuss with all of the players how to fund the huge needs there.
WFPand the people caught in these terrible criseshave much to thank the United States for. In Darfur and East Africa, food aid worth US$552 million from the United States is keeping 12 million people alive. Truly, your support is miraculous.
The OECD reckons that international aid was higher in 2005 than in any year in history. Industrialized countries gave US $107 billion in foreign aid.
Last year, WFP provided food assistance to 97 million people in 83 countries. The United States was yet again our biggest supporter. All told, we raised US$2.8 billionand more than US $1.2 billion of that came from the USfrom our friends at USAID, at USDA and State Department. It's a record amount. And we really appreciate it. Almost one in every two people that WFP helps is fed thanks to the United States. At the same time as the US gave us more money than any other year in our history, it was the smallest share of our income from the US in 5 years44 percent. Other countries are picking up more of the burden. And the number of countries donating to our work has grown from 56 in 2001 to 80 last year.
But the need for food aid still outstrips the resources available and donors have not given it the priority it deserves as they increase foreign aid. We need a ''food first'' policy. What is the point of investing in long-term economic aid when people are starving?
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Last year we hit another recordbut this time a record low. Just 57 percent of our needs for emergency operationslike Darfur and East Africawere funded. And as we saw in those places, a lack of funds leads to ration cuts.
We started the 20062007 biennium with a program of work valued at US$6.4 billionthis is how much we needed to raise to meet the assessed needs of the beneficiaries of the programs and operations approved by our Executive Board. In just the first 3 months of this year, that amount had increased by more than $320 million, mainly because of the drought crisis in the Horn of Africa.
Last year we reached 41 million people in Africa, including 19 million young peopleand this year our target already exceeds 50 million. If I count just our most urgent needs on the continentthose where rations have been or are about to be cutwe are looking at a shortfall of more than $1.4 billion. Tens of millions of very poor, very hungry people are counting on us to find that money before it is too late.
With generosity at historically high levels, it is hard to understand why 15 million children who need WFP's help to survive, to grow, to go to school are going to be left wanting this year. Roughly one in four children under the age of five in Africa is undernourishedbut currently WFP is reaching just one in 20.
Worldwide, there are roughly 100 million hungry children who get next to no assistance at all from anyone. To give them and their mothers a very basic package of food, nutrition and basic health care, we've calculated would cost something in the vicinity of US $5 billion a year. That's almost the same amount as Congress has appropriated to assist 7 million American women and infants through the WIC program in FY 2005. WIC is one of the most effective programs in history and has the strongest bipartisan support. If that investment in America's poor mothers and children was worth making, why not reach out to all who need our help?
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I have to believe it comes down to a question of priorities. Who should we put first when deciding the aid budget? From all that I have seen and learned, it simply must be mothers and childrenand their most urgent need for food, water, education and health care must come before anything else. Priority has to go to the hungriest people in the poorest places before they become the victims of emergencies. As grateful as we are for the US coming to our rescue with supplemental bills, it would be much more effective if we were managing risks better and developing more flexible tools to respondjust as you already do at home.
The vast majority of the children who will die today from hunger and related causes won't perish in a high-profile emergency. They'll pass, unnoticed by anyone other than their families and neighbors, in squalid slums or in remote dusty villages.
If they do survive, their lives will have changed forever. Take the story of four year old Marie Carmel, from Haiti, as an example. Her black curly hair is tinged with red, a tell-tale sign of malnutrition. Her eyes are emptyfour months ago a chronic lack of vitamin A left her completely blind. Two of her siblings died and two were given away, simply because her mother could not feed them. Marie Carmel and her mother now survive on the monthly rations of rice, beans, oil and iodized salt, handed out at a health centre north of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Did little Marie really need to go blind from malnutrition in 2006?
Increasingly, many of the world's 300 million hungry children have been touched in some way by HIV. Perhaps they're trying to care for sick parents. Perhaps their parents have died from AIDS, leaving them in the care of poor grandparents or abandoned to their own devices on the streets. Perhaps they themselves are HIV positive. One thing is almost certainif they had trouble getting enough to eat before HIV devastated their lives, they're going to find it much, much harder once AIDS grips their existence. Without a healthy diet, their fight to survive this plague is being fought with one hand tied behind their backs.
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I have seen this more times than I care to remember in southern Africa, where average life expectancy has plunged to less than 35 years of age in some of the worst-hit countries. Children as young as 12 are caring for sick parents and their siblings. They're doing their best to grow food and earn a living, but sometimes that means they take risks that threaten their own health and safety.
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has done so much to bring care and treatment to the 40 million people worldwide who live with HIV. It has reached out to more than a million orphans and vulnerable children. We must consider ways to ensure that the nutritional needs of people affected by HIV are taken into consideration: so that they're well-nourished enough to benefit from antiretroviral treatment; so that their children can still go to school, instead of working to put food on the table; so that HIV-positive mothers can give birth to healthy babies.
No American doctor in his right mind would provide antiretroviral treatment to someone without ensuring that they were sufficiently well nourished to withstand the side effects and absorb the medication. Not a single baby was born with HIV in the United States last year. Not one. Yet elsewhere in the world, close to 1,800 babies inherit HIV from their mothers every single day. Less than 10 percent of the world's HIV-positive mothers have access to programs that prevent them from transmitting the virus to their children.
Just as HIV and AIDS impact on numerous aspects of peoples' liveson their food security, on their incomes, on social services, health and educationour response must be equally dynamic. A comprehensive and sound medical approach, that encompasses the food and nutrition needs of people affected by HIV, is needed. I urge Congress to support it.
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What I'm asking is that we apply the same standards of care for all of the world's children, as you would to your own. We don't stand by and allow children to die from hunger in the United States. We don't try to give antiretroviral treatment to malnourished patients without meeting their nutritional needs. We don't allow mothers to pass HIV to their babies. We don't allow hunger and poverty to keep children out of school. We don't cut food rations for the victims of emergencies.
There is another emotion which overcomes me when I hold malnourished children who receive WFP's helpyour help. That emotion is hope. Hope that one day soon we will care for these children as if they were our own. That they would have enough to eat and an opportunity to go to schooljust like my own children and grandchildren did.
When that happens, surely child hunger will be a phenomenon to be studied in history class, not a matter for the nightly news.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Morris, thank you so much for your eloquent testimony, but more importantly, for your passion on behalf of those who are suffering from hunger and malnourishment.
In your written testimony, you mentioned that 100 million hungry children will get no assistance whatsoever from anyone. You said earlier, and you repeated it in your oral comments, about how 18,000 children will not make it through today, and I do hope that our colleagues understand that.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In a time when people are holding down budgets, every dollar that goes to someone who is not getting food is a matter of life or death, and you have made that case very eloquently. You point out that it would take about $5 billion to feed those 100 million people.
You pointed out in your testimony that we are a billion short in Africa. I wonder if you could just tell usyou know, one of the things that I have argued about with UNHCR and other agencies that very often the appeals are based on what you hope to get, as opposed to what the raw need is.
If we were to really initiate an all-out effort to say hunger is first, ''put hunger first'' as you put it, what would it take? Is the $5 billion addition, is that the ballpark number? If you could just give us those kinds of numbers.
And if you could lay out for the Committee perhaps in followup exactly how you got those numbers so that we can make the case as empirically as possible that this is what we buy when taxpayer funding is expended in such a humanitarian way. We save lives.
But the more detail that we have, I think the better in making our case when people may not spend the kind of time that they should or could on this issue. Secondly, you mentioned in your testimony that the European Commission, Canada, and the Sudanese Governments have pledged to help, and you anticipate discussions, I believe, next week.
If you can shed any light on what the expectation is on how much you are hoping to glean from them during those discussions. And in your testimony, you also referred to the need to be better able to manage risks, and to develop more flexible tools to respond to emergencies.
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If you might touch on some of those tools that you think are needed. And again your testimony is extraordinary, and I appreciate it.
Mr. MORRIS. Thank you. We are working very hard trying to have as much accuracy and precision in the numbers as possible. Most of the places we work don't have a census like we would in the United States, and the numbers are tough.
We work in partnership with FAO, with UNICEF, with the World Bank, with national governments, to develop the numbers. We have had a special relationship with this extraordinary consulting firm, the Boston consulting firm, BCG.
They give us about $6 million of pro bono services every year, and they have been specifically helpful in working through the $5 billion number. Essentially, it is our belief that there are probably 20 million women in Africa, mothers or pregnant, plus 100 million children who have virtually no help.
If we go back to the larger number of 300 million hungry children in the world, we would assume that 80 million of them are in India. Forty million of them are in China. A few million more in Brazil. And those are all places now that have the wherewithal, food surpluses, and I think political will, to really focus efforts on the issue.
We closed our program in China in December. We had been there 40 years. We continue to have a modest program in India, largely paid for by the Indian Government. But if you take, let us say, that 125 from the 300 million figure, you have a figure of 175 million.
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And it would be our belief that probably 75 million of the kids have some help, some support, from our programs, from extraordinary support from NGOs, some bilateral help. But we would say that setting aside the China and India numbers, 100 million kids hungry in Africa, 15 million, or maybe 20 million in Latin America, 10 to 15 million in the Middle East, and the former Soviet Republics; and another 50 or 60 million in AsiaPakistan, Bangladesh, North Korea.
The $5 billion figure is what we think we could provide help for the 20 million mothers, and the 100 million children. We can feed a child for a full school year for $35 in Africa. The numbers are a little less in Bangladesh, a little less in North Korea.
And you throw a few pennies in for other things, the worm treatment, et cetera. And it has been my thought that over a period of 10 years, let us say that you would start with a new availability of $3 billion in Africa, and that probably the Africans could leverage another $2 billion on their own as a way of funding the $5 billion.
And that over a 10-year period the African countries would underwrite a much larger percentage and the external support would decline. There are 700,000 or 800,000 children in Botswana. Today, the government completely funds the school feeding program in Botswana, and does not need us.
But there are several issues here. One is the capacity building of governments to address the issue. The second issue is the local production of food, and the important role of family gardens and school gardens, and then the issue of external help.
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In Northeast Kenya right now, with this incredible drought in The Horn, there is no capacity for agricultural production in Northeast Kenya whatsoever. It depends on external help.
The Government of Kenya has given us 60,000 tons of food this year for the northeast region, and we have been depending on the rest of the world probably for another 275,000 tons of food for that part of the world.
So at least that has been the way that we have pulled these numbers together. We have a strong, strong partnership with the World Bank, and with UNICEF. The World Bank, in terms of metrics, is outstanding in their analysis.
The World Bank is more focused on children from zero to two. The World Bank would tell you that an investment in feeding children zero to two is the single most powerful economic investment that a country can make in its future, be it the United States, or be it Rwanda.
So that is where we look for the numbers, and once again, our global commitment to the Millennium Development goals, if we are going to cut hunger and poverty in half, the most powerful highly leveraged investment is focusing on children, because they have a lifetime for our investment to pay off.
And these kids are born into circumstances completely beyond their control, and that is when the rest of the world has to step in. Your question aboutwe know that when we have resources available on day one of a crisis, that same amount of value can feed 20 to 30 percent more people, compared to that same amount of money coming in the middle of a crisis.
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When coping mechanisms haven't been exhausted, and when people are not in extreme condition, when food supply prices, supply and demand works, and prices are lower at the beginning, and they get higher later on.
And we know that same amount of money just goes so much further, and we are a big advocate for unrestricted multilateral, untied, undirected cash. And we are very grateful for all that anyone does for us. We could not exist without the United States commitment of food commodities.
Cash is a very precious asset for us. Cash allows us to buy locally. The cultural issues, the storage issues, the transport issues, are much simpler. We work very hard not to distort markets. The people we feed have nothing.
We don't fee people who have much cash in their pocket. Now on occasion, we might provide food for someone who has a little cash in their pocket, and thank goodness then that they are able to use that for other basic essentials that their family needs.
But we have been working hard on an insurance scheme. Richard Wilcox, a wonderful American colleague, has been the leader of this effort. We are experimenting in Ethiopia. Can we transfer the risk from the small vulnerable farmer to the financial markets.
We have crop insurance all across the United States. Is there a way for the international community to provide the premium to buy an insurance policy that will protect the vulnerable farmer in Ethiopia.
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And it is an experiment that we have underway. We had five big international insurance companies who wanted to underwrite it, and so we are in the middle of that experiment. The French have exhibited some interest in trying that same experiment in Mali.
We have tried to bring best business practices to the World Food Program. We have a strong balance sheet, and a business knows how to use its balance sheet, its working capital, its assets, to do all sorts of other things before cash for the next project is in the bank.
And like insurance people, we actuarially analyze the likelihood of a national commitment actually being realized, and then we are willing to go ahead and advance the capital to make the purchase on day one when it will go so much further. So at least those areI could talk forever on this subject, but maybe that is useful.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you. We plan on crafting a bill that intelligently, as well as with enough resources, will seek to increase our commitment to putting food first. We would welcome every thought and idea that you have, as well as Members of the Subcommittee, and all of the NGOs who will be testifying, because we want to work on this, and try to get it introduced shortly. But feel free to give us all of your good ideas.
Mr. MORRIS. Thank you. We were about a billion dollars short last year in what we needed to do our work in Africa, and we probably were funded at about 60 percent of what our emergency requirements needed.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Hopefully the Southern Africa thing won't be so serious food wise going forward, but the tough issues remain in Liberia and the Ivory Coast, and West Coastal Africa, the tough issues in Uganda.
You know, my comment always is so little goes so far, and the desperate conditions of people who have nothing, and living in harsh weather conditions in this tough HIV environment, and in this violence environment, we can't conceive of what their lives are like. But I know that you travel, and I know that you see it, and I am grateful for that.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you. And I think your point about the enhanced value of early money, as compared to later onobviously it is welcomed later on, but I think it is a very, very important point. Very well taken.
Mr. MORRIS. We have an immediate response account that we revolve in, and last year, let us say that we had $35 million in the base account, and we were able to use more than $100 million to advance or to send people, or to send helicopters or whatever was needed on day one.
Mr. SMITH. That is great. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. I would also like to express my appreciation for your testimony and the passion. You certainly take your job very, very seriously, as it is a serious job, but you certainly are a great Ambassador for what needs to be done.
There is no question about early intervention, and even in education we find that a thousand dollars put into education for even prenatal care, and pre-K education, and all, it goes six or seven times, 10 times further than if you took a thousand dollars and tried to, say, put it into a Job Corps program to get someone to get a GED.
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I mean, it wouldn't even start to scratch the surface, and so it is so clear that early intervention is such ayou know, a stitch in time saves nine kind of concept that old folks used to say. But it is difficult to get that concept through sometimes that we could do so much on the early side.
Let me just ask this question. As you have indicated, the United States has continued to increase its amount. However, overall, there has been a decrease from 66 percent to 44 percent of the world budget.
We see that in a number of our international organizations. The United Nations, in general, was about 50 percent, and it went down to 33, and we are down to 21, and we may be below 20 if the new formula goes in.
Let me ask you. Where did the shift come from? You did mention some countries doing more, but I would be interested to know who is starting to pick up the slack that didn't do it before.
Also, I have a curiosity about the very difficult places to get to. I mean, you have painted a very bleak picture, but how about areas where new Sudanese refugees are, and there are about 200 million new ones it is estimated since January to today that are in places that they haven't even been before.
In Somalia, where we have virtually no diplomatic relations with, how bad is it in some of those places where we have no way of knowing formally what is going on? As you mentioned, in Northern Uganda, where the Lord's Resistance Movement is, and in Eritrea and Ethiopia, Ethiopia being such a large country, with 60 million people, but so many rural parts, and one of the poorest countries in the world.
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And what is your prognostication for what is happening up there, or do we have any way of knowing is there any place that is really untouched by world organizations?
Mr. MORRIS. Let me respond to at least three points. Your first reference to a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars will feed 35 children for a full year. Their lives will never be the same, all for the better.
Your notion of prevention. Because of the change in the world with more natural disasters, more conflict, the world has been much more preoccupied with saving lives, protecting livelihoods, than making investments, and moderating and mediating, and preventing problems.
The United States WIC program isI don't know what, but maybe $7 billion a year; women, infants, and children. The impact of WIC in this country is overwhelming. I mean, it is a powerful investment in women, infants, and children, and gives them the base to give life to a healthy child, or a base for a good life.
That same investment would eliminate hunger in Africa. Now I know that it is apples and oranges, but the children in Africa have the same potential as the children anywhere in the world if given the opportunity if they are nourished and have a chance to go to school.
And I want to tell you this quick story. Paul Tergat, he called me a few days ago, or a few weeks ago, and said, Jim, I want to come see you. Paul Tergat, from Kenya, one of 17 children, had just set the world record in the Berlin Marathon, just won the New York Marathon this year, and he said I want to tell you my story.
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Twenty-seven years ago, the World Food Program came to my village in Kenya, and through a school feeding program fed me, and changed the life of my village, and all of my friends, and all of my classmates.
And he said, oh, by the way, that food was provided to the World Food Program by the United States of America Food for Peace. Now, not every child is going to be a champion long distance runner, but every child has great horizons and great opportunities, and deserves the chance.
Your issue about how tough it is to get places. We had four truck drivers killed in the last quarter of last year in the Sudan. In Darfor, we probably fed 2.8 million people in March in the Sudan and Darfor, and another 400,000 that we couldn't get to because of the violence.
There would be 230,000 Sudanese refugees across the border in Chad, and living in 15 camps. Interestingly enough, their nutritional status improved substantially to a point where it was substantially better than the Chadian population around the camp.
And so that leads to difficulty, and we have now been pretty aggressive to provide help for the Chadian population, who by the way has been very welcoming to the Sudanese refugees. But the issue of violence. More people have lost their lives doing humanitarian work for the United Nations than in doing peacekeeping work.
And we have 135 duty stations around the world that are phase three or higher by United Nation's security standards. So you have got thousands of people at risk every single day.
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The weather conditions in Pakistan, and the weather conditions as we head into the tough time in Afghanistan. Thank goodness we had great support from the Canadian Avalanche Team that came into Afghanistan and helped us clear the passes of snow so we could get food and preposition for people who would need it in the winter time.
But we will feed between 2 and 3 million refugees this year; twice to two-and-a-half times that many internally displaced people. In Uganda, we would be feeding a million-and-a-half internally displaced people, and about that many in Colombia for that matter.
And peopleand it is another category, but people who are chased from their homes, and who have nothing to fall back on, are living in some of the worst human conditions imaginable.
Mr. PAYNE. We certainly thank you, and I think that the points that you bring out aboutyou know, many of my colleagues from time to time have a field day criticizing the United Nations, and how bad it is, and how ineffective it is.
Oil-for-Food probably had more time spent on the United Nations than any program in the history of the United Nations. However, to hear you talk about those humanitarian people who lose their lives, and those folks who are unsung heroes. This world would be a disaster if it wasn't for the United Nations. I mean, it is bad enough as it is. Thank you.
Mr. MORRIS. If I might just quickly respond to your reference to Oil-for-Food. I wish to God it would have been called Oil for Wagons, or something, but we are the World Food Program of the United Nations, and we had nothing whatsoever to do with the Oil-for-Food Program.
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Mr. Volker, in his report, commended the World Food Program, and we have been embarrassed by the use of the word food in both our names. To our credit, after the first phase of the Iraqi situation, there were a huge number of contracts that the Saddam Hussein government had put in place with food companies around the world.
And the Security Council asked the World Food Program to come in and renegotiate those contracts, and to take out the kickbacks, and to see what reliability the transport situation might represent.
And we had 30 of our very bright young colleagues go off to an office and renegotiate a $1.4 billion worth of Oil-for-Food contracts so that the food could be delivered to the people of Sudan. It is an extraordinary story of what some very bright young people from all over the world did.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you. Ms. Lee.
Ms. LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to ask that my full opening statement be put into the record, and I will try to be very brief.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BARBARA LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
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Thank you Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Payne for convening this important hearing on food aid and hunger throughout the world.
Across the developing world as a whole, an estimated 850 million people go to bed hungry and undernourished every night.
And every day 24,000 people die of hunger.
Mr. Chairman, as we all know, food production in Africa has fallen behind population growth over the past 30 years. Ironically this has left Africa, an agriculturally rich continent, as a net importer of food.
Many Americans are interested in providing the necessary tools for Africans to be food-secure but ignore the fact that developing Africa's agricultural sector is the key to eradicating Africa's current famine crisis and stabilizing the social sectors that have crumbled.
The bottom line Mr. Chairman, is that food security will help create political, social, and economic security.
In August of 2003, I led a Congressional Delegation to Zambia and Ethiopia. The goal of the delegation was to better understand the connection between food security, access to clean water and HIV/AIDS.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, what we found was the undeniable link between food and the global fight against HIV and AIDS.
An estimated 95 percent of the 40 million people infected with HIV and AIDS globally live in developing countries. And 70 percent of those are in sub-Saharan Africa.
In these places, hunger and HIV/AIDS are two sides of the same deadly sword.
Without adequate nutrition and vitamins, the infected are robbed of one of the main defenses against early death. People with HIV become increasingly weak and fatigued; they do not respond to drug treatment and are prone to other illnesses such as malnutrition and tuberculosis.
Mr. Chairman, that is why I am exploring legislation that could potentially provide relief to millions suffering from food insecurity and hunger-related conditions by investing in agriculture and African farmers, providing resources to detect famine early, and moving food quickly into famine-impacted areas.
My legislation currently addresses three critical things.
First it would authorize and invest appropriate funds to the World Food Programs' weather derivatives initiative.
Secondly, it would increase the resources of the Famine Early Warning System program in order for them to do more work throughout Africa.
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And finally, the most controversial provisionauthorizing the use of local and regional purchase of emergency food aid.
Combined, all of these provisions would create a comprehensive approach to ending hunger, investing in farmers and agriculture and warding off famine.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, I look forward to our hearing.
Ms. LEE. But thank you very much, Mr. Morris, for your powerful testimony, and your powerful work. Certainly you, more than most, know what is going on there on the continent, and understand what needs to be done. We all recognize thatand many Americans are interested in providing the necessary tools for Africans to be food secure, but ignore the fact that developing Africa's ag sector is really key to eradicating African's current famine crisis, and stabilizing the social sectors that have crumbled.
So I am exploring legislation, and Mr. Chairman, I would like to work with you and our Ranking Member on this, and that would really invest appropriate funds to the World Food Program's weather derivatives initiative. It would increase the resources of the Famine Early Warning System Program.
And also, which is very controversial, it would authorize the use of local and regional purchase of emergency food aid. And so as you think about this further, and what an appropriate United States response could or should be that would end hunger, and invest in farmers and agriculture, in an effort to ward off famines, I would like to get your feedback on those specific provisions.
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Secondly, I am very pleased to hear you talk about the nexus between food insecurity and HIV and AIDS. When we worked on the PEPFAR initiative, the global AIDS initiative, we actually under the leadership of our greater Ambassador, Tony Hall, former Ambassador, and Eva Claytonand I want to thank you very much for helping us with this.
We included a provision in that legislation that would integrate nutrition programs with HIV and AIDS initiatives. It would provide as a component anti-retroviral therapy, and program support for food and nutrition to individuals infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
And we would provide food and support, and nutrition for children affected by HIV and AIDS to communities. In your work have you seen this integration of these efforts? We wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in April to ask about this, and I still have not received a response.
And I will ask the USAID officials later on that, but have you seen a robust type of integration of these strategies as you look at efforts as it relates to the delivery of food throughout Africa?
Mr. MORRIS. We certainly will be eager to be helpful to you as you think about legislation that speaks to prevention and the early capacity to address tough humanitarian issues. Early warning systems, the Fusenet system, which the United States has led and putting in place in Africa.
But equally important developing capacities with governments. I am more and more of the opinion that FAO and the World Food Program, and IFAD, the Agricultural Development Bank, we need to model ourselves in terms of our development assistance after the U.N. AIDS concept, where we have a country theme group working with governments, where they have the ownership.
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But to help them develop the capacity to pursue their own strategy of food security, and Food for Work is really an important part of that. Our Food for Work programs help put in place simple irrigation systems, rebuild roads, all sorts of things helping families get on their feet.
Eva Clayton was terrific. She was in Rome for 3 years, and her advocacy on behalf of hunger around the world. We miss her. She couldn't wait to get back to North Carolina, I think, but she was a special spirit in every way.
We have reorganized our program in 51 countries to respond to the HIV AIDS issue. We know that we can provide food for about 66 cents a day for a family affected by HIV. I talked about mother to child transmission, and I talked about school feeding, where children are educated.
I talked about the fact that a doctor would never prescribe a pharmaceutical product to someone that was poorly nourished and hungry. They go hand-in-glove. ARV doesn't work without good nutrition, and I am optimistic now that Ambassador Tobias is leading both the Agency for International Development and his global AIDS coordinator experience, that he will find a way to pull together the need for nutritional support.
He understands this issue. I had long talks with him, and had an extraordinary meeting this week with Dr. Farmer, from Harvard, who is working in Haiti, and who would tell you that absolutely that anti-retroviral treatment only works if nutrition and food is available.
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And you end up with people not taking the anti-retroviral drugs because of the harshness that it imposes on their bodies if there is no food there to balance it. And my medical vocabulary may not be correct, but you get a sense that this is really important.
We have been working and trying to get the Global Fund to understand this issue. It is an issue that everybody acknowledges, but they expect someone else to do it.
Ms. LEE. Mr. Morris, let me just interrupt you by saying that I hope, and I am pleased to hear your response, but I hope that this CommitteeMr. Chairman may at some point look at some oversight on this one specific issue based on the legislation that we authorized.
Mr. MORRIS. Thank you.
Mr. BOOZMAN [presiding]. Thank you so much for being here. We appreciate your testimony, and appreciate you shedding light on what is going on. Thank you.
Our next witness is Mr. Hess. At this point, we will go ahead and convene the hearing. Again, we appreciate the briefing. So the meeting is convened. Our first panel is the Honorable Michael E. Hess, USAID. Colonel Michael Hess is the Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID.
Colonel Hess has more than 30 years of service in the U.S. military. In April 2003, Colonel Hess was recalled to active duty to serve as the Humanitarian Coordinator in the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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He later served as the deputy chief of staff for the coalition provisional authority. Thank you very much for coming in, Colonel Hess.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MICHAEL E. HESS, ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR, BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. HESS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is an honor to be here today, especially with my colleague and teammate, Jim Morris. We have worked very closely together. It is a good teamwork effort between USAID and World Food Programme, and it is also great to be here with our other colleagues in the NGO community, and with Ambassador Hall, with whom we have worked very closely providing food aid around the world.
I am going to make a presentation here, focusing mainly on my recent trip to the Horn of Africa, where we were looking at the needs in the pastoralist crisis. You can see the shot there on the screen from El Wak, and it is up in northeast Kenya that Jim Morris referred to earlier.
It is one of the hardest hit areas in the Horn of Africa. We call this a pastoralist crisis, because as Fred Coney taught us a long time ago, drought does not cause famine. Famine is caused by a lack of governance. And certainly the issues in this region, and affecting the pastoralists in particular, are an example of a lack of governance.
And certainly in the Somalia regionwe couldn't go into Somalia obviously, but we talked very closely with our partners who worked in Somalia about the conditions there, where we have a global acute malnutrition rate in the Gata region of over 23.7 percent, where 15 percent is considered an emergency situation.
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And you couple that with the outbreak of polio and measles in that same region, then you have got the makings of a good disaster. So when you see these issues of governance, we look at the solution to it. We do provide food aid immediately, and we have to stop the dying and alleviate the suffering.
We also participate in malnutrition programs, trying to alleviate malnutrition at the same time through community based therapeutical feeding programs, and in some cases supplemental feeding centers and therapeutic feeding centers, where the concept of community feeding centers haven't taken over.
We also look at the governance issues, and we have to. We have to look at representation for the pastoralists. In Kenya, they represent less than 3 percent of the society. So how do those people get represented so that their needs can be met, and so that we can talk about funds transferred to that part of society.
In the Somali region of Ethiopia, there are 4 million people who live there out of 77 million people in Ethiopia. Again, there is an imbalance between the representation and how those people get their needs met.
So while we are looking at the immediate concern as Jim says, we provide a large proportion of the food that goes into the Horn of Africa. We also have to look at these long term issues, and we have devoted a lot of money into water sanitation, nutrition programs, but also livelihood programs, where we want to try to affect the livelihoods of these people who live in these regions, and suffer the worst consequences of the drought.
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And what I mean by the livelihoods programs, is that we have looked at alternative crops. Why don't we go on to the next slide. For those of you who have not seen a supplemental feeding program, these are never fun to see. This is a supplemental feeding program in Ethiopia.
It is actually in one of the better regions of Ethiopia. This is in the Southern Nations region, and near Bandera, just south of Addis Abbaba, and if you look at the children there, they are certainly suffering. And we didn't expect to see that in this region, because they had a good harvest last year. They had good rains this year.
They are part of the productive safety net program, and so all of the conditions are ripe there that they should be doing well, but if you look at those children in those pictures, there were 120 children waiting to be screened there in this center.
They had 38 children already in the supplemental feeding program. They were going to admit another 55 that day, and there were 120 waiting to be screened. This is all part of a community-based feeding program that we had established and funded with our NGO partners there.
But as you can see, even in a good region, there are problems, and we have to make sure that we cover those areas, even though we think they are well covered, to make sure that we can reach those children as well.
And on the next slide, you will see a food distribution center in Djibouti. This is north of the Gulf. Those are WFP bags. You can't see too well there. The markings of our USAIDwell, here, let me show you what one looks like.
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You have probably seen these bags when you go out to the field. It is a good testimony to the generosity of the American people. But that is a WFP site with some of our food that is being distributed there in Djibouti, but when we are talking about the distribution, we have got to make sure that it gets to the right people.
And we do that through our good monitoring systems with our partners, the NGOs who are also in the area, to make sure that we get the food to the right people. On the governance side at the same time, we meet with the governments and the ministries to make sure that they are looking at these livelihood issues.
And when we talk about livelihoods for pastoralists, and that is what we are talking about being affected here, is primarily pastoralists, 6.5 million of them. And we are looking at programs in Ethiopia and alternative livelihoods, where we could do gardening so that they can raise vegetables through drip irrigation systems so that they can have alternative sources of income.
We also support savings programs. We were also looking at silk worm production, to give them another alternative income so that when the crisis hits, they will have some assets that they don't have to sell off everything and become destitute, and fall into the productive safety net program.
So the livelihoods program is a very important one. We were also able to destock and vaccinate over a million livestock this year because of these livelihoods initiatives, and hopefully head off and give these people some resources to get through the crisis.
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The next one that I would like to talk about a little bit on the next slide is the Sahel. If you all remember last late July and August, there was a huge human cry in the press about the famine in the Sahel. We don't like to use the word famine lightly, because it has very severe connotations.
And we were looking at the crisis, and you certainly saw pictures of starving children in Niger in particular, and we said, well, what is causing this. You look at the pure numbers. In Niger, there was a lot of talk about locusts, and drought, and things like that, and how it was affecting the people, and they were starving.
Niger in that year, even with the locusts and the drought, produced 2.32 kilograms per person, and they need 1.83 kilograms per person. So if you do the math, you think, well, what is going on here. And the most severe cases of malnutrition were in the bread basket of Niger.
So things aren't really tabulating very well and are not calculating, and so I went there with a team. We sent DART teams to Niger, to Mali, to Burkina Faso, and to Mauritania, to try and alleviate some of the suffering and stop the dying.
But what we found was fascinating. How can you produce this much food, but the people don't have any food. Well, food production doesn't necessarily lead to food security as you know. What we found was that a lot of the food was being bought by Nigerian traders, and shipped off to Nigeria.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There were extraordinary debt levels among the farmers. This last year, right after we were there, they had very good rains. They had a record harvest, but in some cases, half- to three-quarters of the food that these farmers produced would go to pay off debts.
Why do they have these debts? Well, what you recognize is that a lot of these farmers in the off-season used to go to work in the coca fields. They couldn't do that anymore. So they didn't have alternative sources of income.
We also found some interesting things, statistics, when Jim talks about the most severely affected children are zero to two. This was certainly the case when you go to the therapeutic feeding centers in Niger during the crisis.
You will notice some very odd. I mean, you go to other places in the worldif you looked at those women in Ethiopia, they weren't doing very well, nor were the rest of the children.
But in here, in Niger, what we noticed was that the affected population was between 10 months, 9 or 10 months, and 24 months. The other children were doing fine. The adults were doing fine. This does not compute in a normal situation. So we started to inquire into that, and part of the problem is early weaning programs.
Women will wean their children in Niger at 8 or 9 months, and they put them straight on to millet. Millet is a carbohydrate. If you put a child at that age on a carbohydrate, they are not going to do very well.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So you take these factors. We also noticed when we were in the Sahel, and I will go to the next slide, that every village that we went to, we asked them what their number one need was. This was during a supposed famine.
The number one need in every village was clean water. Clean water. Fred also taught us, Fred Coney, taught us that water kills. This is a water well. Fifty-three percent of the villages in Niger have water wells, but look at that water well.
Animals tromping around it, and I will show you a picture in the next slide. This is a slide that shows the water quality coming out of that well. What you can't see very clearly in this slide unfortunately, but where the arrows are pointing are fecal coral forms.
If you drink that water, you are going to die, but this is a water well where people and animals go to get their water supply. This is not a good situation. Just to give you an idea of what this should look like on the next slide, you will see the one on the left, which is from the well that I just showed you, the one in the middle shows another well where only humans were getting water, but you could still see not so good standards. And then you could see hotel tap water, which you can get out of Washington, DC.
But you could see the issue here. It is not just food. We have to look at the whole range of issues, and we have to be able to address that. And we look at a holistic program. So while we are providing food from Food for Peace, while we are providing nutritional programs to make sure that those children who are malnourished receive the proper care.
We also are looking at water sanitation issues to make sure that we can clean up this water and make sure that the people are getting clean healthy water at the same time. It is estimated that in 2004 that WHO estimated that 80 percent of the diseases in the world are caused by bad water.
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We have got to do a little bit more to make sure that we integrate this, and make sure that people get clean water. When we worked with the government in Kenya during the pastoralist crisis here, we emphasized this with them, and they are going to produce catchment programs in northeast Kenya that will capture 5 million cubic liters of water in this year.
So that when the rainy seasons come, and we will talk about the rainy seasons when I get to early warning, that they will be able to have something there when the droughts start to come. So we are working with the governments to look at these long term solutions.
We have to address the short term, and we have to address the emergency, but at the same time, we have to address these long term issues as well. So what are we doing in the agency to try to solve some of these problems? The next slide shows what Jim Morris was referring to, the famine early warning system.
This is important for us. It takes us about 4 or 5 months to load the ships with food here in the United States and get it around to Africa. In some cases, if you are talking about Darfur, it could be as many 6 months, and that means that we have to anticipate a lot earlier.
So the famine early warning system, we have worked very closely with, and we have been working on it for 52 years trying to get a better mechanism in place. And it is not just weather anymore. As I indicated earlier when we were talking about the Sahel, we have to look at different factors.
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We have to look at market disruptions. We have to look at sentinel sites to see where malnutrition rates are. We have to look at debt levels. We have to look at the wholeall of the factors that affect food and security, and not just food itself, or what market processes are, but everything across the board.
And FEWS is doing that, and we have expanded the FEWS program, and put more people on the ground, especially in Africa, to try to address those issues. The next slide shows you the drought sequence, and this is what happened in the Horn of Africa this year.
And the arrow in the middle there, the red spot there, shows you the long drought season that we anticipated starting in October, and we started Food for Peace. Jonathan Dworken and his team started to redeploy assets to make sure that we could have food available in the Horn of Africa early on to address the issues as they arose in the Horn.
This includes Somalia. There was a question earlier by Congresswoman Lee about how we address Somalia. Obviously, we can't put Americans on the ground there, but we work very closely with our partners in the NGO community. We get reporting from them. We work very closely with our partners in the U.N. system.
Not only WFP, but UNICEF, and U.N. OCHA, to make sure that we have good reporting out of Somalia. We know that they need 23,000 metric tons a month to go into Somalia, and we do that through WFP and through CARE.
So we are not ignoring Somalia, even though we have some issues there on the diplomatic side. We want to make sure that those people don't suffer as well. So we are able to anticipate this.
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We started diverting food in October, but there again that is a long process. But this shows you the results, the next slide does, of what happens when you don't have food, and when it doesn't get there on time, and this is an IDP camp in northeast Kenya where people were coming to try and get food and water, and it is not a pretty sight.
This is a map of the Sudan. I have talked about obviously the U.N. organizations, and WFP, whom we work very closely with, and I was heartened when I was in the Horn of Africa this year. While it is not good, it is never fun to go to a therapeutic feeding center, or to a supplemental feeding center, and to see those children who are suffering, because they do suffer the worst.
That is not good, and we don't like that, but our partners are there this year, and they are there early, and they are working very hard to try and alleviate these problems. We have not seen a rise in therapeutic feeding centers in the last 3 months. That is a good sign.
We have, however, seen a sharp increase in the numbers of children coming into supplemental feeding programs, and these partners work with us very closely to try and alleviate those. Some of the other things that we are looking at. The next slide is prepositioning.
This shows that if we need such a long lead time to try and address these issues, how can we try to shorten that lead time. Well, one of them is prepositioning. We have prepositioning sites in Dubai, and we also have themthis one happens to be in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where we can take commodities and get them ready to ship out as quickly as possible.
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We don't have to go through the call forward system, but we also are looking at, and we have just issued a request for proposals to establish another prepositioning site on or near the Continent of Africa. So again we can get more food closer to where we think the needs are going to be.
The next slide, there are some other options. As you know, for the crisis in Darfur, we have diverted five ships to make sure that some of those commodities get there. We also did a rapid purchase of 40,000 tons of sorghum. That is the 47,000 tons to which Jim referred are going to get there quickly.
There are prices to pay for that. As the next slide shows, this is disrupting some of our development programs because that is the food that goes into some of those development programs, but we have to make a choice between the emergency and people who are suffering, and our development issues.
So we are aware of that, and there are disruptions that are going to happen. The next slide we will talk about some other tools. We do need other tools. Jim referred to the insurance program. That premium was paid for by USAID. It is a $930,000 premium.
We gave a million dollars for that. We think it is an important tool to have in our kit as well, and we are anxious to see the results of that insurance program in Ethiopia. It is going very well right now. It is through the first 6 months, and we are excited to see that happen, and actually try to disintermediate some of our risks in other markets, and the capital markets is certainly one tool to look at.
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We also look at increasing our flexibility. As you know, the President in the 2007 budget requested the authority to get up to 25 percent of our funding in Title II in local purchase. And again as Jim pointed out, it is not that we don't believe in the food program. Obviously, we do.
But occasionally it is helpful if we can do local purchase and get the food there a little bit faster. For example, last year in Southern Africa, South Africa had 5 million tons surplus, and if we could have bought the food there, we could have gotten it a lot quicker to places like Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The next slide shows other partners. We work very closely with not only the NGOs and our international partners, but we also work with the military. We are working very closely with CJTF Horn of Africa, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, to alleviate some of the crisis and the problems there. So we are looking for help all the way around.
And, of course, last but not least, is public diplomacy. When you talk about these food bags and these tins of oil with the United States flag on them, there are probably hundreds of thousands of these distributed around the world every year.
And that certainly talks to the testimony of the hard work and the generosity of the American people, and the hard work of the people in Food for Peace and our partners who are trying to solve the problems of hunger around the world. So thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to be here today.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Hess follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MICHAEL E. HESS, ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR, BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee, it is an honor to appear before you today to participate in a discussion on food aid and its importance throughout the developing world. I appear as a witness along with respected colleagues and partners who have worked tirelessly to expand food aid programs in these critical times. In my testimony today, I will illustrate some important roles U.S. food aid plays saving lives, as well as reducing longer term food insecurity, and some of the challenges we are facing trying to reduce food insecurity. I will also cite examples of innovative programs that can build on food aid to address some of the chronic and long-term issues prevalent in countries that are food insecure.
As an Assistant Administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, I oversee the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, DCHA. The Office of Food for Peace is one of nine offices that comprise my bureau. Just recently, Food for Peace celebrated its 50th anniversary. For more than half a century, the United States, through its partners and programs, has provided food aid to billions of people in 150 countries. We are very proud of this accomplishment, and the role we have been able to play in helping those less fortunate than ourselves.
Modern U.S. food aid programming traces its beginnings to post-World War II when, in 1954, President Eisenhower signed the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act, or P.L.480 to share our country's abundant crops with those in need in Europe and other regions. However, food assistance provided by the United States can be tracked as far back as 1812 when President James Madison sent emergency aid to earthquake victims in Venezuela. Early in his administration, President John F. Kennedy underlined the importance of PL 480 to the U.S.- and the rest of the world- by renaming it ''Food for Peace'' and placing it in the newly created U.S. Agency for International Development. ''Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping to people around the world whose good will and friendship we want,'' Kennedy said.
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Food aid from the United States can be found in many forms and types. In addition to the PL 480 Title I and II programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Food for Progress and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program. The newest program, the McGovern-Dole program has already provided assistance to seven million beneficiaries, primarily school children, in its first three years. All U.S. food aid programs provide assistance to a large number of countries with a wide variety of commodities. Fortified vegetable oil when mixed with processed corn soy blend, otherwise known as CSB, provides a wholesome and protein-rich meal for children. Bulk commodities such as grains (sorghum, maize and wheat), and pulses (lentils and beans) are also used.
When you think of all the lives that have been touched by U.S. humanitarian assistance over the years, it is a real testimony to the generosity of the American people. The United States provides half the world's food aid. In 2005 alone, PL 480 programs provided over 3.8 million metric tons of food abroad, including almost half of all contributions to the World Food Program (WFP).
The United States responds to food emergencies by trying to bring the right food to the right people at the right time. This means working to anticipate hungeras we did this year with the pastoralist crisis in East Africa. It means knowing the people you are trying to help, and making sure that food you provide can and will be used appropriately. And it means knowing who needs the food the mostand recognizing that in times of hunger it is the children, the pregnant and nursing women, and the elderly who need to be found and helped first.
In major emergencies, the United States may provide one third and sometimes up to one-half of the food required by WFP and our non-governmental partners to meet emergency needs. In some cases, however, needs far outstrip other donor's ability or willingness to respond, and we end up providing over 80 percent of all contributions, as we have in Sudan, where we were forced recently to rapidly deploy commodities to minimize ration cuts in Darfur.
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Food aid is a valuable tool for saving lives, but food aid alone cannot reverse the destitution and poverty that underlies the vicious cycle of emergencies that has taken hold in the Horn of Africa, and that is threatening the Sahel and Southern Africa. We tend to equate words like ''drought'' with ''famine''but they are not the same. The existence of famine is closely related to governance and market issues and that is why African leaders through the African Union's Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Plan (CAADP) have laid out a plan for breaking the cycle of famine in Africa. This does not mean that we cannot help, and that we don't need to help. We do. Preventing famine will require USAID and donor partners to bring all our development tools to the table, and to coordinate our assistance in the countries in which we work in order to maximize the value of every assistance dollar we provide. But most importantly, we must jointly hold the governments we assist accountable for the well being of their people.
As you know, Ambassador Tobias is leading the process of rationalizing U.S. foreign assistance to achieve the goal of ''transformational development''. I want to share with you a few of the things I saw during visits to the Horn of Africa and Niger, which brought hometo methe extent of the need for this to occur.
CHRONIC NEED AND FAILED GOVERNANCE
As you know, in the Horn of Africa, over the past 3-4 months, we have been facing a large emergency for the third time in six years. I visited the region in April, and even with a robust response on the part of the United States, some needs are not being met. And it is not because we, here in the United States, were not ready.
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In early 1995, the USAID Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET, a network of trained professionals who use a broad range of advanced food security assessment data, tools, and methods, warned us that recurrent droughts and the lack of sustained recovery and growth investments on the part of the governments in the Horn were leading towards a collapse of the pastoral livelihood.
In the fall of 2005, after another failure of rains heralded a new impending emergency, DCHA's Office of Food for Peace and Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) began to mobilize resources in anticipation of increased needs. And, as we feared, the pastoralists of the Horn of Africa faced an almost complete failure of what we call their ''livelihood system''the livestock-based economy which controls their assets and incomes.
It is the hardest kind of hunger, and I will never get used to itseeing food in a market place and starving children in a feeding center a stone's throw away. Yes, drought triggered this year's crisis, but it is the failure of livestock markets that is starving pastoralists.
The $92 million in additional assistance, announced by the President in April, recognizes this. And while a portion of these resources will address emergency efforts, such as the provision of food, water, expanded immunizations and nutritional rehabilitation, another portion, provided through FY 2006 International Disaster and Famine Assistance funding for famine prevention and relief is proposed both to address some of the causes for the failure of the pastoralist economy, and to leverage new host-country and other donor investments in order to make that economy viable.
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I'd like to shift now from East to West, and ask that you recall the photos in the papers and on the news last summer describing a crisis similar to that in the Horn but located on the western side of Africa in the Sahel. We saw thousands of stick-thin children suffering and in need of assistance. The crisis dominated the newshunger and starvation in Niger. How could this happen? What could we have done to avoid it? These and many other questions plagued me as I gathered information and examined what we were doing to respond to the crisis.
But with time, and a gathering of evidence, for which USAID has played a major role, most of us in the humanitarian community have come to understand now that the crisis in Niger was not one that hinged on a simple lack of food. It was a nutritional crisis resulting from a combination of chronic factors (poor water quality, improper weaning practices, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation) and market factors which pushed the price of food out of reach of poor households. It was the very younginfants, and children under fivewho were hardest hit, because they just don't have the reserves to fall back on.
What do the next few months hold in store for my bureau? FEWS NET has recently reported some good news for both Niger and the Horn of Africa. Niger and all of West Africa and the Sahel had good harvests last October, and food prices have stabilized in normal ranges. In the Horn, rains have been fairly good in most places, and the immediate suffering has lessened as water and pastures are now adequate in most places. Our food is being distributed to bridge gaps that may appear. We will also continue to support emergency nutrition activities, and stabilize activities in animal health, food security, and livelihoods. FEWS NET and its operational partners have also increased their monitoring resources in both regions to better catch the signals in weather, the markets, and in peoples' behavior that will help us detect an approaching increase in food insecurity before it occurs.
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But the fact remains that the margin between acceptable food security and an emergency crisis is exceptionally thin. For the United States, as with other donors, Niger's slide into an emergency situation last year was not expected, and in the time it took for international assistance to ''catch up,'' people suffered. It is a hard way to learn a lesson, but I'm going to make sure we've learned from it. And what I've learned is that in a country like Niger, or Ethiopia, where chronic poverty is so deep, where the nutritional status of children is so fragile, a ''humanitarian emergency'' is always right thereright underneath day-to-day survival. We won't get to it with emergency assistance. We've got to work with Niger's government and other donors to make sure we get to it with the right long-term investments.
IMPROVING OUR CAPABILITIES
For USAID and Title II, we are continuing to better integrate our humanitarian and development resources, and this we are working on not only with our colleagues in USAID's Africa Bureau, but also with our counterparts in international donor community, the African Union, and regional African organizations. It should also be noted that there are other entities throughout the U.S. government, including the Millenium Challenge Corporation and USDA, which are part of the our development assistance effort. We are combining Title II resources with those provided through the President's Initiative to End Hunger in Africa to support an African-led process of rationalizing investments in agriculture and growtha process that specifically targets ''hot spot'' countries.
Within my Bureau, DCHA, Food for Peace and OFDA are taking a number of steps to improve how we respond to emergencies that have major food insecurity components.
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First, Food for Peace is implementing a new Strategic Plan, approved in 2005 after being developed in close cooperation with PVOs, which seeks to make the best use of food aid resources. The plan refocuses attention and resources on the most vulnerable groups to help build resiliency so, for example, they will be able to better cope with the next drought or flood in a region, and therefore it should require less emergency food aid than would otherwise be needed. In implementing the plan, we are working to focus resources available for development-oriented multi-year assistance programs on the most vulnerable people in the most food insecure countries so we can have the greatest possible impact and help the neediest people.
To provide us with as much warning of impending crises as possible, we are expanding our early warning system, FEWS NET. We are placing more staff in more countries, personally monitoring and assessing situations, talking to farmers and herders, and visiting markets to determine first hand what the situation is on the ground.
Once we have warning of an impending crisis, to get food quickly to those in need, we are expanding our prepositioning of food aid abroad. In addition to our current prepositioning site in Dubai, which was instrumental in providing food quickly for Darfur, just this month we issued a request for proposals to provide warehouse, cargo handling, and logistics services for commodities at a site on or near the African continent.
But sometimes, despite our best efforts, our food aid cannot make it to those who need it in time to save lives. Whether it is due to a natural disaster or unanticipated conflict or pipeline break, sometimes there is not enough food in our prepositioning sites and no ships nearby to divert. Even with our new efforts, these situations will occur. This is an important reason why, as part of the President's FY 2007 Budget, the Administration requested that the Administrator of USAID be granted authority to use up to 25% of appropriated Title II funds for the local or regional purchase and distribution of food to assist people threatened by a food security crisis.
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Food purchased in the U.S. normally takes up to four months to arrive at its destination, and there may be no U.S. commodities available in the area where they are needed. Food purchased locally or regionally, however, can reach beneficiaries within weeks, or less. The ability to use a portion of Title II for local and regional purchase will allow us to move with greater speed and flexibility to save lives and prevent famine.
U.S.-grown food has always played, and will continue to play, the primary role and will be the first choice in meeting global needs. And we plan to use local and regional purchases judiciously where the speed of the arrival of food aid is essential. When lives are at stake, though, we need to have the capability to act. That is why we are asking for your support on this initiative.
Beyond food aid, my bureau is undertaking other innovative steps to deal with food insecurity crises. The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, OFDA along with its partners is implementing community-based feeding centers (CTC) instead of traditional therapeutic and supplementary feeding centers. This concept allows health care professionals to travel to homes instead of making mothers bring sick children to a center. It also educates community members how to identify malnutrition indicators early and begin to treat illnesses such as diarrhea with locally available foods thus sustaining the effectiveness of the treatment. More people are reached and children respond better when they are in their homes. Additionally, the CTC model is a more cost effective operation and also helps stop the spread of disease by not grouping sick children together in one place.
The lack of potable water and basic sanitation is problematic not only in the Horn and the Sahel, but also in many food insecure countries in the world. OFDA helps to implement emergency programs to address these two sectors. One example I saw while visiting the town of Koasuui in Kenya was a water tank that can supply the local primary and secondary school with clean water for six months. Other types of programs have helped to repair and build animal troughs and tap stands. Program staffs have also worked to enhance community participation and project sustainability by training water committees, and borehole and pump attendants.
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Food aid provides not just food and hope. Yes, bags of food and tins of edible oil can be found in many developing countries. But this food is also a testament of the generosity of the American people and their goodwill to those in need. Food aid will continue to be one of the most visible signs of humanitarian assistance and with it, a beacon to a world of our abundance and generosity to share our good fortune with those less fortunate.
As I have tried to convey, traditional food alone will not solve the problem. We need to make food aid more effective, and integrate it with a wide range of activities to help address the unacceptably high levels of hunger that still ravage the world.
With these last thoughts, I close my remarks and am happy to accept any questions that the Chairman or Committee Members may have for me.
Mr. SMITH [presiding]. Thank you so very much, and I think as you heard from Mr. Morris, he expressed I think a very deep appreciation to the United States Government, but especially the USAID for the work that you have done, and I want to add my hearty congratulations, always knowing that all of us can do more.
You have to live within the parameters that are set by Congress, in terms of appropriated dollars, and other authorities, but I do want to thank you. Everywhere that I have traveled, whether it be tsumani lands, or Africa, or anywhere else, I have always been impressed by the esprit de corps of USAID on the ground, providing much needed and unheralded.
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I mean, you point out that the flag is on this wheat. Very often we don't beat a brass band, and the good deeds that are being done by Americans and by United States taxpayer dollars are not announced. We just do it because it is the right thing to do. So I congratulate you on that.
And you heard earlier when the point was made by Mr. Morris that something on the order of a billion dollars is short in Africa, and I know that there are more donor countries that are now providing additional funds. But there always seems to be a shortfall, despite every best intention.
I am wondering if you could give us any indication as to whether or not looking at 2007 that we will close that gap. Let me also ask, the Emerson Trust was last used in 2005 to provide 200,000 metric tons of wheat to Sudan in food emergency.
USDA tells us that there are now some 900,000 metric tons of wheat and $107 million in cash. What is the Administration's thinking about the role of the Emerson Trust in the future. Are we drawing down as much as we should? Do we need to build it up? It is almost like the strategic petroleum reserves, so that we can really provide some difference as these emergencies arise.
And what tools and authoritiesand without thinking OMB, if you could ask for additional resourcesand I am asking you personally as well as professionally, what would that be to meet these crises around the world, especially in Africa?
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HESS. Thank you, sir. Our point on the good deeds, and I appreciate your thanks for the people who work very hard at USAID to get this out, because one of the things that I first recognized when I came to this job is that most of the people who do this great work in OFDA, Food for Peace, Office of Transition Initiatives, they get very little credit for it, and they think that their good work speaks for themselves.
And one of the things that I have committed to do is to make sure that the public knows about how these people work hard every day to make sure that these good deeds get done, and we will certainly continue that effort, and continue to do it up here on the Hill as well.
When we talk about the shortfall, the difficulty in this whole program is that even with the early warning system, we don't know where the crisis are going to be. It starts in the early part of the year in floods and cyclones in Madagascar, and floods in Mozamibuque, which then can result in droughts in Southern Africa, and then it spreads to Western Sahel, a generally speaking timeline.
And then it ends up on the Horn of Africa as it did last year, in late 2005, where the rains did not come in October, November, and December. While we know that this probably going to happen at some point, we can't anticipate which year. This year has been very good in Southern Africa, and we are very thankful for that. There is generally a slight correlation between Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa because of weather patterns out in the Indian Ocean.
But this year that certainly happened in the Horn, and we couldn't anticipate that. We certainly could not in the Sahel either. So while we look at the budget, and we say have we got enough, in the last 2 years it has not been, and we have had to come in to request the supplemental and you all have been very generous in the emergency supplemental to get us the money that we need to meet the emergency needs.
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So that is important, but it is very difficult to anticipate all of those emergencies. But we work very hard, and we are trying to work very hard on improving FEWS NET so that we can look out a little further into the future and we can work with you on that.
On the Emerson Trust, the Emerson Trust is very important to us. We came in and asked for $200 million as you indicated for the Sudan in 2005, and that was very important. It helped us meet the other crises. We did 87 percent of the food distribution in the Sudan that year.
We did 95 percent of the food distribution in Eritrea, and 96 percent of the food distribution in Ethiopia because we were able to use the Emerson Trust, and divert other resources to those countries.
At the same time, we worked with our partners, other donors, to make sure that they tried to cover the crisis that was emerging in Southern Africa. So it is kind of complicated when you put all of those together, but the Emerson Trust Fund does give us flexibility, and we work very closely with you all to use that when we need it.
And it is good to have up there in the tool kit, and I should have mentioned it when I talked about it in my speech. On the tools and the authorities, we are looking at these other methodologies as I said.
The insurance program is a good one to look at. It gives us the ability to diversify our risk a little bit. Richard talks about that very well, and he did a briefing on that yesterday. Those are important tools to use, and we need those.
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But we also need this authority on the local purchase, because from a funding point of view, think about how much it costs. It costs us about $1,000 per metric ton to ship food from the United States to Darfur roughly.
If we were to do it on a local purchase basis, we could reduce that cost substantially, and therefore be able to probably deliver more food aid in other parts of the world. So those kinds of flexibilities are important to us, and we appreciate working with you on those.
Mr. SMITH. In follow up, could you provide us with how much less it would cost so we get the comparative benefits of buying locally? And as I indicated earlier, we do plan on putting together some legislation on this, and any insights, thoughts, obviously being an expert in the field, you could provide would be helpful. And if you could provide those to us, we would very much appreciate it. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. All right. Thank you very much. And I think that this whole issue of commodities and the ability to buy locally is something that all of us have a lot of interest in. I think over the last 2 years the Administration has saw greater flexibility in food aid programs, and specifically the provision of cash resources for local and regional food aid purchases for emergency distribution.
These requests have not gotten far in Congress because of the agriculture lobby to be truthful. What is the reasoning behind these requests, and what advantages would be realized with this flexibility if you were able to get that local commodity.
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And I did see where you mentioned it was some disruption in an area, and would it be possible toI guess you would have to get the permission, but to purchase those products that you had to go in to give this food aid to, but as that crop matures, to be able to actually purchase that crop.
So therefore it would not be a disruption, and it could even be used for storage, or to be utilized in the next year. It just seems like there is something that could be worked out, and I just wanted to hear your comments on that.
Mr. HESS. Sir, for us the issue is flexibility, and timeliness, because when it takes 4 or 5 months to get the food there, we have to anticipate a lot further in advance, and that sometimes is very difficult.
We were able to this year in the pastoral crisis in the Horn of African, but we don't always have that luxury. For example, last year in Southern Africa, it was a lot harder to anticipate that need in the Sahel because of the differences in the crisis.
It wasn't weather related necessarily or locust related. It was related to things that we couldn't anticipate, and therefore having that flexibility cuts down the time considerably with which we can respond, and with which our partners can respond.
Jim Morris talked about the working capital part of how WFP works. If we make a commitment on funding, they can advance the funds on that, and go out and do the purchase right away. That helps in the timeliness, and it helps us in timeliness, while we can still provide the commodities at a later date.
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So timeliness to us is very important. The disruptions to which I referred to earlier, when you look at the markets in Southern Africa last year, where South Africa had 5 million tons excess capacity in cereal production. If we could have purchased locally there, and shipped it up to Zimbabwe and Malawi, and other places, and in Southern Africa, in Swaziland, it would have helped us out a great deal.
And that is really what we are looking at, is that flexibility, because we recognize that we can't replace it all. We would not want to. That gap that we are talking about, if we can cover those first couple of months with a local purchase until the food arrives, that will give us a lot more flexibility and be able to respond faster.
Mr. PAYNE. And that flexibility really comes from us more or less. So we have got to look in the mirror, right?
Mr. HESS. I would not want to be so presumptuous, sir.
Mr. PAYNE. It is not us here. If it was up to us, it would simply make sense, and it is more effective for American taxpayers, and it helps the local economy in those areas. But they tell me that there is some farmbelt people that really are not in favor of this.
Before I mentioned that USAID years ago used to be more engaged in agriculture, and I know that the most recent USAID Administrator
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HESS. Andrew Natsios.
Mr. PAYNE. Yes, right. I wonder when I am gone for a year if they will say what was his name, and nobody will know. but I know that he had an interest in trying to get back to agriculture and so forth.
How difficult is the farm subsidy program as relates to developing countries to really even start to become or get in the same ball park as not only the United States, but Europe? And secondly whether USAID is going to start to move back into some of the agricultural programs.
And thirdly there was Millennium village program that was started. Do you have any knowledge about where that is. Some private philanthropic folks were doing some programs called the Millennium Village Program, where it dealt with agriculture. So I don't know whether it is off the ground or whether you know anything about that.
Mr. HESS. To just answer that one first. I am sorry, but I don't know much about the Millennium Village, but I can get back to you on that if you would like me to.
Mr. PAYNE. Okay.
Mr. HESS. Within USAID, you are absolutely right. Administrator NatsiosI am having a mature moment herewas keenly aware of the effects of agriculture on societies, especially in Africa. And he instituted a bid program, and in one of our sister bureaus, the Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade, he made a big effort to make sure that they hired agricultural specialists.
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And as you all pointed out earlier, they had gone from our programs for a long time. So he did a lot of work to make sure that they got back in and we began again through EGAT to do more work with agricultural development around the world.
And we work very closely with them, because as I indicated, while we focus on the emergency and stop the dying, and alleviate the suffering, we also work on alleviating or restoring those economic conditions so that these people can improve their livelihoods.
So we work very closely with our regional geographic bureaus, the Africa bureau in particular in this case, with EGAT, and with our bureau, to make sure that our programs are integrated from the emergency all the way through to the development phase.
So we are aware of that, because we can't solve this problem unless we solve these long term issues. Pastorals in the Horn of Africa have to have access to markets. They have to have better roads. They have to have better water catchment programs so that they can survive these shocks that are going on currently in the Horn of Africa.
If we don't address those issues, we are going to have to be providing food for all of them, and we don't need to do that. We need to improve their livelihood so that they can survive these shots like farmers do here in this country. And that is important, and that is why we have worked very closely with those other parts, our partners, within the agency to make sure that happens.
We also work very closely with our NGO partners to make sure that those programs happen as well, and we funded a lot of those. But I will have to get back to you on the Millennium Village. I don't work with them.
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Mr. PAYNE. Okay. This fellow named Ray Chambers from New Jersey, who had dealt with another program, a domestic program that started about 7 or 8 years ago, but I could try to give you some more information about how to maybe run them down. Well, thank you very much. I will yield back the balance of my time. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Boozman.
Mr. BOOZMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was curious. A lot of your slide presentation was devoted to the water issues, and we talk a lot about food stuffs and things. And it seems like there are several different problems. I guess I would really like to know aboutyou mentioned the problem of actually having the well and it was foul.
In some areas, I know thatand in fact I was visiting with a group from Springfield, Missouri, a week or so ago, and they do well drilling, and were talking about the drought in different areas, and that they had never seen so many animals dead and things like that.
So you have got the well that is drilled, or a natural well that is foul, and then drilling the wells itself, is it difficult to get equipment over there? Is that a problem? Is it difficult to get the equipment there, and then without roads, to get it to the area where you need to be drilling the wells? I guess what I would like to know from you is kind of the road blocks that are running into that?
Mr. HESS. That is a very good question. Obviously, I believe in the holistic approach to this, and I have hit on water, and nutrition, as well as food and security. There are many other things that we work on, including conflict mitigation and governance issues at the same time.
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But the well drilling is an interesting issue, especially in the Horn of Africa. Drilling bore holes is not the answer. We need to look at other technologies, because just putting another well in the ground, if you don't train the people on how to properly use it and maintain it, doesn't solve the problem.
And in some cases, you are going to go down too far and you are going to destroy the aquifer as well. So we have to balance all of that out, and we do that very closely. When I talked about working with combined joint task force HOA, Admiral Rick Hunt, before he deployed to become the commander, he came to me and said, look, I can drill six wells a year in the Horn of Africa. I don't know where to drill those wells.
And he has put in place a program that he will not drill a well in the Horn of Africa without consulting us first, because what you can do then, if you drill it in the wrong place, is that you can actually increase the conflict, or ruin the water table.
And we don't want to do that. We don't want to do that. We are very smart about how we do that, and we work with our experts in the NGO community as well to figure this out. The other thing is that when you do decide, how to decide where to put a well in, and our NGOs, I visited three bore holes in Kenya, or four bore holes in Kenya, and one in Ethiopia.
And what you have to do is work with the community on where that ought to be so that you don't create conflict, and so that they have a commitment to maintain it. Because if you put a hole in the ground, that is fine, but who is going to maintain that. Who is going to pump the water. Do they charge for it.
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Do they limit the access to animals to it. Do they maintain things around it. And if the community is not involved in the process, you will fail. We will be right back there 2 years later drilling another well, and that does not solve the problem.
And the programs that we have instituted with our partners look at those issues. It is not just drilling the well. Picking the right place to drill it, and make sure that you prevent the conflict, and make sure that it is maintained properly.
We saw some good programs there where they are going to be maintained for a long time. They are very happy and they are very proud, and when you empower the people themselves, it does a lot of things to address those governance issues that I was talking about, because you are building grass roots organizations at the same time, which is pretty powerful.
So drilling bore holes isn't always the answer, and we have looked at some others. We have also done some water catchment programs off of schools. The water catchment program that I referred to in my testimony in Kenya will provide water to that school for up to 6 months.
And this is a school that is provided food by WFP for their school feeding program. So you see how we work together as a team to make sure that we addressed the issues at a larger scale.
Mr. BOOZMAN. You mentioned the different areas; the nutrition, the food, the water, conflict management, and whatever. Is there an areaof that group, there is a balance, I suppose. Is there an area that you need more help in? I know that you need more help in all of those areas, okay? But in one of those is thereare we perhaps under-performing in one of those compared to the other that we need to jack things up a little bit?
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Mr. HESS. In the balance from my perspective, I need to do more work with my teams on integrating it all from the very beginning. It is a planning issue. When we respond to emergencies now in the agency, it used to be in the old days when I first started working in this that it was the DART team that came out from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and then maybe Food for Peace came along, and then maybe OTI, and then maybe the governance, and then maybe the regional mission got involved.
But we can't do that anymore, because we have to integrate these things from the very beginning. Now what we need help on is, one, making sure that other donors are actively involved, and here I am talking about other nations in particular, and that they work with us more closely in trying to integrate these processes from the very beginning.
So that is very important for us. To help educate these governments on the issues of governance, so that they make sure that they have adequate representation with the pastoralists, especially in the Horn of Africa, or that we build the capacity of the governance.
When we go in, FEWS NET works very closelyfor example, in Niger, and I pointed out the problems in Niger. We are working very closely with the Government of Niger to build the capacity of their own government to identify these problems early on, and find the solutions themselves, because that to me is the end state and how we succeed, when they can solve these problems themselves. So that is kind of where we need to help, encouraging other governments to help us in that prospect.
Mr. BOOZMAN. Well, thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again, I want to compliment you. I have traveled extensively, and I think you all as an agency do a very, very good job, and certainly are doing the best with the resources that we provide you with. So, thank you.
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Mr. SMITH. Thank you. Let me just ask a few final questions, Colonel Hess. Two of our panelists later on, and a third being Ambassador Hall, point out that global food aid donations are shrinking, not growing.
Catholic Relief Services points out that they worry, and they worry I think with good reason, that to meet increasing emergency food commitments that USAID is reducing from 32 to 15 the number of countries in which it supports developing food aid.
They point out that the Title II amount, which they argue should be around the $2 billion rangeand I would note that the number for 2007, the recommendation is for $1.23 billion. So far short, almost half of what they argue is needed. And then Oxfam, in like manner, makes a compelling case about shortages, and the need for cash, as opposed to what my good friend, Mr. Payne, mentioned a moment ago, the agriculture lobby certainly has a lot to do with some of this at least.
But if we really want to meet our Millennium Development goals, and cut in half the number of hungry people and starving people, we need a more dramatic response. And I mentioned earlier in my questions about what your private or professional view is without the hinderance of what OMB would say you should say in order to meet these needs.
And I don't want to get you in trouble or anything of that kind, but as all of our friends have said, with 25,000 people dying a day, a sizeable number of those being children, I think we need to throw away the shackles and just speak plainly, and you do speak plainly.
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If you could tell us what your response is to those. I mean, we are not doing enough, and we are doing better than anyone else in the world, and I think we deserve high praise for that. But people are nevertheless dying in huge numbers, and these are preventable deaths.
Let me also ask you with the U.S. Trade Representative, what kind of coordination does your office have with the USTR, particularly as it relates to food issues, and where food issues have become a serious issue?
And my concern is that at the end of the day, if we are not careful, we will be set back even further in our ability to facilitate mitigation of world hunger. So if you could speak to those issues, please.
Mr. HESS. There is a lot there, sir, but we will get at all of them. First of all, on the development of the food aid issue, and when we went from 32 to 15 countries. One of the issues that we have in the agency, and certainly one of the things that I noticed when I first came to USAID, I asked the Bureau about how many countries are we in around the world.
Our bureau alone was in 104 countries, 104 countries around the world. And I said, well, what is the priority. Everything is a priority. Well, as you know, when everything is a priority, nothing is.
So we decided to focus our efforts, and you have to focus on that, and it is difficult. Those are difficult decisions. If it were an unlimited number of resources, we could give everything to everybody, and we would all be very happy about that.
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But we can't, because there are limited resources, and certainly on the development side. So you have to then ask the question how do we focus those resources, especially on the development side, to those countries that have the greatestwhat we think, and Jonathan and his team came up with five categories that analyzed the needs of those countries; from wealth, from poverty indexes, food, malnourishment, all of those things.
They put them together in a matrix and developed a list of the 15, because our hope is, and our focus is, and I think it bears weight, that if you can focus the needs on those neediest countries, then on the development side, as opposed to spreading it out across a number of countries, then you could target those countries as we do in our supplemental feeding programs.
And when you are targeting your assistance, if you could do that in a better manner, then hopefully we can eliminate some of those countries as needing emergencies. That is hard, and those are hard decisions.
But I think that you get a lot more out of targeting your effort and focusing your effort than you do if you spread it across a lot of places. And we can talk about that.
Mr. SMITH. But if I could on that case, if President Bush asks for additional resources, he will get it, and if the requestand I know that it goes through the shredder of finances called OMB.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But a person who is starving in one country is now off the list of focus, or prioritization, and is no less valuable than somebody in one of those countries. My point being that it is harder for us to plus up than when we get something from the Administration that says that this is what we really think needs to be done to make the difference.
I mean, it is shocking; a billion dollars short for Africa according to the World Food Program. That is a lot of loss of life, or less quality of life for those who do survive, and it just seems to me that if we had the request from the President that we would honor it.
There would be a fight, but so what. That is what we live for here. I think we could sustain higher numbers if we got that request.
Mr. HESS. Yes, sir. We could talk about those countries with developmental food aid, and some of those, I don't want to gowell, we could. Some of those countries are donor nations. Now should we be giving developmental food aid to countries that are food donors?
I don't think that is a wiseyes, we could ask for all the money in the world, and we could give developmental food aid to a lot of countries that really don't need it. And those countries need to focus onI don't want to say to clean up their act, but they need to get their act together.
And in some cases, we were not judiciouslywe didn't thinkspending our developmental food aid money, and we need to do a better job of that. And that is what Jonathan and his team are doing, is focusing, because we do have limited resources.
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And we do need to focus our efforts to make sure that we do it right, and he and his team have work pretty hard on that. Would we like to see more money? Absolutely. These people work hard every day, but we also understand that we can't predict where all these crises are going to be around the world.
And so I think that the effort that the team has put into identifying where the crises are going to be, and anticipating that in the budgetary process is hard. It is very, very hard, and I think the science has not caught up with probably where we should be on that, and we need to sharpen our pencils a little bit more on that, and we will.
To get back to your other questions, OXFAM need for cash, I think I have articulated in here that we need the flexibility of cash for local purchase. It certainly gives us additional flexibility.
On the USTR relationship, one of our senior staffers in Food for Peace has been involved in these negotiations for the last year, at least a year, if not a year-and-a-half. Dale Scoric has done a great job. He has been involved with USTR in Geneva. He went to Hong Kong, and he has been intimately involved in making sure that they are informed on the issues on food aid, and that our issues are adequately represented there, too, and he has done a great job on that.
Mr. SMITH. If you could as we move forward provide us with information as to what the best case scenario would be if you had the resources, what could be used, and used wisely to try again to alleviate all of the suffering?
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Because then it is our job to fight for it, but obviously if we both fight for it, it seems to me that we are going to get more of it. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Ms. Lee had a question, and she asked me would I ask it for her, but I agree, too, that we certainly should not be providing food aid to a country that has surplus food, or is sufficient.
However, I think that they may be the exception to the rule if something is happening that way when we hear of 2,100 calories in the Sudan being cut to 1,050. Evidently, there are places where the do need additional food assistance.
So to eliminate the reference that you made to a place that had a surplus, I couldn't agree with you more, but I don't think that we want to put apples with oranges. We still have a great need as you have indicated, and that is where we would like to concentrate on.
Ms. Lee had a question about the impact on U.S. farmers, and wanted me to ask this question. As United States farmers argue that local purchase may impact their commodities; however, the top five food grains ranked by quantity produced in Africa in Fiscal Year 2004 were maize, sorghum, millet, barley, and cereals.
While the top five commodities provided in food aid to Africa under PL 480 Title II Program were wheat, sorghum, corn, corn and soy blend, and a combination of peas, beans, and lentils.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So the question basically there is, is it a myth that purchasing food in the surrounding non-impacted areas will hurt U.S. farmers since there is only one product where we find them in both PL 480 and what is produced here in the United States, and that one item is sorghum. But all the rest, there is a separation.
So I guess the question is how could that impact so much on U.S. farmers if these are not the products that the U.S. farmers are growing.
Mr. HESS. Actually, if I may correct you there a little bit, maize is actually corn. So there are a couple of them on there, and the corn-soy blend is very important in supplemental feeding programs.
So there are a couple there, but you are absolutely right. The impact on the farmer in this country would not be that large because when you look at the overall production of this country, and you look at how much tonnage wise is given to food aid, it is not a big number.
We don't purchase the food. USDA does it for us. When they go out and do the purchases, it doesn't even move the market price, and we are talking about a small amount here, 25 percent of the Title II.
And we are not talking about using all of that. We just need the flexibility, and we wouldn't use all of that unless we needed to, and I can't imagine a situation where we would probably need all of that.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But if you have the flexibility to do that, then you are a lot better off, but to get back to her question specifically, I don't think it would impact the American farmer all that much. And I used to be a farmer. I was raised in Oklahoma and Illinois, and so I have feelings for those people, too.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr. SMITH. I would like to just say finally that one of the concerns that I have, and we have, as I am sure that it is shared by others, we have held a significant hearing on India, and the mistreatment of the Dalits, an issue that we have raised before, and I have raised before.
But we heard some very good expert testimony. Mr. Morris said earlier that there is a need for some 80 million children in India, and yet they are a donor country. Good governance obviously becomes a major factor here as well when these so-called untouchables are treated as subhuman by their own government.
It is not really a question, but more of a comment, but they are a donor country, but they are also a country where there is 80 million kids and people, young people, women and children, in need of food. So you might want to comment, but if not, please get back to us as we work on some additional legislation, and any other answers that you would like to elaborate on.
Mr. HESS. We will.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Colonel.
Mr. HESS. I appreciate it.
Mr. SMITH. I would like to now welcome our second panel, the Honorable Tony P. Hall, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Ambassador Hall is clearly one of the leading advocates for hunger relief programs.
In April 2006, he retired from government service after several years as a U.S. Ambassador, and also before that as a Member of Congress, who was a leader in the House as Chairman of the Hunger Committee, on behalf of making food and world hunger alleviation a central core issue of the Congress, and of all people of good will.
Tony is a very, very good friend of mine and many other Members of the House. We are from different parties, but there has never, ever been any gap between us when it comes to these kinds of issues. He has truly been a leader.
Our first trip was he and I together, and Frank Wolf, and Bob McEwen, and it was back in the early 1980s when we went down to El Salvador to promote humanitarian issues and hunger alleviation there, and the provision of medicines, and he has been doing it with incredible faithfulness his entire career. It is a privilege to welcome Ambassador Tony Hall.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE TONY P. HALL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
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Ambassador HALL. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and it is a privilege and an honor for me to be here, and I certainly want to thank you and not only for your chairmanship, but also your great passion, and your commitment to so many concerns, especially human rights, and hunger, and poverty all over the world and in your own country.
And thank you so much for what you have done, and thank you for this Committee, and it is certainly a pleasure to be with you. I have a statement, and if it can be, I would like for it to be part of the record.
Mr. SMITH. Without objection, it is part of the record.
Ambassador HALL. And then I will just summarize so many of the things that have been said over the past couple of witnesses, but I don't want to necessarily repeat. I might want to emphasize something, though.
And I do want to say that I want to commend the USDA and certainly AID for the job that they do. They were part of my Embassy in Rome, and they really, really do well, and the NGOs that actually do the work and so many of them are in the room today that get very little recognition.
I mean, they really, really, along with AID, really do the work, and I think the world of them, and if it were not for them, so many people wouldn't be fed and helped. I also want to say, Mr. Chairman, that Jim Morris is doing a great job on the World Food Program.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that the World Food Program is the best run U.N. organization in the world today. In my opinion, they are efficient, they are effective, and they do a great job. As you know, we have traveled together. We have been to Honduras, and Nicaragua, and Romania, and so many places.
And I probably got as much training in the Peace Corps as anyplace before I joined this body, but I got really stung by this issue in Ethiopia in 1984, when I saw so many people die one day, and I never got over that.
And I will never forget going up country to Mother Theresa's place, and the doctor said as soon as I got there, come outside with me because we have got to select five or six people, or five or six babies, and the rest are going to have to die. There was about 3,000 people outside with their children.
And as I went outside, apparently they thought I was a doctor, and so they would try to hand me their child because they knew that if they didn't get their child in our hand, the five or six that we could only handle, the rest were going to die that day.
And I saw so many things on that trip that I never got over. That commitment is very, very strong in me, and so what you are doing through your hearings and the kind of work that you have been doing, Mr. Payne, and so many Members of your Committee, is so important.
It is a work that is not necessarily covered by the TV cameras, or the newspapers, but it is probably the most important work that we do in Congress here. A couple of months ago, I was as many of these men, I was in northern Kenya, and I saw the benefit of good projects. I saw the benefit of the World Food Program working there.
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I saw the benefit of a wonderful project by World Vision, and I saw our own food being used in the school feeding program. And this is probably one of the most important things that we can do.
The McGovern-Dole school feeding program is about as important as anything that we do in all of our programs. It feeds lots of people. It gets kids back in school, and it is one of our best foreign policies.
I realize that a lot of people can't travel. I know that you travel. I certainly know that Mr. Payne travels. I have seen Mrs. Lee at various places, but I am amazed how few people do travel that are public officials, even when I was in Rome as the Ambassador there.
We had a lot of Ambassadors to the World Food Program, and very few of them travel. This is not because they don't want to travel, but because often their government does not provide money for them to go, and I wonder as I would come back to these board meetings how these Ambassadors sometimes, representatives, could vote on the kinds of money, and programs, and food, and agriculture projects that we put in these developing nations without seeing them.
So I really applaud your passion, and your ability to go out and see it. It is so, so important. What we do in school feeding, and with our food is probably, as I said before, one of our best foreign policies.
It creates a safer and more secure world for all of us. I will never forget about a man that I met in Pakistan, and he sent his child to one of these schools of hate, and I said, ''Well, why would you send your kids there that talk about hating Americans, and talk about killing us?''
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And he said, ''I don't have any money. I am poor. And I send my child there because they feed him and I can't feed him. I send him there because the education is free.'' And that is how we compete against these hate schools, through school feeding.
We get kids back in school. Our food aid, as you have heard, does so much more than fill stomachs. It is an incentive for women to get training and education that helps them and prevents them from becoming victims of human trafficking.
We use food for work projects for irrigation to build sanitation to connect roads. I remember in Albania, probably the poorest nation in Eastern Europe, where we had a project that connected five roads.
The women there were so happy that instead of giving cash, we gave food, food for work projects, because they knew that their husbands, if we gave cash, would take the money out and spend it on alcohol.
Our food aid is a means to motivate hundreds of people at a time, and there is a tremendous impact that it has on helping those living with HIV AIDS. You have heard the witnesses before on how important this is, because in America, and in our Western nations, we take nutrition for granted. We take Western health care for granted.
And we wonder why these people can't get help in the developing world. Well, it is because they don't have doctors and nurses in rural areas. Most poor people don't live in cities. They live in rural areas.
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And there is no health care really in some of these poor nations that we work in, and often times the people, in order to get the treatment, the anti-retroviral treatment, they must go into the cities.
And the problem with that is that if you try to give these kinds of drugs without proper nutrition, they can't stomach it. They will vomit it back up again. So nutrition is very, very important when we are treating people that are HIV infected.
We need to do better. As I said to you a few weeks ago, Chris, the United States is by far the biggest giver of food aid and development assistance in the world. I told you that through the World Food Program, when I first went there, we were giving well over 60 percent of everything, and the rest of the world was giving 40 percent.
Now it is down to 44 percent. It is not because we are giving less. It is because now other countries are giving more, which we want. We feel that giving 44 percent, or 50 percent, or 60 percent, is way too much for one country to give. So we are happy that other donor nations are coming on.
So we are by far the biggest giver. We don't get a lot of credit for this, and we should, and what I try to do when I travel is I try to take journalists with us. It is so important for them to see what we do, and they are so amazed when I tell them that in Ethiopia, in Darfur, in the Congo, in so many nations of the world, that 60 to 70 percent of all the aid coming in there is humanitarian aid, on emergency aid, development assistance, is coming from the United States. They are shocked.
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And when I go into the recipient countries, often times public officials that I meet with don't even know that most of the aid is coming from the United States. The other thing is that even people in our own country, people in our own districts, they don't have the slightest idea what our food aid and what our development assistance does.
But when we tell them about it, when we educate them, they become excited about the generosity that we give. Now having said all of that, and again going back to the fact that this is one of the best things that we do overseas, and we don't get a lot of credit for it, but I want you to remember the statistic that of all of the people that are hungry in the world today, we are only getting at 12, 13, or 14 percent.
Even though we are the biggest giver, we are just barely keeping our head above water. We can do so much more, and we can get our donor nations to do so much more. So this is why these hearings are so important to talk about school feeding, the McGovern-Dole program. It is so important.
We could double and triple the aid and the food aid that we get from that, and we could place it, and we could place it through a lot of different organizations, especially the World Food Program. And if we want to get at these 300 million children, and if we want to cut hunger in half by the year 2015, we are going to have to step up to the plate even more.
And it is not just us. It is other nations as well, because we are just kind of keeping our head above water here. So we can do better, but nobody can take away from the United States on what we do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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[The prepared statement of Ambassador Hall follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE TONY P. HALL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate this opportunity to testify before you this morning. And I am grateful to be able to share with you my insights about world hungera topic that I feel passionately about. We have a moral obligation to work to reduce hunger around the world; and doing this also helps us achieve other important foreign policy objectives.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge other guests testifying here today. In particular, Mr. Jim Morris, executive director of the World Food Program, who traveled from Rome, Italywhere I was based until recentlyto share his tremendous expertise in how to meet the needs of today's 850 million hungry people. He also happens to lead one of the best-run UN agencies in the world.
Mr. Chairman, before I go any further, I want to commend you and this subcommittee for your commitment to the needy and poor people of the world. From Darfur to Pakistan, from Southeast Asia to the Horn of Africa, decisions made in this subcommittee have helped rescue millions of people from the brink of starvation. The United States is the world's greatest humanitarian benefactor, and your work has in part allowed our country to claim such a distinction.
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Less than two months ago I completed my assignment as Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. It was a high honor to serve my country for more than three-and-a-half years, and to be able to take on the problem of hunger every day. I led a small but effective U.S. mission, powered by a dedicated team of Foreign Service Officers from three agenciesState, USDA and USAIDwho helped to elevate the United States to a new level of respect among the UN agencies in Rome.
Much of what I will discuss today is gleaned from my experiences as ambassador, but these are personal accounts, and personal conclusions. I don't want to there to be any misunderstanding. I am not speaking on behalf of the State Department. That said, I am sure that my colleagues who serve in the Department under the leadership of Secretary Rice share many of the conclusions I have drawn.
For more than 20 years, I have had a profound passion for helping the world's poor and hungry. As we sit here this morning, the clock is ticking for the 25,000 people who will die today, 16,000 of who are children. To put it another way in just over one week, the equivalent of my entire hometown of Dayton, Ohio, would be completely wiped out.
Helping the hungry and poor is not a desk job. You have to see for yourself how hunger dismantles otherwise productive lives, and too often destroys them. I have traveled to more than 100 countriesmost of them war-torn, politically and economically instable, and caught in a desperate cycle of hunger.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During my time as Ambassador these trips helped me to better understand the needs of the poor. They also won me greater credibility among my fellow permanent representatives to the UN, because they knew that I had seen the situation first hand. They knew that my call to action on a particular food crisis was based on the facts.
But the most important outcome from my collective field experience is that it has confirmed my faith in the gift of food as a means of saving lives and rebuilding livelihoods. I am therefore proud of America's food aid programs around the world. We are doing a lot. But we could do still more. Feeding the hungry is not just the right thing to do. It also helps create a safer and more secure world for all of us.
KENYA: EMERGENCY AID IN ACTION
The last trip I made as Ambassador was to the Horn of Africa, where a drought has plunged millions of lives into crisis. Driving in Northern Kenya, where the people depend on livestock for most of their food needs, I saw dead cattle scattered across the landscape. I saw thatch roofs almost completely stripped from hutsevidence of families' need to feed their cattle at the expense of a roof over their heads. Men, women and children who could no longer survive on their own were trekking across the bone-dry land, walking for several days to the nearest village, in the hope of finding food.
Further down the road there was a hopeful sign. We stopped to visit a warehouse operated by the non-governmental organization, Oxfam. Inside, we saw rows upon rows of USA food bags piled 10 feet high. The United States was among the first donors to the Kenya drought. To date we have given close to 100,000 metric tons of food aid, worth more than $65 million.
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That afternoon, we met some of the district's youngest recipients of our aid program. At Wajir Elementary School we found a long line of children waiting for their fortified maize porridge. This would be their only meal of the day. You can imagine that under difficult drought conditions, school attendance actually rises. ''Many of us came to school through drought,'' said one of the teachers. Families know that their children will be fed a good meal, and it's one less mouth for them to feed at home.
FEEDING THE HUNGRY WHILE STARVING EXTREMISM
The Horn of Africa is at the center of one of today's most urgent humanitarian situations. But I bring it up for another reason, too. It also happens to be a region where the harsh conditions and decades of civil strife mean that extremism is a serious concern. Wajir Districtone of the areas I visited in Kenyalies on the porous Somali border. It receives a steady stream of refugees from the lawless territories to the north, which are also a potential home base for extremist and terrorist groups.
Now, what do you think it means to that hungry family in Wajir to know that their child is being fed every day in a U.S.-funded school feeding program? If the child returns home each day with a full mind and full stomach, is he likely to succumb to extremist influences?
Our assistance programs must be targeted toward the most vulnerableirrespective of color or creed. But we should also recognize the link between poverty, fragile states and extremist activity. Our food aid can be a stabilizing force in places where families live on the edge.
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FOOD AID AS A MOTIVATOR
Our food aid does so much more than fill stomachs. It's an incentive for women to get training and education that helps prevent them from becoming victims of human trafficking. Around the world, food-for-work projects are helping communities reforest mountains stripped of their trees, construct small-scale irrigation projects that will help farmers become self-sufficient, and rebuild infrastructure destroyed in natural disasters. It is helping them build dams, train teachers and terrace hillsides.
Food-for-work programs can be an effective mobilizing force in places afflicted by poverty and underdevelopment. Food is a powerful motivator, and even preferred over cash. This is particularly true in unstable places where rampant inflation can rapidly undermine the purchasing power of bills and coins. A bag of lentils, on the other hand, holds its value. Sometimes food aid is practical for other reasons, like in Albania, where I met women who were afraid that if they were given cash for their work on a road-building project, their husbands would squander the earnings on liquor.
FOOD AID AND HIV/AIDS
As food aid is a means to motivate hundreds of people at a time, it has an equally powerful impact on helping those living with HIV/AIDS resist the debilitating effects of the virus.
In the United States, HIV-infected people can live comparatively normal lives because they have access not only to drug therapy, but to good nutrition. We take this for granted. But in Africa, even if you are among the minority who are receiving anti-retroviral treatment, your days are still limited given the lack of your intake of nutrients. A person who is HIV-positive cannot stomach the drugs without an adequate nutritional status. We need to make sure that our investment of millions of dollars for PEPFAR are closely linked to a food aid component.
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We are getting better at this. I visited several places just in the past year where food aid and drug therapy programs were closely linked. In Zimbabwe, I witnessed a food distribution program for home-care volunteers, improving prospects for the AIDS victims in their care. In the slums of Nairobi I met toddlers who would long have left this earth if it weren't for the nutrition they were receiving from a food aid program. In many cases, our food aid is doing more than just keeping people alive. It's also allowing wage earners to continue to work and provide for their families.
''FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE''
U.S.-supported food aid is having a significant impact around the world. Many recognize this; but we could do more to get the word out. Those red, white and blue bags are unmistakable. The words ''From the American People'' are being translated into local languages. More and more, the recipients I meet in the field know exactly who supplies them with food. I'll never forget arriving in Darfur, at a camp that was estimated to hold more than 115,000 refugees. In this desolate, dusty place there had been a delivery of USA food bags, stacked tall and ready for distribution. A spontaneous chant began, ''USA, OKAY! USA OKAY!'' I don't think the children and parents I met that day will forget which country brought them help in such bounty.
But we need to do better. When I traveled, I always made sure that journalists went out into the field with me. It has had a tremendous impact on public perceptions. We've generated hundreds of positive headlines about U.S. assistance, and we've forged relationships with correspondents who cover these issues daily. When we travel to the field with the press, we make a positive statement without saying a word. Once the journalists see the piles of food bags, once they talk to volunteers who dole out the rations, once they see smiling school kids with fingers sticky of fortified porridge, they begin to understand and appreciate in a very personal way the human impact of U.S. assistance.
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In 2005, U.S. donations to the World Food Program increased by $200 million, thanks to the Bush-Blair announcement last summer of an additional $624 million in funding. The G8 brought unprecedented focus on Africa, complete with last summer's simultaneous rock concerts and major celebrity attention. Countries that once received food aid, like India, have become donors.
Unfortunately, we are a long way from reaching the Millennium Development Goals that have been endorsed by the world's leaders. To reduce hunger by half by 2015, the number of hungry people needs to fall by 22 million per year. Currently, it is falling only by 6 million per year, according to FAO statistics. And yet, global food aid donations are shrinking, not growing.
One in every five people in the developing world is chronically undernourished. Every year, nearly 11 million children die before they reach their fifth birthday, almost all of them in developing countries. They don't die of starvation per se. More typically, they die of communicable diseases that ravage their weak systems. They are too malnourished to fight back.
For me, this is the greatest tragedy. Children in the developing world are being born underweight because their moms are undernourished. Without adequate food during infancy, children succumb to frequent infections and their growth may become stunted. The children are less capable in school because of prolonged malnutrition. In adulthood, they in turn raise children who are born into the same cycle of malnutrition.
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Kids can't focus in school if they are not fed. The poverty perpetuates. How will Africa rise to its economic potential as a trading partner if the vast number of its youth can't stay awake in school? If we care about these kids, and if we're serious about ending the cycle of hunger and poverty, then we need to be feeding the children who don't fall under pre-existing government programs.
It is an incredible thing to see a child receiving a meal at school. I hope that all of you have a chance to witness it for yourselves. For me, when I return from a trip to Africa, the images that are most vivid in my mind are of the children who burst with energy because they are being fed in school. I have seen, even in the most depressing slums of sub-Saharan Africa, ebullient children chanting and singing about how they've improved in their studies because of school feeding. Their smiles do not lie.
For me, this is where our political and spiritual will must be directed. We can create a new generation of productive young adults if we invest in them now. Then some day, maybe this generation will be telling their grandchildren about their youth, in the ''olden days'' when kids had to be given food aid.
Mr. SMITH. Ambassador Hall, thank you so very much. And as you know the idea for this hearing arose out of our meeting, and I do want to thank you for your leadership, which really has inspired people on both sides of the aisle for decades.
I thought one of the real losses was when the Congress got rid of the Hunger Committee itself, which had served as a lighting rod and which you so ably served as Chairman, and to make people aware, and that starts with educating our own colleagues.
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So again your leadership has blazed a trail that is second to none, and many people live today because of you. Let me just ask a couple of brief questions, and to ask whether or not you have any policy recommendations.
As I indicated earlier, we plan on crafting a bill that I hope will be an omnibus type piece of legislation on how do we upgrade our ability, capacity, authorization levels, and it may be a tough sled.
People want to cut budgets, and sometimes that is certainly warranted, but when it comes toas you just pointed out that 12 or 13 percent of the people who need help are getting it, and that means that an overwhelming majority are not getting it.
So your policy recommendations as we write this bill would be very, very much appreciated, and in fact, without sounding imprudent, I would like to call it the Tony Hall Bill because of your work. I know that you won't want that, but I think it would be a fitting recognition of the work that you have done.
And so any policy recommendations that you might want to discuss now, or certainly I know that you will give us pages of them going forward, and whether or not if you could, is about our European partners. The European community has emerged as the United States of Europe; strong, very prosperous, and we often find other than for specific programs like on torture, and the Nordic countries are very effective there.
But when it comes to just general aid, there is sometimes a shortfall there. I would think that they could do more, and your thoughts on there, because you obviously worked with their Ambassadors in Rome.
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Secondly, the food aid convention, whether or not you think there needs to be any revisions made there, renegotiate additions to, either now or for the record, and if you could provide us with some thoughts there as well.
And finally lessons learned on having served as Ambassador, and also knowing Congress, having served from Ohio for so many years, your recommendations to us on what we could do to do a better job.
You mentioned travel, and I think that was a very good point. I remember that one of our Members used to brag that he didn't own a passport, and I actually took a trip with him when we went to Sankovich in Macedonia, where the Kosovo Albanians were flooding into, and it was like this enormous eye opener to himI won't name his name, of courseas to what he was seeing.
It was like, well, that is exactly our point. Junkets are one thing, and humanitarian trips, and human rights trips, are absolutely quite another. So there would be some recommendations to our colleagues as well.
Ambassador HALL. That is a big list, Mr. Chairman, but I will try to take a bite out of it. I would increase school feeding two or three times if we could. If it is $100 million, I would try to get it up to $300 million.
I would certainly increase our water projects that we are trying to do, and certainly more in Subsahara Africa. We need lots of water projects; well diggers. Money for microfinance, and that is one of the most valuable things that we do to get mostly women to have a trade, and to produce their own income, and to teach mothers reading and writing, and a little bit of education.
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You want to talk about population, and you want to lower the population, teach the mothers how to read and write. They get smart, and the gross national product goes up, and the population goes down.
And it is because they realize that they don't have welfare systems or Social Security in these countries. Their welfare system is their children, and they have got to have a lot of children. They expect a number of them will die because their children are going to be their welfare.
Their children are going to be their Social Security. They are the ones who are going to take care of the parents. So when the mothers learn about reading and writing, and when they learn about breast feeding, and clean water, and nutritious food, and immunizations, then they start to think through microfinance how they can produce a little bit of income.
And they get smart, really smart. The country really prospers. The gross national product goes up and the population goes down. All of those things are so important. It could be the most important thing that we do.
I mean, if I had to write a bill, I would say that nobody in this country first is going to go to bed hungry ever again. I am going to make it my goal to feed everybody in this country that is hungry.
And the second thing that I would do is to do these things that we are talking about overseas; school feeding, microfinance, water projects, reading and writing for women. I will tell you that you will get the Nobel Peace Prize if you do this, Chris, if you could produce a bill that in the long run would do these kinds of things, I would tell you that you would put a dent in hunger like you can't believe.
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There is no reason that we should have 25 million people hungry in our own country. There is no reason, no reason at all, why we should have 25 or 26 million die today. I mean, if there is one thing that we can do in the Congress of the United States, it is to make a commitment to end this, or to at least put a major dent in it.
And so those are my recommendations. Secondly, you talked about what we can do, and if you can get your colleagues to travel like you do, and like Mr. Payne does, I think it is so important, because I remember one of my good friends who passed away, Bill Emerson, and Bill Emerson was opposed to my Select Committee on Hunger.
And I said, ''Bill, why don't you go with me, travel with me?'' So he did, and he also went with Mickey Leland, and he came back such a believer that he came one of the real giants around here, especially on domestic hunger and trying to make things work, and passing legislation.
And his work on the Agriculture Committee was unbelievable, and so when we get Members to travel, and when we get Americans to see what we see, all you have to do is touch their heart, and they will figure out what to do.
And you asked a couple of other things, and I can't remember, but those are some of the things that come to my mind.
Mr. SMITH. The issue on the food aid convention, and also on the European community.
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Ambassador HALL. The European community, they can be painful sometimes, very painful, because I have been dealing with them the last 3 1/2 years. And they talk a lot, and they give us a lot of grief. When I first went there, Biotech was the big issue, and every time they got a chance to beat us up, it was the biotech issue.
Now the latest issue is cash versus in-kind food, and they were wrong on biotech, and they are wrong on this issue before the WTO, and they have a tendency to say that the check is in the mail.
And you will say, well, the United States is going to give this kind of money, and we are going to give that kind of money, and they will say, we are going to give double that, and we are going to do this or that, and I am scratching my head. I have never seen these numbers before. Where do they get this stuff?
And to make a long story short, they can do a lot more. We have got some good friends there. You know, Canada is a good friend, and Great Britain is a good friend, and Japan, and they are pretty good donors. The Nordic countries do give, but compared to us, there is no comparison, and they can do a lot more.
Mr. SMITH. Anything that you would like to add, Mr. Ambassador?
Ambassador HALL. I think I have probably said enough. It is a good thing that I am not an Ambassador anymore.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Again, I want to thank you for your tremendous service, which will continue, and I look forward to working with you as we go forward, Tony, and thank you for your patience.
Ambassador HALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. I noticed in your opening statement that you said good morning, and it has long passed morning. Your written statement rather. Thank you again.
I would now like to invite our third panel to the witness table. First is Mr. Sean Callahan, who is Vice President of Overseas Operations for Catholic Relief Services. Mr. Callahan is responsible for the oversight of programmatic activities in more than 90 countries.
Mr. Callahan has a wide variety of experience in South Asia, including working closely with Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and facilitating programming in Afghanistan during and after the Taliban.
We then will hear from Mr. Gabriel Laizer, who currently works with the Alliance to End Hunger. Previously, Mr. Gabriel worked for 5 years with Bread for the World. In addition, he spent several months as an international policy analyst with the Government Relations Department to monitor and promote the implementation of the Millennium Challenge Account.
And then we will hear from Gawain Kripke, who is a Senior Policy Advisor on International Trade Issues with Oxfam America He directs the policy work of the organization's Make Trade Fair Campaign, which aims to change unfair trade rules so that international can become a powerful force for reducing global poverty. Mr. Callahan, if you would begin.
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STATEMENT OF MR. SEAN CALLAHAN, VICE PRESIDENT, OVERSEAS OPERATIONS, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES
Mr. CALLAHAN. I wish to thank Chairman Smith, and Mr. Payne, and the honorable Members of Congress for the opportunity to testify before this Committee. My name is Sean Callahan, and I am the vice president of overseas operations of Catholic Relief Services.
And I appreciate you, Mr. Chairman, and the Committee in taking the initiative to have a hearing on this particular topic. Our responsibility is great. As the blessed Mother Theresa, who I had the blessing to work with in Calcutta, and who had several centers throughout the world that are supported by PL 480 and Title II, said:
''When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take the care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.''
During my 18 years with Catholic Relief Services, I have managed food aid programs in Central America, Africa, and Asia. I wish to summarize my prepared statement, and ask that it be made a part of the record.
Mr. SMITH. Hearing no objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. CALLAHAN. And at this time, I would like to highlight three key points; building bridges, staying the course, and responsibility. First, on building bridges. I can tell you from my personal experience in drought affected Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, at the schools and child laborers in Hyderabad, India, and through community self-help projects in Central America, food aid is an effective means of foreign assistance.
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Food aid can help stabilize societies facing social upheaval, help remove the fuel of violence, and offer hope to those whose future is utterly bleak. Food aid bridges the gap between cultures. As Catholic Relief Services ensures an American face on thousands of tons of food aid delivered to predominantly Muslim populations in Sudan, Indonesia, Senegal, Northern Ghana, and elsewhere.
As an American organization, our presence reinforces the message that food aid used in school feeding and well baby clinics comes from the American people. In fact, food aid may be the least expensive and most effective investment in public diplomacy.
I can also tell you that food aid will remain a critical component of our humanitarian and development programs in Africa. From emergency aid in the Sudan, to nutrition for AIDS patients in Southern Africa, to food for education programs in Northwest Africa, food aid is critical in each case.
Second, staying the course. When we stay the course, great changes happen. Food aid works best when it is part of long term programs into making generational changes. An example of this generational approach is the combination of food assisted child survival, and school feeding programs in the same village over the course of a decade.
Together these programs boost immunization rates, improve child nutrition, and increase school attendance. They result in a generation of healthy and educated parents whose children are even better fed, better educated, and healthier.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The danger today is that we so often don't stay the course. It is tempting to take a hot spot approach to foreign aid, and particularly to food aid. Instead of providing new resources to address the requirements of disaster, they are often taken from the areas of need, disrupting the quieter, yet effective, long term school feeding, child survival, and natural resource management programs.
More than $2 million in Title II resources was diverted this year from Haiti alone to meet the needs in other hot spots. We should not be forced to make the choice of having to starve Peter to feed Paul.
Last year, CRS used millions of dollars of privately raised cash to plug holes in the United States and U.N. food aid pipelines in Niger and Southern Africa. We raise millions of dollars each year from private citizens and foundations to feed the hungry.
We can and will continue to augment the Title II pipeline, but we can't replace it. We need a robust appropriations of $2 billion a year for Title II, a level that should be authorized in the 2007 Farm Bill.
We need these resources not only to meet our moral commitments, but for our national security, too. We must also stay the course at the World Trade Organization. Food aid should not be a trade negotiation bargaining chip. The WTO can't be allowed to limit or govern food aid flows, particularly by private voluntary organizations.
Third, responsibility. I think the humanitarian spirit of the American people is great enough that we can both feed the chronically hungry in the developing world, and still meet the acute needs of those who face natural and man-made disasters. CRS regularly surveys the 65 million American Catholics.
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We find that there is overwhelming support for feeding the poorest of the poor. To give some perspective, if we adjust for inflation, in real dollars, the United States is spending 25 percent of what we did in the mid-60s on food aid. By any measure, we are falling short and failing the world's most vulnerable.
Due to the U.S. Government funding constraints, by 2009, CRS will close eight of its fifteen food assisted development programs, many of them in the Muslim world. CRS is also facing the prospect of having to tell Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, and elsewhere, that we will no longer be able to provide United States food aid to help them, which we have done for over 50 years.
CRS certainly will continue to provide private funds, but we will not be able to fill the gap. I urge the Subcommittee to support the $2 billion necessary for PL 480 Title II so that we can meet the most urgent emergency needs, while preserving our ability to carry out quality, sustainable development programs.
In doing so, we can also augment our national security, and bolster our public diplomacy in unfriendly environments. I thank you and all Members of Congress for making this assistance a reality, and I hope that we can count on our continued support in the future. Let us continue to build bridges by fulfilling our responsibilities to those in need. Let us stay the course.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Callahan follows:]
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF MR. SEAN CALLAHAN, VICE PRESIDENT, OVERSEAS OPERATIONS, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Mr. Payne, and Honorable Members of Congress, my name is Sean Callahan. I am vice-president for Overseas Operations at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), for whom I have worked in the US and overseas for 18 years.
CRS is among the largest, most experienced and most effective users of emergency and development food aid provided by the people of the United States. We represent the 65 million member Catholic Community in a 52-year-long partnership with Food for Peace that expresses like nothing else the compassion and good will of the American people.
Today let me sketch the global requirements for aid and then discuss the key role of food aid in public diplomacy. Then I would I like to summarize related issues, which demonstrate or affect the role of private voluntary organizations like CRS in global food aid.
GLOBAL REQUIREMENTS OF ADEQUATE FOOD AID
We face a severe challenge in responding to the grim requirements posed by global hunger. The UN estimates 852 million people are undernourished worldwide. According to USDA, 83 million people live on less than 1,100 calories a day. Six million people will die of hunger related causes this year. According to the United Nations, 25,000 people a day die of hunger related causes. They are too weak to fight off flu or the effects of diarrhea. They are underweight infants and overwhelmed mothers. They die quietly, off camera, unnoticed by the rest of the world.
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To provide a nutrition supplement to the most undernourished 10 percent of the world's population would cost $3.3 Billion a year. An authorization of $2 billion a year in the 2007 Farm Bill for PL 480 Title II would meet 60% of these needs. We would expect European, Asian and even African donors to make up the remaining shortfall.
The U.S. share of total global food aid has ranged from 40% in the early 1990s to approximately 60% in recent years. The U.S. food aid contributions for PL 480 Title II (regular appropriations plus supplementals) have neared or exceeded$2 Billion several times since 2001.
This is not a large amount in historical terms either. If we adjust for inflation, in real dollars the United States spent more than $8 billion a year in food aid during the mid-60s. In 1988 the Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed a measure that stated that food aid should not be less than one-third of all United States foreign economic assistance. We can't expect you to match one-third of the FY 07 Foreign Operations budget for development and economic assistance with food aid. But if we were to honor the spirit of the law, we would have the $2 billion in annual appropriations, an amount necessary for Title II to meet the most urgent emergency needs while preserving our ability to carry out quality, sustainable development programs.
I worry that when we need to be increasing our efforts, we are cutting back. At the World Food Summit in 1996 attendees pledged to cut hunger by 50% by the year 2015. Instead of cutting hunger in halfdonor countries have cut assistance in half. The amount of food aid committed dropped from 15 million metric tons to 7 million metric tons from 1996 to 2004. To the US Government's credit, in the face of reduced contributions from some countries, Title II funding has ranged from $1.6 billion to $2 billion in recent years.
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However, to meet increasing emergency food aid commitments, USAID is reducing from 32 to 15 the number of countries in which it supports development food aid. CRS will be forced to close feeding programs in eight countries. Up to 2 million program beneficiaries will be unable to access a school meal, participate in health programs or supplement their meager incomes with food for work. Even more sadly, we will need to find new ways with reduced resources to support long-term partners such as Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.
THE KEY ROLE FOR FOOD AID IN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
Section 12 of the 9/11 Commission Report includes numerous references to the need for the United States to communicate its basic values and its humanitarian concerns. The commission called upon us to create ''opportunities for people to improve the lives of their families and to enhance the prospects for their children's success.''
Food aid communicates our humanitarian spirit while improving people's lives and prospectseach bag is marked with a USAID logo and the words, ''Gift from the people of the United States.''
Within the context of public diplomacy, food aid bridges the gap between cultures. CRS is an American face on thousands of tons of food aid delivered to Muslim populations in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Southern Sudan, Senegal, Northern Ghana and elsewhere. As an American organization, our presence reinforces the message that the food aid used in school feeding programs and well baby clinics comes from the American people.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When we stay the course, great changes happen.
Food aid works best when it is part of longer term, multi-year programs aimed at making generational changes. Examples of the generational approach are food assisted child survival coupled with a school-feeding program carried out within the same village over the course of a decade. Together these programs boost immunization rates, improve child nutrition and improve school attendance. They result in a generation of healthy and educated parents whose children are even better fed, better educated and healthier.
The danger today is that we don't stay the course. It is too tempting to take a ''hot spot'' approach to food aid. The hot spot approach throws resources at the CNN disaster of the month, depriving resources from the quieter, school feeding, child survival and natural resource management programs that work more effectively in the long-term.
More than $2 million in Title II resources were diverted this year from Haiti alone to meet other more noticeable hot spots such as Sudan. The point is that we need resources for both struggling countries. Saving Peter by starving Paul is a recipe for disaster. Naturally, the federal government cannot shoulder the burden by itself but it must do more.
Last year CRS used millions of dollars of privately raised cash to plug holes in the US food aid pipelines to Niger and Southern Africa. We raise millions of dollars each year from private citizens and foundations to feed the hungry. We can augment the Title II pipelinebut we can't replace it.
THE CRITICAL ROLE OF PVOS IN EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS
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Mr., Chairman, I next want to highlight this morning the effectiveness of PL 480 Title II feeding programs and the need for this committee to support a $2 billion authorization for Title II. This level will allow the U.S. to meet our share of relief and development commitments around the This $2 billion level needs to be authorized and appropriated ''up front'' in the budget process and not be done piecemeal through an under funded regular bill followed by one or more supplemental appropriations.
CRS supports protecting a core level no less than $500 million (of the $2 billion above) of Title II funding for ongoing, multi-year programs that address the causes of chronic food insecurity and enable communities to build better coping mechanisms in the face of recurring disasters. The practice to date has been for annual emergency needs, beyond planned levels, to be met by taking from on-going multi-year food security programs.
Food aid is an effective means of addressing both chronic and acute food insecurity in emergency situations and when carrying out development and social safety net programs. Annual results reports consistently show increases in vaccinations, girls' graduation rates, school attendance and crop yields and decreases in rates of malnutrition. Evaluations of CRS Title II programs between 2001 and 2004 showed the following results:
Yields increased by an average of 43%
More than 1 million students enrolled and receiving a school meal
Primary School graduation rates up 42% with an 86% increase in girls' graduation in Burkina Faso
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An average of a 60% increase in vaccination rates among under-three-year-olds
An average of 86% increase in exclusive breastfeeding of infants during the first six months of life, greatly improving their chances of survival.
Not only are CRS programs measuring positive results; they are accountable for the resources used to achieve the results. Each year our programs are audited by the USAID Inspector General and by our internal auditors.
Most importantly, the very effectiveness of programs managed by CRS and other private voluntary organizations (PVOs) helps advance US public diplomacy. Beneficiaries in both friendly and contentious nations recognize and appreciate the American contribution in fighting hunger.
I have seen this time and again in my travels for CRS across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
THREATS TO PVO PARTICIPATION IN GLOBAL FOOD AID
To ensure the effectiveness of our public diplomacy, I urge the Committee to monitor the work of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in global trade talks.
We first must keep in mind that humanitarian food aid programs are in danger today because they are on the negotiating table at the Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks. The American people's ability to offer a hand up to the needy should not be a bargaining chip in agriculture trade negotiations with other countries
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CRS supports balanced trade liberalization through the WTO while also creating a preferential option for poor countries. The USTR should seek inclusion of tariffs, quotas and other protective measures that enable poor countries the time to develop local economic and trade capacity.
The USTR further needs to assure that food aid remains available to both international organizations and private voluntary organizations for emergency, multi-year development and social safety net programming.
Food aid flows should be monitored by an independent body with PVO and WFP representation that succeeds the Consultative Subcommittee on Surplus Disposal (CSSD) in FAO. The WTO is not the correct body to set regulations on food aid flows and as such should not be tasked with the monitoring of such flows. Further, it is critical that the Doha Round negotiators refrain from taking any actions that result in a decline in food aid availability.
While the USTR negotiates for robust food aid, the US can unilaterally advance food aid.
We will go a long way to meeting our Millennium Development Goal of halving world hunger if we take the lead in honoring donor commitments to the Food Aid Convention. These commitments dropped from 7.5 million metric tons in 1986 to 4.8 million metric tons in 1999. The US should lead the other donor nations in reaching the 10 million metric tons target of the original Food Aid Convention, and then encourage even more robust contributions by an expanded donor community.
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CHANGES NEEDED IN U.S. PARTICIPATION IN GLOBAL FOOD AID
In addition to changes in food aid monitoring noted before, CRS also supports a change in the 1999 Food Aid Convention (FAC). The modification will elicit greater contributions of cash and in-kind food aid worldwide and expand representation of donor and recipient countries, as well as International Organizations and PVOs, in food aid deliberations
Most emergencies do not have a rapid onset. They result from poor governance, failed rains, heavy rains, seasonal pests and ongoing conflicts. Donors, policymakers and aid agencies do not acknowledge most emergencies until they reach an acute stage. There is a general tendency to ignore the warning signs and the initial onset. But we can see them coming. If it rains hard during the monsoon season in China and Nepal, floodgates of dams will be opened and there will be flooding in Bangladesh and India. If there is El Niño in the Pacific, there will probably be droughts in Africa.
Resources were not committed last year when it was apparent to the food aid community that the drought would worsen the food security of millions of people in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. Niger is once again off the radar screen. However, more than 2 million people were financially ruined in last year's emergency. Today they lack the resources to feed their families and rebuild their lives. Our failure or inability to act costs people their lives and makes the lives of those who survive more difficult and shorter than they need to be in the 21st century.
Thus, we need to recognize the need for a robust FY 06 Supplemental Appropriation that provides $600 million more. At the same time, we must press towards a target of $2 billion for Title II in FY 07.
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To date, the Supplemental includes only $350 million and the House-passed FY 07 Agriculture Appropriations bill provides only $1.2 billion for Title II. I fear that we are on a collision course with famine.
Meanwhile, the concentration on acute rather than chronic needs is one of the factors contributing to the shortening of intervals between emergencies. I have witnessed this in Ethiopia and parts of Southern Africa. The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) is designed to meet immediate emergency needs and prevent emergency programs from using the resources of development and safety net programs. There has not been adequate funding to replenish the BEHT, leading to disruptions in emergency, development and safety net programs.
CRS supports the restructuring of emergency response mechanisms so that aid can be delivered quickly and effectively. The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust should be used first to forestall taking food from ongoing multi-year Title II development programs. The replenishment mechanism for the Trust needs to be streamlined and made automaticas opposed to requiring an appropriation.
It was reported in the Economist magazine that investing $1 in emergency preparedness and mitigation through development programs would save $7 in emergency response. Not doing the development programming often results in needing to respond to an emergency situation, and often the delay in responding to the emergency means that it is much larger than if we'd been able to mobilize the resources at the first sign of trouble.
In conclusion, not funding development programs is short sighted. If we won't pay now, we all will pay later. I ask you once again to commit to a PL 480 Title II authorization level of $2 billion for FY 07 and beyond. It will save time. It will save money. And it will save lives. This modest investment will also advance public diplomacy in areas of conflict and tension.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to respond to any questions that the Committee may have.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Callahan very much. Mr. Laizer.
STATEMENT OF MR. GABRIEL LAIZER, BENEFICIARY OF SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM, TANZANIA
Mr. LAIZER. Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittee, fellow panelists, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor and indeed a humbling experience for me to be participating at this hearing on a very critical topic of hunger and food aid.
Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that one day I would be sitting here discussing an issue very close to my heart. How did I get here? Eleven years ago, I met an American missionary named Ruth Klavano in my hometown of Arusha, Tanzania. It was the first time that I had met an American.
Ruth was to become my English teacher at Moringe Sokoine Secondary School. She needed to learn Swahili if she was to succeed in her teaching and I needed to learn English. A lifelong relationship developed during my many sessions of English and Swahili lessons.
As her contract expired, Ruth invited me to live with her in Vancouver, Washington, and attend high school. I was able to graduate and quality for a scholarship at California Lutheran University to study political science. Following the completion of my Bachelor's degree, I was awarded another scholarship to attend American University, where I studied international development, all under my student visa.
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While our meeting might have just been a coincidence, it has transformed both of our lives and the lives of hundreds of other people both here in the United States and in Tanzania. To me, the generous spirit of America is shown in Ruth Klavano.
She was always the first to ask how can I help. She was always the first to know that the borders of the world are only drawn on maps and not in our lives. I hope that I have given back to Americans what I have been privileged to receive from you. I have had many opportunities to speak to different audiences in schools, churches, and elsewhere about the challenges that my country and my continent face.
I came from very humble beginnings. I am one of seven children. My family lives in Arusha, Tanzania, a city in the hills of Mount Kilimanjaro, where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has been held. Both of my parents were lucky to be educated.
They instilled in all of us the importance of education. I am happy to say that I was the first one in my family to receive a college degree. All of this was made possible in part because of school feeding and food aid. I can distinctly remember going to kindergarten and elementary school and receiving a midday meal of corn meal porridge, tea, and biscuits.
I ate the meal in my plastic bowl, but I never saw the bags with an American flag on them or got to say thank you until today. This food kept me in school, and it gave me an opportunity to learn and to grow into the person that I am today.
Like all kids, my classmates and I were excited about recess. But we were more excited about lunch time. The warm porridge was very welcome on a cold day. Later in my schooling years, my parents were asked to contribute time and money toward the meals programs. Other families that couldn't contribute financially were able to volunteer in the kitchen.
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I remain thankful to many Americans who have assisted my family in one or another way. While the challenges that Tanzanians face are many, I am here today to talk about the challenge of hunger and food insecurity.
In August 1998, the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi were bombed by associates of Osama bin Laden. I believe it is correct to say that most Americans had not heard about Tanzania before then.
Americans, Tanzanians, and Kenyans were killed that fateful morning, as were other Americans and citizens of the world 4 years later on September 11. We are at a global crossroads today. Our security will not be guaranteed while millions of people around the world are living in desperation. There isn't a good justification for why 850 million people are living without food today.
Today's hearing is timely and could play a key role in our desire to prevent terrorist attacks from ever happening again. We know how to end world hunger, and some of the misery that stems from it. What we need is political will to do so.
A recent poll done by the Alliance to End Hunger, the organization that I work for, found that 78 percent of Americans want Congress to approve President Bush's proposal to increase funding for Africa and poor countries to help reduce hunger, poverty, and disease.
The Alliance has members from various sectors of society, including corporations like Cargill, and non-governmental organizations such as Save the Children, and Counterpart International that have benefitted from food aid.
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Just as in America, most of what I learned about my culture and society, my values, and morals, happened around the dinner table. With many families facing famine in Africa, this great transfer of knowledge and of family values is being lost.
There isn't a more powerful tool for diplomacy than seeing bags of rice or cans of cooking oil marked ''A gift from the people of the United States'' being distributed in villages all over the developing world.
Our shared values rising from the Embassy attack in August 1998, and that of September 11, have brought our people closer together. Food aid is a critical short and long term investment, just like the education that my parents wanted for me and my siblings to receive.
Food aid creates a healthy nation. A healthy nation is a productive society. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the nutritious food that I received during my primary and secondary education years.
Since Tanzania qualified for debt relief in 2000 and started to provide free primary school education, enrollment has increased by 85 percent. An additional 1.5 million children are in school today. School feeding programs will contribute greatly to the improvement of the attendance, academic achievement, and the retention of students, especially girls.
According to the World Food Program, only 190,000 Tanzania children are benefiting from school feeding programs today. For a few of my middle school years in the 1980s, the United States provided $33 million in mostly non-emergency food aid to Tanzania. If that did not end up in the bowl of lunch that I had, it certainly did for some of my fellow Tanzanians.
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I am aware of the current debate about food aid reform. However, I will focus my suggestions on three items to make sure that our emphasis is on helping the hungry and poor children reach their full potential.
Our programs should sustainably help people in need. Their welfare should be our moral obligation, and should be our top priority. My current work has involved me with the ONE Campaign. Two million Americans have also signed up with this goal of making poverty history.
They are now asking President Bush and this Congress to provide an additional 1 percent of the Federal budget toward the goal of ending hunger, poverty, and disease. But the ONE campaign is more than Bono traveling to Africa and highlighting some development success stories on NBC News.
Bread for the World, one of the founding partners of the ONE Campaign, is mobilizing people in churches and on college campuses across this country. They and others are engaging their elected officials to say reducing hunger, poverty, and disease over there is an important issue over here as well.
One of my hopes is that this Congress will keep President Bush's promise to increase poverty-focused development assistance by $25 billion over the next 5 years. In order to honor his word, and meet this goal that was established at the G8 Summit, Congress needs to approve a $5 billion increase this year alone.
My second hope is that this Congress will increase support for school feeding programs like the one that benefitted me. The George McGovern-Bob Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has proven itself a huge success. Your support for expanding this effective program that changes young lives is crucial.
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This Committee was instrumental in authorizing the McGovern-Dole Program in the 2002 farm bill. I and others sincerely hope that you will play a leadership role in the next farm bill. School feeding is not the only solution to development problems, but is one of the most proven and effective interventions for helping people help themselves.
Finally, I would hope that this Congress would strengthen response mechanisms to international famine. Unfortunately, responses often come after images of starving children appear on television.
The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, named after one of your colleagues, and a true hero for the hungry, exists to prevent famine. Please assure that the trust is sufficiently funded with an automatic replenishment system.
Currently the decision makers hesitate to use it because the needs far exceed available resources. Also, an international famine relief fund, under the auspices of the World Food Program, should be considered.
Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for this opportunity to share my story and these thoughts. The decision that you make today affect the leaders of tomorrow in very real ways. I hope and pray that the children of Africa will have the opportunities that I have been given. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Laizer follows:]
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF MR. GABRIEL LAIZER, BENEFICIARY OF SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM, TANZANIA
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, fellow panelists, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor and indeed a humbling experience for me to be a participant at this hearing, on the very critical topic of hunger and food aid.
Not in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined that one day, I would be sitting here discussing an issue very close to my heart that affects millions of people in my home continent and around the world.
How did I get here?
Eleven year ago, I met an American missionary named Ruth Klavano in my hometown of Arusha, Tanzania. It was the first time that I met an American. Ruth was to become my English teacher at Moringe Sokoine Secondary School. She needed to learn Swahili if she was to succeed in her teaching and I needed to learn English. A lifelong relationship developed during many sessions of English and Swahili lessons.
As her contract expired, Ruth invited me to live with her in Vancouver, Washington and attend high school. I was able to graduate and qualify for a scholarship at California Lutheran University to study political science. Following the completion of my bachelor's degree, I was awarded another scholarship to American University where I studied International Development, all under a student visa.
While our meeting might have just been a coincidence, it has transformed both of our lives and the lives of hundreds of other people both here in the United States and in Tanzania. The generosity of Americans has played a key role in my success so far. They have supported me financially, emotionally and spiritually. I have learned about your culture, your hopes, dreams and ambitions and I have shared mine as well.
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To me, the generous spirit of America is shown in Ruth Klavano. She was always the first to ask, can I help? She was always the first to know that the borders of this world are only drawn on maps, not in our lives. I hope that I have given back to Americans what I have been privileged to receive from you. I have had many opportunities to speak to different audiences in schools, churches and elsewhere about the challenges that my country and my continent face.
I came from very humble beginnings. I am one of seven children. My family lives in Arusha, Tanzania, a city in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is located. Both of my parents were lucky to be educated. They instilled in all of us the importance of education. I am happy to say that I was the first one in my family to ever receive a college degree.
All of this was possible in part because of school feeding and food aid. I can distinctly remember going to kindergarten and elementary school and receiving a midday meal of corn meal porridge, tea and biscuits. I ate the meal in my plastic bowl, but I never saw the bags with an American flag on them or got to say thank you, until today. This food kept me in school. It gave me an opportunity to learn and to grow into the person that I am today.
Like all kids, my classmates and I were excited about recess. But we were more excited for lunch time. The warm porridge was very welcome on a cold day. Later in my schooling, my parents were asked to contribute time and money toward the meals program. Other families couldn't contribute financially, but did volunteer in the kitchen.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am also proud to say that three of my siblings are now completing or enrolled in universities in Tanzania. This is no small feat given the challenges that families face in Tanzania and around Africa. I remain thankful to many Americans who have assisted my family in one or another way.
While the challenges that Tanzanians face are many, I am here today to talk about the challenge of hunger and food insecurity.
In August 1998, the US embassies in my capital of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, Kenya were bombed by associates of Osama Bin Laden. I believe it is correct to say that most Americans had not heard about Tanzania before that day. Americans, Tanzanians and Kenyans were killed that fateful morning, as were other Americans and citizens of the world four years later on September 11th.
Dr. Martin Luther King once said, ''I adamantly believe in the right of people everywhere to three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, freedom and equality for their spirits. I believe that whatever self-involved men tear down, other-involved men, can put back.''
We are at a global crossroads. Our security will not be guaranteed while millions of people around the world are living in desperation. There isn't a good justification for why 850 million people do not have enough food to eat today.
Today's hearing is timely and could play a key role in our desire to prevent other terrorist attacks from ever happening again. We know how to end world hunger and some of the misery that stems from it. What we need is the political will to do so. A recent poll done by the Alliance to End Hunger, the organization that I work for, found that 78 percent of Americans want Congress to approve President Bush's proposal to increase funding for Africa and other poor countries to help reduce hunger, poverty and disease. The Alliance has members from various sectors of society, including corporations like Cargill and non-governmental organizations like Save the Children and Counterpart International that have benefited from food aid.
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Just as in America, most of what I learned about my culture and society, my values and morals, happened around the dinner table. With many families facing famine in Africa, this great transfer of knowledge and of family values is being lost.
The recent drought in Tanzania created a shortage of food for 3.2 million people. 85 percent of districts were hit by drought. Poor rainy seasons reduced crop production by 5070 percent. The situation is worse across the border in Kenya and other parts of East Africa. Food aid from the US and around the world averted a major crisis and probably saved hundreds of thousand of lives from death. Hopefully, you and your colleagues in Congress will approve more aid that will save even more lives.
There isn't a more powerful tool of diplomacy than seeing bags of rice or cans of cooking oil marked ''A gift from the people of the United States'' being distributed in villages all over the developing world. Our shared values, rising from the embassy attacks in August of 1998 and that of September 11, have brought our peoples closer than ever.
Food aid is a critical short and long-term investment, just like the education that my parents wanted for me and my siblings. Food aid creates a healthy nation. A healthy nation is a productive society. I wouldn't be here today, if it wasn't for the nutritious food that I received during my primary and secondary education years in Tanzania.
Since Tanzania qualified for debt relief in 2000 and started to provide free primary school education, enrolment has reached 85 percent. An additional 1.5 million students have joined primary schools. School feeding programs will contribute greatly to the improvement of attendance, academic achievement and the retention of students, especially girls.
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According to the World Food Program, only 190,000 Tanzanian children are benefiting from school feeding programs today. These are children from major cities in Tanzania. With 80 percent of Tanzanian living in rural areas, we need to figure out ways to reach children in those areas with food. The United States has provided tens of millions of dollars in food aid to Tanzania through the World Food Program in recent years. For a few of my middle school years in the 1980's, the US provided $33 million dollars in mostly non-emergency food aid. If that did not end up in my bowl for lunch, it certainly did for some of my fellow Tanzanians.
I am aware of the current debate about food aid reform. However, I will focus my suggestions on three items to make sure our emphasis is on helping hungry and poor children reach their full potential. Our programs should sustainably help people in need. Their welfare is our moral obligation and should be our top priority.
Hunger, poverty and disease lead people into desperation. Food and education can give these people hope. I was happy to hear that the US has signed onto the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's). The first goal is to cut hunger and extreme poverty in half by 2015. Much more needs to be done for this goal to be realized and you hold part of the key in making that a reality.
My current work has involved me with the ONE Campaign. Two million Americans have also signed up with the goal of making poverty history. They are now asking President Bush and this Congress to provide an additional 1% of the federal budget towards the goal of ending hunger, poverty and disease.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Bono of U2 compared this fight to that of ending apartheid or the civil rights struggle of the 1960's. He said, ''we have no room to fail, this is what the history books will remember our generation foror blame us for.''
But the ONE Campaign is far more than Bono traveling to Africa to highlight some development success stories on NBC News. Bread for the World, one of the founding partners of the ONE Campaign, is mobilizing people in churches and on college campuses across this country. They and others are engaging their elected officials to say reducing hunger, poverty and disease over there is an important issue over here.
One of my hopes is that this Congress will keep President Bush's promise to increase poverty-focused development assistance by $25 billion dollars over the next five years. In order to honor his word, and meet this goal that was established at the G8 Summit, Congress needs to approve a $5 billion dollar increase this year.
My second hope is that this Congress will increase support for school feeding programs like the one that benefited me. The George McGovern-Bob Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has proven itself a huge success. Your support for expanding this effective program that changes young lives is crucial.
This committee was instrumental in authorizing the McGovern-Dole Program in the 2002 farm bill. I and others sincerely hope that you will play a leadership role in the next farm bill. School feeding is not the only solution to development problems, but it is one of the most proven and effective interventions for helping people help themselves.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I would hope that this Congress would strengthen response mechanisms to international famine. Unfortunately, responses often come after images of starving children appear on television. The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, named after one of your former colleague and a true hero for the hungry, exists to prevent famine. Please assure that the Trust is sufficiently funded, with an automatic replenishment system. Currently the decision makers hesitate to use it, because the needs far exceed available resources. Also an international famine relief fund, under the auspices of the World Food Program, should be considered.
Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for this opportunity to share my story and these thoughts. The decisions you make today affect the leaders of tomorrow in very real ways. I hope and pray that other children of Africa will have the opportunities that I have been given.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Laizer, thank you very much for you testimony, and for your success story, which actually acts as an inspiration for all of us to do more, and thank you for spending your time with us this afternoon. Mr. Kripke.
STATEMENT OF MR. GAWAIN KRIPKE, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR, OXFAM AMERICA
Mr. KRIPKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would really like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the staff of the Subcommittee for putting together this hearing. It is really important. It has also been very moving just to hear the testimony of my fellow panelists, and also to see the major challenges ahead of us in dealing with hunger and making food aid as effective as possible.
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I work for Oxfam American, which is an affiliate of the Oxfam Family. There are 12 Oxfams around the world, and we are involved in humanitarian and development work in over a hundred countries.
We don't take government money, although we are involved in food aid programs in Africa, or largely in Africa. We are an implementing agency with WFP, and we run our own food aid projects in many countries.
I want to echo the comments of all the earlier panelists who have described the challenge, and the importance of food aid in addressing hunger, and also the significance that the U.S. plays in addressing that role.
Americans are justifiably or should be justifiably proud of the U.S. contribution to food aid and to addressing hunger, and Congress should be proud of the commitment of resources that we have done. We are leading the way as has been abundantly described earlier.
But being proud of it shouldn't be a cause for complacency, because we are not even coming close to meeting the challenge that hunger is facing, acute hunger and chronic hunger, and our food aid programs could be a lot more effective at almost every level.
The two main themes of my testimony I think is: (A) the need for more food aid and assistance generally; but (B) the need for better food aid, and better systems. I won't dwell on the former because I think that has been described better than me by the testimony from USAID and the WFP.
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But I would like to focus a bit on the needs for reform of our food aid program to make it more effective, cost effective and flexible. The testimony from USAID, I think, was quite telling about the need for new tools and new flexibilities in our food aid program.
Our food aid program is very effective, but that is despite many constraints put on the program legislatively and politically. As you know, we have a somewhat rigid program in that we can only provide U.S. sourced food and commodities, and provide the great majority of that in transport on U.S flagged ships.
And I don't want to dwell on the point, but there are very large costs to those kinds of constraints, and while I would not expect a radical reform in any short term, I think that this is the direction that Congress should be moving, and I would hope that the Subcommittee would seriously consider making steps in this direction.
We need to make our food aid more flexible in order to make it more effective. What does the flexibility mean? Well, the flexibility means that we should be able to respond a lot quicker than we do.
I have been talking to USAID staff recently about the long lead time that they need to have in order to provide food aid, but emergencies happen without much lead time, and we need to be a lot more flexible.
Right now virtually 100 percent of our food aid has to be provided with this very long pipeline, very long requirements for planning, and it simply is not supple enough to address the needs.
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The flexibility would also make food aid cheaper. There have been some very good studies recently about the cost of providing food aid in the way that we do. OECD did a rather comprehensive study that showed that providing food aid through local or regional purchase has very significant savings associated with it.
A 30 percent improvement in cost effectiveness if you buy it regionally, and a 50 percent increase in cost effectiveness if you buy it locally. That is a responsibility that we all should share in improving the program in terms of its costs, and our duty to taxpayers to get the most value.
But also our duty to the beneficiaries to make sure that we are providing the most resource for our dollar to people who need it. The flexibility extends beyond food, I think, and again the testimony from USAID was instructive.
That even hungry people have many other needs than food, and even hungry people may choose things other than food as their first priority. Oxfam right now is running some experiments in Southern Africa where we would traditionally run feeding programs, providing food rations to people where we have identified food in secure communities, and the most vulnerable people within those communities.
But rather than distributing food rations, we are distributing the equivalent value in cash to households to see how those households would respond to having cash. And not surprisingly, most of those households do indeed use the cash to buy food.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Approximately 88 percent of the cash is used to buy food products. The food is often better than what we would be providing, or rather to say it is more diverse. There is a better dietary diversity than what we would be providing if we were giving it to them.
But what is really interesting is to look at the 11 or 12 percent of cash that is used for other purposes. When we surveyed the recipients on what did they use the cash for, they say things like farm implements, or school fees for their children, or medicines.
You can imagine a family wanting to prioritize those things, even above food, for the next generation or for the next planting season, or for their health. And I think that this is instructive for all of us to think about the role that food aid plays, but also the limits that food provides, in terms of providing real assistance to people who need it.
I want to say a little bit about the controversies around food aid at the WTO. I think there are a lot of misunderstandings about it, and I think there have been some concern that the WTO and the doha round could get it wrong.
The negotiations started at sort of extreme positions, with the EU making very aggressive demands of U.S. reform, and the U.S. replying that it wasn't willing to make changes. The controversy I think is a result of some misunderstandings.
From our trading partners, I think they are looking at an old picture of food aid. As is described in many places, our food aid program is a legacy of our farm programs, our farm supports. But it really no longer is that closely tied to our farm supports.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the old days, we would have massive government surpluses, or stocks that we would need to dispose of. But our farm program doesn't operate that way anymore. We don't have government stocks. If we want to provide food aid, we actually have to go out and buy food in order to provide it as food aid, for the most part.
So it is an on budget expense. It is not like free food that we just send overseas. And I think there is a lot of mythology about that, because since our food aid program historically was so tied to our farm subsidies, there is a sense that it is still a part of that.
But I think demystifying our current food aid program is an important objective, and we have tried to do that. At the same time, there have been abuses and there still remains the legal possibility of abuses of food aid, using it to dump surplus stocks on other countries without a humanitarian or development purpose.
And I think it is reasonable for the WTO to try to constrain that kind of abuse of the U.S. and of our trading partners, and many other countries are now getting involved in the food aid system, and so it is reasonable for us to have an interest in making sure that food aid is legitimate for the future.
In the last 2 months a middle proposal has come forward from African countries and least developed countries, who have joined together to make a sort of compromise proposal on disciplines at the WTO. I think it is quite reasonable. Number one, it totally exempts emergency food aid from any rules that the WTO would provide; taking that whole concern that food aid would constrain emergency response off the table.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We should not have to worry about that, and the WTO is not an appropriate agency to address emergency food aid. Beyond that for non-emergency food aid, there is a legitimate interest in making sure that it isn't trade distorting. That it is targeted, and that it is effective. That it is provided not for donor interest, but for the interest of the beneficiaries.
And the LDC African proposal makes some very modest suggestions on how to regulate food aid in that direction. So I would hope that Congress and also USTR would get into a more cooperative posture for these negotiations. First, because the negotiations themselves are very important, and secondly, because I think where we are going in those negotiations is not as scary as has been advertised.
Looking at those negotiations on global food aid, I think we see some challenges, but also some opportunities. The WTO negotiations I think provides an opportunity for the United States to challenge other donors to carry more of the weight. We are the biggest contributor as we have said, and many other donors are coming into it, but they still are not filling their place.
The United States is often by far the biggest donor of emergency relief, and in many places where 80 percent or higher levels of the donations, and we can't get the EU to come in with support.
So this is an opportunity for us to say, yes, we want to make some reforms. We are willing to accept a compromise, but in the process, we want to challenge our counterpart donors to come up with more. So that is one opportunity.
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But the other challenge is why is food aid in the WTO. Well, one of the reasons is that there isn't very good multilateral governance in oversight of food aid, and the WTO is seen as an institution that has the capacity. But the other multilateral institutions are rather weak, and I think there is an opportunity before us, and a challenge, to create a better multilateral system for making commitments, and enforcing those commitments, and assuring best practices around food aid.
And looking at the renegotiation of the Food Aid Convention is a big opportunity to do that, and so I would put that forward as an opportunity for Congress and the Administration to look to.
The last thing that I want to say is something about the constraints that are on our food aid program. They are attributed to agri-business or our farm communities, but again I think there is a lot of mythology about it, and I think Congress, and even most farmers, would want to see more flexibility, because in the end the mission is so important to feed hungry people.
The U.S. food aid program is in the range of $1$2 billion annually. U.S. farm production is $200 billion annually. This is a blip. It is tiny. It is insignificant as a contribution to consumption or exports. It really is not important.
And we need to de-link our commercial interests from the fundamental mission of food aid, which is humanitarian and developmental purposes, and I think we are letting a mythology about food aid dictate our policy, when in fact it is really not significant as an economic matter for the United States, but critically important for humanitarian development purposes.
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So I just wanted to make that point that I think that this Committee in particular could serve a really important role in making that demystification and trying to prioritize the purposes of food aid over the operational constraints that are currently imposed upon it. Thank you very much, and I appreciate the opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kripke follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MR. GAWAIN KRIPKE, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR, OXFAM AMERICA
Mr. Chairman, Congressman Payne, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of Oxfam America at this hearing today. Oxfam appreciates the invitation and your interest in gathering a variety of perspectives on the critical issue of food aid.
Oxfam America is an international development and relief agency committed to developing lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. We are part of a confederation of 12 Oxfam organizations working together in more than 100 countries around the globe with an annual budget over $400 million dollars.
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD AID.
There is no more important issue facing this committee than the hunger and malnutrition which afflicts more than 840 million people across the globe. The numbers boggle the mind and are, quite simply, a human tragedy. In sub-Saharan Africa, as much as 30 percent of the population is undernourished.
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Reducing by half the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015 is a key target for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The right to food is enshrined in numerous international instruments, including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and many others.(see footnote 1) However, the world's farmers produce more than enough food to fulfill the minimum caloric needs of humanity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in 2001 the total global food supply amounted to 2,800 calories and 76 grams of protein per person per dayplenty to nourish the world's population and remove chronic hunger.(see footnote 2)
Yet fulfilling the right to food, achieving the Millennium Develop Goal 1, and reducing hunger is not as simple as redistributing food from countries producing surpluses to countries in deficit. A broad focus on poverty reduction, agricultural productivity, good governance, reduced conflict are needed to address hunger.
However, many acute situationswars, famine, and natural disasterscall for food aid as an essential tool.
Unfortunately, the global food aid system needs improvement. Too often, food aid is not provided at the right time, at the right place, or in sufficient quantities. Despite great need, global food aid flows actually declined during the 1990s from a peak of 17m tons in 1993 to less than 10m tons today. In most years, donors fail to fulfill the World Food Program's emergency appeals for assistance, providing an average of 85 per cent of requested food aid.(see footnote 3)
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Meeting the critical needs of people facing emergencies or dislocations is increasingly becoming the focus of US food aid. Emergency food aid is the largest portion of US and global food aid, currently accounts for more than two-thirds of all food aid. Faced with limited budgets, the composition of US food aid has been shifting toward emergency response in recent years. For decades, non-emergency, government-to-government, ''program'' food aid made up the bulk of food aid distribution. However, this kind of program food aid has declined in recent years. In cereal foods, it accounted for 58 per cent of the total from all donors between 1988 and 1991, but its share fell to 19 per cent from 2000 to 2003. Emergency food aid grew from 18 per cent of global flows in the 19881991 period to 57 per cent in 20002003.
The USA is by far the most generous donor of food aid. And this food aid is critically important for hundreds of thousandseven millionsof people around the globe. But we can not congratulate ourselves when so many continue to suffer food insecurity and hunger. Instead, Oxfam feels that Congress should urgently look at both increasing our overall commitment to food aid, and also examining reforms to improve the effectiveness of food aid.
2. THE NEED FOR MORE, AND FOR BETTER FOOD AID.
US food aid provides a critical lifeline for hungry people. But Congress should consider increasing the overall amount of resources available, and also consider important reforms to improve the effectiveness of US food aid.
On the other hand, increasing the US commitment on food aid should be complemented with reforms to maximize the value of taxpayer dollars. Currently, the US food aid programs are encumbered by restrictions and requirements that waste resources and undermine the mission of helping to feed people in need.
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A major obstacle is Congressional requirements that food aid be exclusively American commodities sent on US-flagged ships. To comply with Congressional restrictions, the government restricts bids for sales of surplus agricultural commodities to a limited list of pre-qualified US-based agribusiness companies. The US also has a cargo preference requirement that mandates 75 per cent of all food aid transport be handled by shipping companies carrying the US flag.
These restrictions add enormous costs and delays to the US food aid. The cargo preference requirement adds as much as 78 percent to the cost of shipping. The added costs mean that procurement, storage, and shipping can eat as much as 50 percent of food aid budgets.(see footnote 4)
Instead, virtually all US food aid donations are made in the form of food commodities. Although the US and other humanitarian agencies have created effective food aid programs around these commodities, there is little humanitarian or development justification for donating in commodities rather than in cash. Indeed, there are strong arguments to the contrary.
First, cash is usually faster. In humanitarian emergencies, where weeks or even days can mean the difference between life and death, there is no excuse for delay. It can take months from the date of a procurement order for food aid to be delivered to port. US emergency shipments experienced a median lag of nearly five months in 19992000, due to bureaucracy and cumbersome procurement restrictionsand, of course, the need to ship food over long distances.(see footnote 5) By contrast, cash can be used to procure food locally or regionally, in close proximity to the places it is needed. In most cases (though not all), purchasing food closer to its intended destination reduces the time delay.
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Cash gives decision-makers more flexibility in addressing emergencies.
Second, cash is cheaper. The inefficiency of sending food over long distances, with restrictive procurement and shipping requirements, means that funds are spent on bureaucracy, process, and shipping rather than on the food and its distribution. In fact, according to a study by the OECD, shipping food from donor countries is 33 per cent more expensive than buying it from a third-party country (usually closer to the destination) and 46 per cent more expensive than buying it locally in the destination country.(see footnote 6) Purchasing food locally is not always possiblebut it often is.
Third, cash can be used to procure better, or more appropriate, aid. Rather than limiting food aid to commodities available in donor countries, cash can be used to procure food that is more appropriate to local conditions and tastes. In the past, there have been serious mismatches between food aid donations and recipient needs. There are many anecdotal examples of food aid donations that require unfamiliar preparation or impose new burdens on recipients through introduction of exotic foods that are not well suited to local conditions. Some food aid packages can require more cooking time, for instance, requiring recipients to expend more time and energy collecting firewood. Donors should attempt to ensure that food aid supports and enhances longer-term development.
Cash can also be used to flexibly to purchase things other than food. Even for hungry people, food is not always their highest priority. In recent months, Oxfam has been experimenting with making cash transfers in emergencies rather than distributing food rations. In southern Africa, Oxfam identified communities with significant food deficits, affected by poor rains, but where food was available in local markets. Oxfam targeted identified households with few assets, and high vulnerability. Rather than distribute food rations, Oxfam provided cash transfers. While final results of these experiments are being evaluated, the results are both encouraging and intriguing. One, we find that recipients spend most of the money on food88 percent in early surveys. Oxfam found indications that the dietary diversity increases with cash rather than food distribution. Cash not used for food was spent on useful household expenses including farm implements and medicines. Final results from these experiments will be available soon.
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Providing cash, rather than commodities, is a much more flexible tool, and permits more creative responses to emergencies. Many countries have already begun shifting food aid donations from commodities to cash, and most donors have taken steps to decouple food aid policy from commodity surpluses. Some, like the EU, have taken steps to provide more flexibility in the use of food aid budgets, permitting more use of food aid funds to purchase commodities in local or regional markets. Last year, Canada announced that up to 50 percent of Canada's food aid will be available for purchase in developing countries.
In January, President Bush proposed the make up to $300 million of the US food aid budget available for purchase of food in developing countries. Providing this flexibility could be a major improvement of the US food aid program. Tying food aid to US commodities and services really makes little difference to our economy. Food aid is a small fraction of total US food exports: 5.1m tonnes in food aid in 2002, while its total cereals exports were 82m tonnes.(see footnote 7) On the other hand, providing the flexibility to purchase food from developing countries could serve as a major boost to their agriculture sectors and long-term food security. Even in Africa, while some countries face food crises, other countries enjoy food surpluses. some of The gross impact of food aid for donorsincluding the USAis certainly small. But it can have significant impacts on smaller economies and on the poor farmers who rely on local markets for their livelihoods.
3. FOOD AID AND TRADE NEGOTIATIONS.
If all food aid contributions were made in unrestricted cash donations, there would be little or no controversy around food aid. Certainly, there would be little concern about its trade-distorting impacts. If contributions were made in unrestricted cash, the WFP, governments, and NGOs could purchase food on open commercial markets and distribute it to hungry people as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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Food aid has become a controversial issue in the Doha Round trade negotiations. At the WTO, other countries are calling for new rules to regulate possible abuses of food aid. The primary target of these rules has been the US food aid program.
In theory, food aid is potentially trade-distorting, and food aid will satisfy consumer demand whenever it is distributed. In places where people are simply too poor to purchase food, or where there is no functioning market, there is little or no market distortion as any consumption will be additional. In other cases, food aid has the potential both to reduce domestic production of food in the recipient country, damaging the livelihoods of rural populations, and to displace exports into the recipient country market from other countries.
Critics point out that there have been abuses of US food aid in the past, and note that commercial motives are explicitly included in some US food aid programs. Our trading partners are suspicious of US motives in food aid. This is because some US food aid programs retain commercial and geopolitical objectives rather than humanitarian goals. The USA remains the biggest user of food aid (Title I)that is government-to-government transfers, mostly in the form of concessional sales. There is poor linkage of this food aid with anti-hunger or poverty goals and yet there is strong evidence that this kind of food aid does, indeed, crowd out other commercial exporters. While the use of this type of food aid has declined in recent years, there were large spikes as recently as the late 1990s, when the US made large shipments to Russia.
One reason our trading partners are seeking to use the WTO negotiations to regulate food aid is the weakness of oversight institutions on food aid. The Consultative Subcommittee on Surplus Disposal (CSSD) is hosted by the FAO and is made up of both donor and recipient governments. While the CSSD has little real enforcement authority, it has served as a reporting and oversight body, as well as a forum for complaints about food aid abuses. However, reporting of food aid transactions under the CSSD has been notoriously poor in recent years. While in 1991 average reporting rates were nearly 80 per cent of transactions, by 2001 they had dropped to a record low of just 4 per cent.(see footnote 8)
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Another oversight body, the Food Aid Convention (FAC) is meant to enhance the capacity of the international community to respond to emergencies by guaranteeing a predictable flow of food aid each year irrespective of fluctuations in price or supply. The agreement has been periodically updated and revised, and was scheduled to be re-negotiated in 2002. However, negotiations on a new FAC have been put on hold pending action on food aid disciplines at the WTO. Like the CSSD, the FAC lacks a binding enforcement or dispute settlement mechanism. While both the CSSD and the FAC offer some help, neither is adequate to instigate reform or impose the discipline needed on food aid.
On the whole, new rules at the WTO should be seen as a possible benefit for food aid. Oxfam feels they could help to focus and improve food aid programs while eliminating abuses and inefficiency. Many developing countries agree.
In March, the African Group and the least-developed-country group submitted a proposal to regulate food aid under the WTO(see footnote 9). The proposal would exempt emergency food aid from any WTO regulation. But, for non-emergency food aid, the proposal would require food aid to be in grant form, remove commercial interests from food aid programs, and prohibit market development objectives for donors. In addition, the African and LDC groups would restrict monetization to fund activities directly related to the provision of food aid or for procurement of agricultural inputs. These seem like reasonable and modest reforms.
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Oxfam believes that food aid is essential to humanitarian response. But Congress should take steps to increase and improve US food aid programs.
Congress should increase food aid budgets to $2 billion annually.
Congress should approve President Bush's request to make up to $300 million available for local or regional purchase of food.
The US should seek to reform and reinvigorate the Food Aid Convention to provide strong governance, best practice guidelines, and enforce commitments of food aid contributions.
Thank you again for this chance to share Oxfam's perspective.
In keeping with clause 2(g)(4) of House Rule XI, I affirm that Oxfam America does not receive any Federal grant funding.
For more information, see www.maketradefair.com and Oxfam America's website: www.oxfamamerica.org.
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Mr. Kripke, thank you very much, and for your guidance on something that people have not paid enough attention to here on the Hill, or at least I don't think we have. So thank you for that, and especially as it relates to the USTR, and as you pointed out, demystifying or getting rid of those myths that continue to abound. Your points were very well taken.
I do have just a few questions before we conclude, and any final comments that any of you might have. Fist of all to Mr. Callahan, last January I traveled with a delegation to Phuket and Banda Aceh, and then actually met with Cardinal McCarrick and Mr. Hackett in Sri Lanka.
And they brought forth some very disturbing news that while the U.S. Government kept increasing its amount of money for emergency assistance, it was a zero sum gain. It was being derived from Africa mostly, with a very unsure flow as to whether or not that money would be replenished.
And it was taken from Education, and it was taken from food, security, and you pointed out in your testimony that there needs to be a $500 million core for multi-year programs to address the needs so that we do not ''rob Peter to pay Paul.'' Could you just elaborate on why the $500 million is necessary, and why that is a critical amount?
And how often does this happen in your view, and of other panelists as well, where money is taken to meet an emergency, and then it is a big coin toss as to whether or not that money is replenished?
Page 161 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CALLAHAN. Certainly. Basically, what we did is some research back on what we were actually spending as the U.S. Government over the last several years on food aid, and where that was going. We were then trying to see how many of our programs we could sustain.
I think the example that you bring up with the tsumani is a very good one. When the tsumani hit, the country that responded the quickest and the best was actually India in a lot of the responses that went on.
Part of that was that it has a long term developmental food aid program, and people were on the ground within hours being able to provide emergency assistance, and being able to provide food aid, and what food aid has provided in many of these cases is a multisectorial platform in which we can do many activities.
Often times we earmark funding for something. McGovern-Dole is very good, but as well when you have the PL 480 Title II, you can do education, and you can do agriculture, and you can do microfinance. You can do health. It is a combination, a holistic and integral human development program.
So we see the cut in development programs actually hurting our ability as a nation and as humanitarians to respond to emergencies because we won't have that basis there. We won't have the resources in the countries in which we need to respond to emergencies when they hit at that time.
And then we will be forced to do this either purchase or shipment at a later date, which will cause us to be slower in our response. So we basically took what was going on in some of the development programs currently, and did a proportion of that, and not the entire need, seeing that our European friends and others in Asia and other places should contribute, but that we really saw that you could predict a little bit better the emergencies.
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I know that there was some hesitation from the earlier AID person on what the emergencies are, and looking at the Sudan, and looking at Afghanistan, and looking at Iraq, and some of these other places, we don't see a decline in the emergencies coming up, and that we need to protect that development in food aid.
Mr. SMITH. Both Oxfam and the Catholic Relief Services, you both suggested that we increase food aid budgets to $2 billion annually. Do you see that as a floor or a ceiling?
Mr. CALLAHAN. We actually see it as a floor. We are saying that 60 percent is only part of the total need, only reaching between 10 and 15 percent of those most in need. If there were more resources available, we could reach out to more people, but we do see it as a floor right now.
Mr. SMITH. Okay. Mr. Kripke.
Mr. KRIPKE. Well, I think it has to be seen as an aspiration given the way that the budgets are right now. So Oxfam wants to align itself with the goal for increasing food aid, but also recognize that within budgets that we have that we need to improve less time, and that there are tradeoffs in how food aid is conducted.
But overall, yes, we do need an increase. Food aid is shifting rather rapidly, and the humanitarian emergency responses are taking a larger and larger portion, not just of U.S. food aid, but of food aid globally. This is in response to increased demand for that.
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So there is less and less of this sort of development side available, and I have to say that I think it is the right priority. We need to address humanitarian emergencies, but it would be useful to have more funds available.
Mr. SMITH. Let me just ask Mr. Laizer. The Tanzanian Government for years maintained a collectivist type of approach, and obviously the droughts exacerbate the situation no matter what approach is utilized.
We have long argued that good governance is reallywe all remember the five plans of the former Soviet Union, and the catastrophic impact that had. What is the government doing now with regards to agriculture to become self-sustainable?
Mr. LAIZER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Actually, the President of Tanzania was in the United States less than a week ago, and in one of the meetings that I attended, he did speak about agriculture and the role of agriculture in Tanzania.
Eighty percent of the Tanzanian population lives in rural areas, and relies on agriculture. The problem has been that people rely mostly on just rain for their food production, and when you have 4 years straight when there isn't good enough rain to grow the crops and everything, we ended up falling in the problem that we are having right now with 3.2 million people needing extra food.
Tanzania qualified for the MCA recently as well, and the threshold, and another thing that we are dealing with is this issue of corruption and good governance, and a lot of things have been addressed and are being addressed by the new government.
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I believe as the South African President has said, that Africa is going through a renaissance, and Tanzania is one of those countries that is doing very well, and growing at almost 7 percent economically a year, and with a good government in place.
So I am hoping that in 2, 3, or 4 years that we won't be sitting here discussing this issue, but we would be talking more about computer software and building, and high employment rates. So I am hoping and looking forward to that much better.
Mr. SMITH. When we marked up Henry Hyde's legislation, the PEPFAR legislation, which was eventually enacted into law, the President's initiative, several of our witnesses earlier today spoke to the importance of having proper nutrition as a component of good anti-retroviral intervention.
Is it your view that PEPFAR, and the Global Fund as well, has sufficiently incorporated the importance of nutrition into their programming?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Maybe to start, Mr. Chairman. From a CRS perspective, I would have to say categorically no. The funding for many of the initiatives in the PEPFAR, particularly the ARV portion, is directed specifically for ARV.
In the countries in which we work, and we have a nine country, $335 million AIDS relief program, and I was most recently 2 weeks ago in Nigeria, there is a call coming out strongly for nutrition to be added to these.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is a recognition from CDC, and there is a recognition from the local missions, and the comment is that if you can get that someplace else, that is great. Our money is targeted directly to ARV. So we have been finding a problem in that.
There has been some funding in Zambia and in Southern Africa, and in looking at ways of using and somehow combining some food aid or local purchase in different ways in supporting the AIDS relief type of programs, and the ARVs. But to date the coordination has not been there to the degree that it is necessary.
Mr. SMITH. Could I ask you before going to the other witnesses, does that fall, the responsibility fall to the local mission, or is it essential planning that is lacking in terms of integrating the two?
Mr. LAIZER. I would say that it is probably both. I think what ended up with the PEPFAR initiative in many of the cases is numbers needed to be met, and numbers have been met and exceeded. What ends up being cut are the wrap around services and packages, and how much counseling, food aid, and nutrition, and things of that nature.
So I think at the central level certainly the office of OGAG should push it and then provide the resources to the local missions.
Mr. SMITH. Could you provide us additional information on that, especially on the countries that CRS is involved in?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes.
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Mr. SMITH. Yes?
Mr. LAIZER. For Tanzania, what I know is that 400,000 people absolutely need ARV right now, but only 26,000 people are receiving it. So I think the focus of the government has been more or less to reach the 400,000 people, and then maybe at some other point to deal with the nutritional side of the issue, which I think something needs to be done now, at least for the 26,000 people.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you.
Mr. KRIPKE. I am afraid I don't have a comment on that.
Mr. SMITH. Okay. Do you have anything further you would like to add before we conclude? Oh, if I could, Mr. Callahan, the Global Fund. What is your take on how they have integrated nutrition with the anti-retroviral and other interventions?
Mr. CALLAHAN. To be honest with you, in many of the countries in which we have been working, the Global Fund was a little slower in getting going than the President's initiative. The President's initiative got out there and pushed the numbers, and it was going.
In the Global Fund, there has been a mix, depending on the different country. In certain areas, it relates well with an already developed program from private voluntary organizations and others, and in others, it is not integrated quite as well, and so it would depend on a country by country basis on how that is working.
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Mr. SMITH. If you have any additional data that you could provide for the record, we would appreciate it.
Mr. CALLAHAN. We would be happy to.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you so much, all three of our very distinguished witnesses, for taking the time and for your patience as the hearing has gone on, but it is important to get as much information as possible, and then to know what further questions to ask going forward, and you have helped us immensely.
We will be drafting legislation and it has been my experience, and I have been here 26 years, that we start with something and we won't let up until it will eventually get passed, in whole or in part, and I hope in whole. So your insights and suggestions will be very much valued. So I thank you.
Mr. CALLAHAN. And we thank you for your passion on this, too, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:15 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Page 168 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMaterial Submitted for the Hearing Record
RESPONSES FROM THE HONORABLE TONY P. HALL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE, TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY THE HONORABLE BARBARA LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Are you finding that food and nutrition programs are being integrated into ARV treatment programs either through PEPFAR or the Global Fund?
I find that these programs are being implemented very slowly, and that we have a tendency to look at this treatment through the eyes of Western healthcare systems. We need to do a lot more work in joining nutrition and the treatment of HIV/AIDS. These issues are very closely related, but so far the process has been very slow.
As the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture what was your mandate/goals for your tenure? As your term comes to an end what goals went unmet?
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My goals were to feed as many people as I could, along with the World Food Program, and to represent my country in the developing nations where we are presenting our humanitarian aid. In addition, it was my goal to be a proper steward of our money and our food. The goal that was not met is that the United States as a nation, as well as all the other nations in the world, signed a commitment to cut in half the number of people going hungry by the year 2015. Unfortunately, we are not truly on track to reach that goal as of now.
RESPONSES FROM MR. GAWAIN KRIPKE, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR, OXFAM AMERICA, TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY THE HONORABLE BARBARA LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
In FY2004, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that transportation costs associated with the provision of U.S. commodities as food aid were $786.5 million, just over half of the funds allocated to P.L. 480 Title II that year. And right now it takes 46 months from a donation is made until the food aid is actually in the hands of the hungry. What is your opinion of allowing USAID to do emergency local/regional purchase and how could purchasing food locally benefit or hurt African Farmers?
Oxfam feels that using local and regional purchase as an option for our emergency food aid programs is a very welcomeeven urgently needed improvement. USAID is currently very constrained by restrictions on sourcing and transport of food aidand these indeed result in long delays and enormous added expense. President Bush has proposed to make a portion of the food aid budget available for this kind of sourcing, and we believe Congress should support this proposal. Local and regional sourcing may not be the best option in every casebut it is important to provide more flexibility and gain more experience with this option. Other food aid donors and agencies have successfully implemented local and regional purchase. There's no reason the USA shouldn't.
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Impact on U.S. FarmersU.S. Farmers argue that local purchase may impact their commodities; however, the top five food grains, ranked by quantity, produced in Africa in FY2004 were maize, sorghum, millet, barley, and cereals (unspecified) while the top five commodities provided in food aid to Africa under P.L. 480Title II were wheat, sorghum, corn, corn-soy blend, and a combination of peas, beans, and lentils in FY2004. Is it a myth that purchasing food in the surrounding non-impacted areas will hurt U.S. farmers?
Oxfam believes that sourcing US food aid contributions exclusively from US commodities has a tiny impact on US farmers and agriculture markets. The amount of money and commodities involved is simply too small to make a significant difference. US farm production is in the range of $200 billion annually, while total food aid budgets are in the range of $12 billion. US farmers do not count on the US food aid program as a major market for their products now, if they ever did. The restrictions on the food aid program that require sourcing the food from the US impose large costs on food aid programs, in lost time and money. But, the benefits to US farmers are so small they can hardly be measured.
(Footnote 1 return)
A discussion on the legal and historical underpinnings of the right to food can be found on the website of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, at: http://www.righttofood.org/
(Footnote 2 return)
Cook, C. D. (2004) Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry is Killing Us, New York: New York Press
(Footnote 3 return)
Webb, Patrick., ''Food as Aid: trends, needs and challenges in the 21st century'', World Food Program, 2004.
(Footnote 4 return)
Barrett, C.B. and D.G. Maxwell (forthcoming), Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role, chapters 5 and 8. Routledge
(Footnote 5 return)
Ibid., chapter 8
(Footnote 6 return)
Clay, E., in collaboration with B. Riley and I. Urey (2004) 'The Development Effectiveness of Food Aid and the Effects of its Tying Status', OECD Development Assistance Committee, 21 October 2004, (DCD/DAC/EFF(2004)9)
(Footnote 7 return)
Consultative Sub-Committee on Surplus Disposal: Thirty-Ninth Report to the Committee on Commodity Problems, 64th Session, Rome, 1821 March 2003
(Footnote 8 return)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), searchable database, FAOSTAT On-Line Statistical Service, at: http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/index.cfm?theme=8. FAO: Rome, 2004
(Footnote 9 return)
''Joint Submission by the African and LDC Groups on Food Aid'', 6 March 2006, WTO: TN/AG/GEN/13