At the Summit in L’Aquila, Italy in July, Leaders from thirty-six countries and international organizations committed to five principles for a food security initiative:
1) Stronger coordination among donors
2) Support of comprehensive strategies
3) Investment through country-owned plans
4) Leveraging effective multilateral institutions
5) Sustained commitments.
As part of that sustained commitment, fourteen countries and the European Commission committed at least $20 billion over three years to agriculture development, in addition to their assistance for emergency food aid and nutrition programs. These countries included: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Progress Since the July L’Aquila Summit
Since the L’Aquila Summit, we have seen further progress to launch this important partnership:
New Partners: Additional countries, such as Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland have pledged their support for the initiative and its approach, helping to bring total pledges towards agriculture development to $22 billion over the next three years. In addition, other countries have pledged to provide technical assistance as part of this initiative. Some of these countries include Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.
G-20 Call for World Bank Food Security Trust Fund: In addition, the United States has been working with donor partners and the World Bank since L’Aquila to develop a multi-donor trust fund that supports the initiative, building on the success of the World Bank's Food Crisis Response Fund (GFRP) to finance medium- and long-term investments that boost agricultural productivity and market access in low-income countries.
Development of Implementation Plan: On September 14th and 15th, senior technical experts from over forty developing and developed countries, regional and international organizations came together to begin implementing the L’Aquila commitments. This event generated agreement on actions that we collectively need to take to help developing countries put together, resource, and implement country-led food security strategies. Secretary Clinton and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will take the implementation of our commitments a step further on September 26th when they host a forum for the leaders of countries and international, public, and private organizations to affirm our shared approach to achieving food security and outline the key steps that we will take to realize our commitments.
Engaging the Private Sector and Philanthropy
One of the key elements of the U.S. approach to this initiative is to use development assistance to explore synergies with private philanthropy and private sector actors. As an example, we have been working with several foundations and businesses deeply involved in food security to see how best to coordinate our efforts:
Gates Foundation: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has to date committed $1.4 billion as part of a new effort to boost agricultural development focused on smallholder farmers in the developing world and another half billion dollars for nutrition-related investments largely for children and their mothers around the globe, has strongly endorsed the new food security initiative, and agreed to work closely with the G-20 and its partners to better align their activities and explore areas of collaboration and partnership to maximize impact on the ground.
Rockefeller Foundation: The Rockefeller Foundation will bring over sixty years of experience in food security and agricultural development to bear, working with us to explore how we can take to scale successful programs on agricultural inputs and market development, and will share with us its research and field testing on critical issues including, for example, building climate change resilience into agricultural development programs and facilitating greater private sector investments in agricultural development.
Hewlett Foundation: We are collaborating with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to develop the most effective ways to integrate small holder farmers into commercial agricultural value chains, especially along Africa’s regional infrastructure corridors. We will work with the Hewlett Foundation and others to increase market efficiencies and reduce barriers along these regional development corridors, through improved infrastructure and policies along these corridors.
Rabobank Foundation: Rabobank Foundation from the Netherlands, which supports cooperative microfinance institutions, producers organizations and local savings- and credit cooperatives in twenty-five countries, has endorsed the new food security initiative, and agreed to work closely with the G-20 and its partners to help us find ways to use small scale donations, technical assistance, fair trade-financing, microfinance lending, guarantees, and other tools to improve access to capital for small scale farmers and cooperatives.
World Economic Forum: The World Economic Forum is collaborating with partners in the L'Aquila initiative as part of a broader effort to facilitate public-private collaboration to improve food security and sustainable agriculture. Forum partners develop and catalyze scalable business models that contribute to sustainable food production. We will work with the Forum to harness business expertise, in partnership with other sectors, to generate sustainable, market-based solutions to hunger and poverty.
Initiative for Global Development: We are working with the Initiative for Global Development (IGD), whose members comprise business leaders from the United States and Africa, to help build market linkages that serve small producers by identifying both barriers to agricultural development and new opportunities for investment. IGD provides a forum for regular consultation with its members, which can facilitate private-sector participation in this global food security initiative.
Over the next several months, we expect to work with donor and target countries, foundations and private sector actors to further development the implementation plan for this initiative.