Developing strategies to end hunger

Briefing Papers

Ending Child Hunger in the United States

Published November 2014

In 2013, 15.8 million U.S. children were at risk of hunger. For children, even brief periods of hunger carry consequences that may last a lifetime. Many children suffer from nutritional deficiencies, sometimes referred to as "hidden hunger" since they can cause serious health problems in children who don't "look hungry." Nutrition affects mental health and academic achievement as well as physical health. But the damage caused by food insecurity is unnecessary and preventable.

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Harnessing Immigrant Small Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth

Published March 2015

Immigrant-owned small businesses generate $776 billion in business activity and sustain 4.7 million employees—14 percent of all workers employed by U.S. small business owners. While 13 percent of the U.S. population was born outside the United States, 18 percent of small business owners are foreign-born. But there are few specific policies at the national or local levels supporting the potential of immigrant small entrepreneurs to reduce poverty and spur economic growth.

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Learning from U.S. Nutrition Investments in Tanzania: Progress and Partnerships

Published January 2014

A wide range of projects are currently being funded in Tanzania to improve nutrition outcomes, guided by the government’s National Nutrition Strategy. Steps are being taken to strengthen internal management and coordination of nutrition affairs through the Prime Minister’s office and with support from the global SUN Movement. A key change is that ministries are being asked to recognize and measure their nutrition-sensitive programs in addition to their nutrition-specific interventions. The United States has made significant investments in Tanzania’s National Nutrition Strategy through Feed the Future and other programs. Developing nutrition strategies for USAID and for the whole of U.S. government presents an opportunity to complement and reinforce existing efforts to improve nutrition outcomes and to help build the evidence base for actions, as called for in the Lancet series on maternal and child nutrition. This paper looks at efforts to scale up nutrition in Tanzania, identifying successes and challenges in program implementation and coordination that deserve consideration as projects are planned in other Feed the Future countries and elsewhere.

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Harmonizing Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Across U.S. Government Agencies

Published January 2014

Addressing the high burden of undernutrition in developing countries through multisectoral, evidence-based approaches is increasingly recognised as a top global priority. 2013 resulted in the establishment of new global nutrition targets endorsed by governments and international stakeholders. The United States is a leading donor to nutrition efforts globally and is developing a new inter-agency Nutrition Strategy.

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A Tale of Two Cities (and a Town): Immigrants in the Rust Belt

Published October 2013

In the midst of the debate over the largest potential immigration reform legislation in 50 years, some American communities struggling with decades of population loss and economic decline are being revitalized by newcomers. The role of immigrants in high-skilled fields is relatively well-known, but less acknowledged are the contributions that “blue collar” immigrants play in revitalizing depressed communities and economies, both as manual laborers and small business entrepreneurs.

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A Global Development Agenda: Toward 2015 and Beyond

Published September 2013

The world has made significant progress against hunger and poverty under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Now, with their deadline just over two years away, it is time to make a final push on the MDGS and develop a new set of development goals -- goals that include better nutrition and greater food security -- for the post-2015 era.

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Ending Hunger in the United States

Published March 2013

With effective leadership and the right strategies, the United States could end domestic hunger within 10 years. The nation still has hungry people simply because national, state, and local leaders in government have not made the problem a top priority.

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Implementing Nutrition-Sensitive Development: Reaching Consensus

Published November 2012

Currently, there are varying definitions of nutrition-sensitive development. A common definition and measurement methods will facilitate nutrition investments, help coordinate efforts, and gather evidence on how best to improve nutrition through existing pathways.

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Scaling Up Global Nutrition: Bolstering U.S. Government Capacity

Published July 2012

U.S. leadership has helped build a global movement to scale up nutrition, and U.S. health and food security investments have increased nutrition programming. Now is a good time for the U.S. government to assess its resources and capacity to support country-led efforts to scale up nutrition and to adopt systems to sustain momentum and progress on nutrition.

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Exchanging People for Money: Remittances and Repatriation in Central America

Published June 2012

Immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras sent home more than $10 billion in remittances in 2011— almost all of it from the United States. Remittances comprised 17 percent of GDP in Honduras, 16 percent in El Salvador, and 10 percent in Guatemala and they dwarf both foreign direct investment and overseas development assistance.

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Intercambio de personas por dinero: Remesas y Repatriación en Centroamérica

Published October 2012

En parte, los $10 mil millones enviados en remesas anualmente a Centroamérica podrían ser canalizados para apoyar proyectos productivos en comunidades emisoras de migrantes; pero la actual falta de marco político y conocimiento técnico son barreras. Las agencias de desarrollo de los EE.UU. están listas para facilitar los usos productivos de remesas a nivel tanto de política como de programa en cooperación con los gobiernos anfitriones y el sector privado.

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From L’Aquila to Camp David: Sustaining the Momentum on Global Food and Nutrition Security

Published May 2012

In July 2009, G-8 leaders, gathered in L’Aquila, Italy, responded to the global food price crisis. The U.S. proposal to invest significantly more effort and resources in agriculture won support from other donor countries, who committed to providing $22 billion in financing for agriculture and food security over three years. This became known as the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI).

The United States is on track to fulfill its pledges of $3.5 billion, but according to 2011 estimates most donors were falling short. Feed the Future is the United States’ primary contribution to AFSI.

As G-8 president in 2012, the United States has an important opportunity to build on the progress made in the last three years to increase investments in smallholder agriculture and integrate nutrition into agriculture and food security efforts.

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Enabling and Equipping Women to Improve Nutrition

Published March 2012

Malnutrition during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday has irreversible physical, cognitive, and health consequences, reducing a person’s lifetime earning potential. For many countries with high rates of hunger and malnutrition, the low status of women is a primary cause. Women often have less education, lower economic status, and limited decisionmaking power in the household and community—all of which contribute to poorer nutrition.

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Improving Food Aid to Improve Maternal and Child Nutrition

Published February 2012

The United States is the world's largest provider of food aid products. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that early childhood nutrition interventions, aimed at the critical "1,000 Days" window from pregnancy through a child's second birthday, are extremely effective and cost-efficient ways to arrest the lifelong effects of malnutrition. More than 100 country governments and civil society organizations have signed on to the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, which supports efforts to expand effective nutrition programs to undernourished pregnant women and young children.

Reducing maternal and child malnutrition is a key priority of the U.S. government's Feed the Future and Global Health initiatives. There are opportunities to reform food aid to better align it with the objectives of these two programs. With debate on the next farm bill beginning, now is the time to improve this essential program.

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Linking Nutrition and Health: Progress and Opportunities

Published February 2012

In the last few years, there has been an unprecedented global effort to scale up maternal and child nutrition. The effort is prompted by increasing recognition of the devastating and largely irreversible impact of undernutrition on children in the 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age two—and by a growing consensus on a set of evidence-based, cost-effective nutrition interventions.

The United States has been a leader in the global effort and has made maternal and child nutrition improvements a primary objective of its Feed the Future and Global Health initiatives.

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Making Development Assistance Work Better

Published December 2011

In 2005, through the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the international community accepted ambitious commitments to improve the impact of development assistance. Today, important questions emerge: to what extent have these commitments been implemented? Is aid being delivered in a more effective way?

In 2008, the Accra Agenda for Action called for greater focus on country ownership, accountability and transparency, and inclusive partnerships. Globally, progress has been made but more needs to be done. In general, the governments of developing countries have gone further than donors in implementing their commitments, though efforts and progress vary.

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Los Trabajadores Agrícolas y la Política de Inmigración

Published December 2011

Por más de un siglo, la agricultura ha sido un punto de entrada al mercado laboral para los inmigrantes en EE.UU. Actualmente, cerca de tres cuartos de los agricultores contratados son inmigrantes, la mayoría indocumentados. Dicho estatus legal, salarios bajos y horarios inconsistentes, contribuyen a una precaria situación económica.

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Farm Workers and Immigration Policy

Published December 2011

For more than a century, agriculture has been an entry point into the labor market for immigrants in the United States. Presently, close to three-fourths of all U.S. hired farm workers are immigrants, most of them unauthorized. Their unauthorized legal status, low wages, and an inconsistent work schedule contribute to a precarious economic state.

Immigrant farm workers fill low-wage jobs that citizens are reluctant to take. Attempts to recruit citizens for farm worker jobs have failed. Domestic production of fruits and vegetables could decrease without immigrant farm workers.

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Development and Migration in Rural Mexico

Published January 2011

The immigration debate, while focused on domestic issues, largely overlooks some of the principal causes of unauthorized migration to the United States: poverty and inequality in Latin America.

The U.S. government identifies Latin America as the primary source (80 percent) of unauthorized immigration, but its responses internally, at the border, and through its foreign assistance to migrantsending countries is focused on enforcement.

Border enforcement fails to impact the causes of unauthorized migration in Latin America and U.S. foreign assistance to Latin America typically doesn’t take into account its impact on migration pressures.

This report analyzes a project in rural Mexico that was designed with an awareness of the connections between development and migration. The project is analyzed in this report to inspire discussion and action linking development and the reduction of migration pressures.

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Strengthening the U.S. Role in Accelerating Progress

Published September 2010

The U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) generated unprecedented levels of commitment to cut poverty and disease, improve access to education and health, and promote gender equity and environmental sustainability.

Progress on the MDGs is a mixed bag, particularly in Africa, where many of the targets will not be met.

With a focused strategy, based on measurable results, the United States can redouble its efforts to accelerate progress on the MDGs.

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Rebuilding Haiti: Making Aid Work Better for the Haitian People

Published July 2010

With unprecedented levels of goodwill, focus, and commitment to Haiti, there are still enormous hurdles in laying the groundwork for a country-led recovery.

Haiti’s 10-year national reconstruction plan includes a multi-donor trust fund and an interim reconstruction authority to oversee rebuilding.

The mechanisms driving Haiti’s recovery must prioritize civil society participation, promote real transparency, and not compromise broader goals for quick short-term results.

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U.S. Foreign Assistance Reform: Food Security and Poverty Reduction

Published November 2009

In the last few decades, U.S. foreign assistance has largely supported a collection of disparate projects and interventions rather than a coherent, consistent program that is flexible and responsive to conditions in developing countries. As a result, it has not had a transformative impact at the country level.

USAID should once again focus attention on broad-based measures and approaches that will improve agricultural and economic growth rates, and reduce poverty at the national level. This will involve renewed emphasis on agriculture and rural development, women's participation in the economy, education, infrastructure and capable national institutions and will require a much more deliberate development strategy carried out over a longer time horizon.

To plan and implement such a strategy, USAID urgently needs to rebuild its technical capacity, especially in agriculture, rural development and economics that has been allowed to diminish over the past decades.

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New Hope for Malnourished Mothers and Children

Published October 2009

Many developing countries have had success in reducing malnutrition. But malnutrition remains pervasive and, in many countries, comes at a very high cost. Each year, millions of children die from malnutrition; millions more suffer ill health and face long-term physical and cognitive impairment, leading to lost productivity. The period between conception and the first two years in a child's life are critical.

The Obama administration's initiative to fight hunger offers an opportunity to improve nutrition of mothers and children around the world. In addition to the focus on increasing agricultural productivity and raising rural incomes, the administration should scale up nutrition interventions and integrate nutrition into its development programming.

It should use improvements in maternal and child nutrition as a key indicator of success. It should support country-led strategies, coordinate with other donors and ensure that U.S. actions and policies do not undermine nutrition objectives.

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Setting a Goal to End Poverty and Hunger in the United States

Published February 2009

One in every eight U.S. residents is living in poverty, according to the last official count conducted by the Census Bureau. But these data reflect conditions through 2007, well before the current recession.

Poverty and hunger on any scale is intolerable in a country as wealthy as the United States. To reduce poverty and hunger—and eventually eliminate them—the United States must be prepared to act more boldly than it has for several decades. Step one should be to set a national goal to end hunger and poverty, with a target date, so that progress can be tracked.

Ending poverty and hunger will require a comprehensive framework of solutions, that recognizes the many factors that contribute to economic hardship, such as lack of employer-provided health insurance, poor schools, lack of affordable housing, little access to financial services, and a host of others. Goal setting is the critical first step, as it focuses the nation's attention on outcomes and gives the public a way to hold the nation's leaders accountable.

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More Than Aid: Partnership for Development

Published August 2008

Providing aid is just one way that developed countries can support developing countries in their efforts to reduce poverty and improve human development. Policies on trade, immigration, and transferring technologies, especially essential medicines, also reflect their commitment to development.

Developed countries have agreed to establish a policy environment that does not undermine efforts for developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Goal Eight calls for developed countries to ensure greater coherence among an array of policies critical to achieving the MDGs. On policies related to trade, migration, and intellectual property rights, the United States and other rich countries are not living up to this agreement.

Improving its policies in trade, migration, and intellectual property rights would not only prove that the United States is fully committed to global development, but also would increase the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance.

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Reforming Foreign Aid

Published July 2008

Sustainable progress against hunger and poverty should be a top priority of U.S. foreign assistance. Elevating development and fixing foreign aid are the most important things the United States can do to respond to the global hunger crisis.

Effective aid includes clear objectives, host-country "ownership," accountability and flexibility, longterm commitments, integrated approaches, and adequate and reliable resources. In working toward a more effective development assistance program, nothing less than a comprehensive reauthorization of the Foreign Assistance Act is required, and this should include a cabinet-level department for global development.

The United States must provide leadership commensurate with its resources and values. Reforming foreign assistance would strengthen the U.S. reputation around the world, and beyond that, it would be part of a more sophisticated and realistic approach to national security.

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Ending Hunger: The Role of Agriculture

Published June 2008

A spike in global food prices has increased hunger. A prolonged period of higher prices threatens to stall or reverse progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Of the 862 million poor people around the world who are chronically hungry, 75 percent live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their earnings. Increasing agricultural productivity in poor countries is critical to reducing hunger. It increases food supply, which lowers food prices. Poor people benefit the most because they spend a much greater share of their income on food. Increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers also raises their incomes, improving their ability to cope.

Over the last twenty years, donors have been partners in a progressive decline in support for agriculture and rural development. A substantial increase in funding for agriculture is needed but aid by itself won't be enough. Reforming trade distorting policies in rich countries is also necessary. In addition, developing countries themselves have to provide supportive policies, along with additional investments, for donor resources to be effective.

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The Millennium Development Goals: Facing Down Challenges

Published May 2008

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent an unprecedented partnership among nations to better the lives of hungry and poor people across the globe. As the 2015 target date approaches, many developing countries have already made extraordinary progress, improving the lives of millions of people. But not all countries or regions of the world are on track to meet the MDGs.

Developing nations face many barriers to achieving the MDGs, some unique and country-specific, others broadly shared. Common problems faced by fragile nations can be grouped into four areas: poor starting conditions; weak governance and institutions; conflict and instability; and environmental degradation.

To meet the MDGs and create a sustainable path to development, countries must adopt policies and programs to overcome these problems. Developed countries have a role to play in overcoming these barriers. Aid donors, particularly the United States, must ensure that development assistance is flexible enough to help countries address these challenges and meet the MDGs.

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The Millennium Development Goals: Reason for Hope, Call to Action

Published February 2008

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent an unprecedented effort on the part of the world community to better the lives of hungry and poor people across the globe. Taken together, the MDGs serve as a comprehensive vision of human development—one marked by dignity, equality and opportunity for all.

The goals commit all countries in a partnership to eradicate hunger and poverty, ensure that all children have access to a primary school education, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, promote gender equality, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and ensure environmental sustainability. The MDGs also require developed countries to provide additional development assistance, grant debt relief to low-income countries and reform global trade rules to promote sustainable development.

By including measurable targets, the MDGs provide benchmarks to use in assessing progress and determining whether adjustments are needed in national and international strategies. The goals provide a framework for coordinating development efforts, and they build on decades of success in development programming around the world.

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