Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
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Revise act to feed world's hungry

By Margaret Wallhagen on July 5, 2009
© San Francisco Chronicle

"Global hunger soars, U.N. warns" (Sept. 20) reports how the financial crisis has increased the number of the world's hungry to a record 1 billion.

This is a humanitarian, moral and security crisis; food riots occurred in 30 countries last year. An efficient foreign development policy to build self-sufficiency and food security is essential, but our system is outdated, complicated and lacks accountability.

The act governing foreign assistance was written in 1961 and has at least 33 different goals, 75 priority areas and 247 potentially conflicting directives, making poverty and hunger reduction difficult.

Rep. Howard Berman, D-North Hollywood, and Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., recently introduced HR2139, the "Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009." HR2139 directs the president to develop and implement a comprehensive National Strategy for Global Development, but also appropriate monitoring policies while eliminating outdated provisions of the 1961 act.

We must tell our congressional representatives to support this legislation and introduce similar reform bills in the Senate. Only with better coordinated assistance, a strategy based specifically on reducing poverty, can we meet our commitment to hungry people around the world, use our foreign aid effectively and promote world security.

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