January 17, 2014

CWS Applauds Passage of International Food Aid Funding and Reforms

Young girls in Nicaragua who benefit from a CWS food security program focused on eradicating hunger and malnutrition in children under 5 years old. Photo: CWS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — CWS today joined 16 other international development, relief and advocacy groups in applauding Congress for approving funding and reforms that will increase the efficiency of international food aid programs and also make it possible for the assistance to reach more of the world’s most vulnerable people.

In a statement to members of Congress, CWS and the other organizations welcomed the strong funding for vital international programs included in the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act which the groups say indicates Congress’s “continued commitment to addressing global hunger and malnutrition.”

The statement thanked the lawmakers on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and relevant subcommittees.  “We thank the Chairs Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Rep. Harold Rogers, Sen. Mark Pryor, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Kay Granger and Rep. Robert Aderholt and Ranking Members Sen. Richard Shelby, Rep. Nita Lowey, Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep. Sam Farr, and Sen. Lindsey Graham for their dedicated leadership and commitment.”

U. S. food aid helps feed 55 million people in need around the world every year through emergency response and development programs that tackle chronic hunger and malnutrition. When 870 million people go hungry every day, making each dollar count is both a responsible use of taxpayer money and a moral imperative.

The measure also accomplishes a hard-fought reform to international food aid by providing $35 million in funding to reduce the need to “monetize” food aid, that is, to sell food from the United States overseas to obtain funds for other food security programs.

This simple change also will help expand the reach of the Food for Peace program to hundreds of thousands more people, thereby making it possible for them to better feed themselves, lift their communities out of poverty, and lessen the need for future emergency assistance. 

“Food aid is so vital when people are in need that any measure that makes it possible to get life-saving assistance to even more people, as quickly as possible, is an overdue and welcome reform,” said the Rev. John McCullough, president and CEO of CWS.

The statement also strongly supports increasing the efficiency of anti-hunger programs by means of local and regional purchase, or LRP, as part of the food aid toolbox LRP provides considerable cost savings, faster humanitarian response, and support for local farmers and food markets that help ensure long-term global food security. The statement thanks Congress for its continuing support and efforts to increase funding for LRP through USAID’s Emergency Food Security Program.

Looking ahead, CWS and the other organizations also expressed hope that the Farm Bill, expected to be released in the near future, will further advance the modernization of food aid to give the U.S. government even greater flexibility in the use of its resources to respond quickly and appropriately to global crises. 

The organizations pledged to work with the administration and Congress in effort to further reform assistance so that the most efficient and helpful use is made of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent on food aid.

In addition to CWS, the following organizations signed the statement: Action Against Hunger USA; American Jewish World Service; Bread for the World; CARE USA; Convoy of Hope; Friends Committee on National Legislation; InterAction; Lutheran World Relief; Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office; Mercy Corps; Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network; ONE; OxFam America; Save the Children; The Borgen Project; and World Food Program USA