NAIROBI (AlertNet) – World leaders will sign a ‘Charter to end Extreme Hunger’ in New York on Saturday, while calling for more funding to resolve the hunger crisis in East Africa which is affecting 13 million people.
Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga will be the first official to sign the charter at a press conference also attended by rock star-turned-humanitarian Bob Geldof and the United Nations’ most senior humanitarian official, Valerie Amos.
The charter, which was drawn up by aid agencies and civil society groups, outlines five key actions governments should it take to stop widespread starvation.
“Today’s crisis could have been avoided if the right steps had been taken early on,” the group said in a press release.
The five steps are:
* Responding early
The current crisis in East Africa was predicted months in advance, yet warnings were largely unheeded. Governments must ensure that early warnings mean automatic early action.
* Supporting local food production
Supporting local, small-scale farmers and livestock owners is one of the best ways to protect against hunger crises and mitigate against the effects of a changing climate and soaring food prices.
* Making food affordable
Spiralling food and oil prices have complicated the current crises, leaving thousands of people unable to afford basic foods. Governments must stockpile emergency food reserves and limit the use of food export bans to prevent spikes in food prices.
* Protecting the poorest and most vulnerable
Millions of people around the world are living on the edge of survival. Governments should build social safety nets which provide support to poor families who struggle to feed themselves.
* Reducing armed conflict
Violence is one of the principle causes of mass starvation. Governments must commit to providing access for humanitarian aid to regions in conflict and engage in diplomacy to end conflict.
(Editing by Rebekah Curtis)