Melbourne, August 7 – Development NGO, World Growth, today commended United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron, for drawing attention at the Olympics to the looming problem of food security, but pointed out UK aid policies needed to be changed. In a new report, [The Development Tragedy —How Donor Aid Priorities and Land Use Policies Threaten Food Security], released to coincide with the Hunger Summit, World Growth research demonstrates how UK aid policies are hindering increases in the global supply of food.
Ambassador Alan Oxley, chairman of World Growth, made the following comments:
“The fresh spike in grain prices caused by drought in the United States is a graphic reminder of the vital need to increase food production. Last year the United Nations forecast world population could rise from 7 billion today to 10 billion by 2050. Yet the policies of all major aid donors undermine the action needed to increase food production. David Cameron needs to reverse this at the Olympics Hunger Summit.”
“Over the last decade, the share of global aid to support agriculture in poor countries shrank from 8.6 percent of all aid to 5.2 percent. This mirrors the reduction in the share of aid to support economic growth. The United Kingdom and other rich countries have instead given priority to redistributing wealth, increasing transparency, ensuring gender equality and protecting the environment.”
“As noted British development economist Professor L. Alan Winters advised the G20 in 2010, increasing economic growth is key to reducing poverty.”
Ambassador Oxley pointed out that, like other Western donors, in forest-endowed developing countries, the UK now gives priority to halting conversion of forest land for production of vital food staples, such as grains and vegetable oils such as palm oil; and funds projects to establish less productive industries on the grounds of claims that this will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
“The British Government’s position on food security and deforestation is clear – David Cameron’s Government considers that food security should be considered less important than preserving forest land.”
“It is disappointing that the UK Government shapes aid policy by listening to anti-growth groups like the World Wide Fund for Nature rather than on the facts.”
“Salient facts are that developing countries targeted by the UK have relatively more forest land than the UK and have already set aside forest areas to protect biodiversity which exceed international standards. They have plenty of land to increase agricultural production. World Bank research also shows forest clearance is not a major source of greenhouse gases.”
For more information on World Growth visit www.worldgrowth.org.
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