Alliance to End Hunger Embraces Global Goals in Continued Work Towards Food Security

January 26, 2017

Nathan Magrath, Alliance to End Hunger

There is a continuing discussion in the international development community as to what to call countries with high proportions of poverty and food insecurity.  During the Cold War the term “third world” was commonly used, alluding to the status many of these countries played in not aligning with the major “first world” capitalist or socialist powers.  It was subsequently coined as a DSC_4284cover-all term for impoverished nations.   While still frequently used, the term comes across as antiquated, technically inaccurate in many cases, and borderline derogatory in others.  More recently, the terms “developing countries,” “low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)” and even “global south” have come about to help us walk the fine line between being descriptive and succinct.  NPR did a fun piece on this in early 2015.

In all of these cases, there is an implication that development has a starting point and finish line, as well as an ‘us vs. them’ mentality.  (For the record, we use the term “developing countries” at the Alliance to End Hunger because it is succinct and generally understood).  But the idea that development is something that happens “over there” and has been achieved here is, of course, not the case.  It is for this reason that the Alliance to End Hunger has so enthusiastically embraced the Sustainable Development Goals through its work.

For those unfamiliar with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), these global development targets were adopted by the United Nations in late 2015 as a worldwide development paradigm urging universal progress on a range of topics—poverty, food security, education, justice, and others.  These goals are unique in that they challenge wealthy countries, such as the United States, as well as countries in the developing world.

Girl with sandwichThe importance of the SDGs was recognized early by the Alliance, and was added to our Statement of Policy soon after their adoption by the United Nations.  In October of last year, the Alliance to End Hunger held its semi-annual membership meeting in which Alliance members reaffirmed not only the importance of the SDGs to our work (especially SDG1 on poverty and SDG2 on food security), but also the interconnectedness of all of the global goals, and the importance of the development framework’s success in achieving our ultimate goal of ending hunger everywhere.

The Alliance’s embracing of the SDGs is already apparent in its work through the diverse stakeholders we bring to a common table.  Even before the publishing of the SDGs, the Alliance has pulled together individuals and organizations from a wide variety of industries and expertise to tackle the issue of hunger in unique ways.  For example, through partnerships with ProMedica, the Root Cause Coalition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and others, we have organized conferences on the intersection of health and food security here in the United States.  Our domestically-focused Hunger Free Communities initiative is working with communities across the United States to encourage and assist local coalitions to come together and address needs related to food security.

Internationally, the National Alliance Partnership Program is working with civil society coalitions in the developing world to help build their capacities to successfully advocate for policies and practices that will drive their respective nations to a food secure future.

Our advocacy efforts focus on policies around hunger both in the United States and around the world.  This includes ensuring policymakers understand what hunger looks like both at home and abroad, and making sure policies reflect the relationship between food security issues in the United States and elsewhere.

membership coverLooking into 2017, we are excited to continue our successful work bringing diverse voices together on behalf of hungry and vulnerable people everywhere.  Already, we are launching an initiative inviting start-up organizations to join the Alliance, bringing with them new ideas and strategies to combat food insecurity and build the will to end hunger.  We are also expanding our engagement with youth to boost their contribution of fresh perspectives into the anti-hunger community.  The Hunger Free Communities network continues to grow, and the Alliance will soon release a toolkit and other resources to help communities assess and address hunger in their local contexts.  The National Alliance Partnership Program is completing its work in current NAPP countries, and building on its plan to engage with other international alliances and entities in a global push to end food insecurity.  And with a new U.S. Administration and Congress, as well as a forthcoming Farm Bill and other legislation, it will be an exceptionally busy year for our Advocacy Committee and membership.

We are getting ever closer to ending hunger in the United States and around the world.  Significant challenges remain, but if we strive for continued development throughout our global community, we can end hunger in a generation.


Interested in monitoring how the United States is tracking and progressing on the Sustainable Development Goals? Visit sdg.data.gov to learn more.