The Washington Weekly – December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

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The Hunger Project’s Executive VP, John Coonrod, has moved from New York City to Washington, DC to strengthen THP’s seat at the table of international development. Each week, John sends us insight into issues of health, policy, human rights and more by way of the Washington Weekly.

Latin American Leaders on Policy Front Lines

The past few days have put a spotlight on the growing prominence of THP leaders in public policy. In Mexico, Country Director Lorena Vázquez is on the executive committee of a large civil society network working on the presidential transition. Yesterday, the new Minister of Social Development tweeted on the importance of THP to the President’s newly announced campaign to end hunger.

On Dec 13-14, Tarcila Rivera Zea, President of Chirapaq and Member of the UN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group presented at a stakeholder’s forum at the UN on preventing violence against women and girls, in preparing for next year’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Tarcila spoke on a panel on Thursday discussing how to ensure policies and strategies eliminate violence against women and girls. “Indigenous women face multiple layers of discrimination,” Tarcila said, “For indigenous women, violence is not only internal, like domestic violence, but it’s also external violence [like exclusion for policy decisions]”. She also emphasized the importance in having disaggregated data for indigenous populations. Violence and discrimination among indigenous populations are happening at much higher rates in Peru than among non-indigenous populations – but this is difficult to showcase to policy makers without disaggregated data.

See concept note and program.

(Note: See John Coonrod speak on behalf of Tarcila last October at the Wilson Center.)

Action: Engaging in Post-2015 Consultations

The hot topic these days is the process of consultations in more than 100 countries on creating the Post-2015 development goals. As part of their ongoing gender roundtable series, WomenThrive sponsored an event last week entitled “Synergy Not Silos: Post-2015 MDG Priorities Across Sectors.” Representatives from the areas of food security, WASH advocates, and maternal health all agreed that identifying practical integrated goals would be necessary to make progress in any lobbying related to the Post-2015 MDG priorities. Siloed issues are unlikely to make any agenda on their own as countries will be interested in identifying goals that will further development in numerous subject areas. Stunting, learning (vs. simple education access), and maternal mortality were all identified as potential integrated areas that could foster potential goals.

The official UN e-consultation closes on December 21. Sign up and make your voice heard.

Africa’s Woman Food Farmer: can the private sector empower her?

The biggest food security trend of 2012 has been the move by various agencies to get serious about encouraging private sector investment in African Agriculture. The G8 launched its “New Alliance” for that purpose this summer. The reformed Committee on Food Security in Rome has shown it can tackle tough issues by aligning nations behind guidelines of responsible private investment in agriculture.

Last week, the FAO launched its flagship “State of Food and Agriculture Report” (SOFA) with this focus.

The report emphasizes that farmers must be at the center: their investments dwarf outside forms of investment by a factor of four, despite an unconducive environment. Governments and donors have a special responsibility to help smallholders overcome barriers to savings and investment, and evidence shows that investments in public goods (such as rural roads) have a higher rate of return than fertilizer subsidies.

Corporate investment requires governance, the report concludes. It may offer opportunities for employment and technology transfer, but it may also pose risks to the livelihoods of local populations, especially where property rights are weak.

New Lancet Series on Disease Burden

Yesterday, The Lancet launched the findings of the massive 2010 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. The study showed that though fewer children are dying, more young and middle-aged adults are succumbing to disease, injury, and non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Since 1970, men and women worldwide have gained slightly more than ten years of life expectancy overall, but they spend more years living with injury and illness and health systems are ill-prepared to deal with this.

Upcoming Events

January 9, 2013: THP consultation in New Delhi on Participatory Local Democracy.

February 6-15, 2013: UN Conference on Social Development

March 3-4, 2013 – AU Conference on Ending Hunger in Africa, Addis

March 4-15, 2013 – UN Commission on the Status of Women

April 19-21, 2013 – World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington

April 29-May 1, 2013 – InterAction Forum, Arlington, Virginia

May 28-30, 2013 – Women Deliver Conference, Kuala Lumpur

June 2013 – Civil20, Business20, Youth20 Summits in Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 27-28, 2013 – International Conference on Population and Development, Paris

September 2013 – Leaders G20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia

October 5, 2013 – The Hunger Project Fall Event