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ImpactFood & Hunger

Global Food Security Act passes the Senate committee!

Flickr, CIAT

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee just voted to pass the Global Food Security Act, a milestone in improving US food security and nutrition programs around the world.

What is the Global Food Security Act?

The Global Food Security Act, or ‘GFSA’, is a bill that will help maintain US leadership on international food security. It builds upon a program called Feed the Future. This USAID program has worked to increase crop production for more than 7 million small scale farmers around the world. Feed the Future has had amazing results in countries like Rwanda, Senegal, and Malawi.

The new bill will expand these efforts in a variety of ways.

  • • Develop a comprehensive food security strategy that reduces global poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, particularly among women and children
  • • Improve Coordination across US federal departments and agencies to ensure that the right people are talking to each other
  • • Support developing countries like Rwanda and Senegal as they create national plans for food security
  • • Focus on nutritional outcomes for women and children, particularly in the crucial first 1,000 days between a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday
  • • Put in place strong reporting, oversight and accountability measures
  • • Invest just over $1 billion USD for fiscal year 2016 to carry out the strategy

Why does this matter?

The GFSA was introduced in the US Senate in May. Since then Global Poverty Project, CARE, InterAction, ONE, and World Vision have been working very hard to encourage Senators to sign onto the bill.

Over the summer, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Congressman Charles Dent (R-PA) sat down with MSNBC ahead of the 2015 Global Citizen Festival to talk about the importance of the Global Food Security Act.

“Across the world when you’re talking about chronic malnutrition, over 160 million children suffer from that...and we cannot abide that,” said Senator Casey.

This vote is crucial because it clears the road for GFSA to come to a vote in the House and the Senate and eventually be signed into law by President Obama.

Did your voice matter?

Yes. Here is the deal - over 85,000 global citizens signed the petition calling on their members of congress to support the GFSA. The petition was handed over to members of congress across the House and Senate to build momentum around the bill.

And, earlier this week, global citizens called Senators who sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ask them to support the bill. These calls were a really important way to ‘whip’ votes.

via GIPHY

Does this mean that the GFSA is now law?

Not quite. The bill passed in the Senate committee after doing the same in the relevant committee of the House of Representatives. Now, the bill will need to come to a vote in front of the entire House and Senate. With support from global citizens this can happen pretty quickly.

The victory in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a big step forward, but the effort will only end when the United States improves its commitment to ending hunger and poverty by making the Global Food Security Act a law.