The G8 nations have made a draft declaration on Tuesday to commit $15 billion for world food security over several years for agricultural development in poor countries.
The funds...would be earmarked for investment in low income countries to implement agriculture development strategies, to finance agricultural infrastructure, land and water management, risk mitigation actions, the declaration said.
The U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to mobilize $3-4 billion and also wanted other partners to match that commitment to reach the $15 billion target.
The European Union has welcomed U.S's pledge for new funds, and EU commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday the bloc would commit another $1 billion per year on top of the money it has already promised--estimated at around $7 billion to date.
The funds will be pooled in a global agriculture and food security trust managed by the World Bank. The declaration voiced concern for the impact of the economic crisis, food price volatility and under-investment in agriculture on poverty.
Aid groups and some United Nations agencies are worried that the long-term focus could hurt vulnerable people who need help immediately.
The number of hungry people has risen over the past two years and is expected to top 1.02 billion this year, reversing a four-decade trend of declines, the United Nations has said. Meanwhile, global food aid supplies hit a 34-year low in 2008.
This is not an 'either or' game, said Amir Abdulla, deputy executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), which provides emergency food assistance.
We recognize that long-term solutions are required, but if we don't get the balance right, we will lose many people to hunger while the long-term strategies are put in place. People won't survive to benefit from the increased supply, he said.
The WFP has a shortfall this year of more than $4.5 billion, or 70 percent of its budget. It has had to cut food rations and shut some operations in eastern Africa and North Korea.
Aid campaigners are also worried about the lack of details about the funds to be pledged by the G8 summit.
The devil is always in the detail. Is this new money? Are they including loans as well as grants, bilateral as well as multilateral commitments? The G8 needs to be absolutely transparent about what it is doing, said Oliver Buston of anti-poverty campaign ONE.