Media CenterCRS Celebrates Congressional Passage of the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, Dec. 16, 2022 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) commends the passage of the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act (GFSRA), following a bipartisan effort to advance the legislation through both houses of Congress. The bill, which was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, goes to President Biden’s desk for signing into law.
“This is a huge legislative win for the fight against global hunger,” said Bill O’Keefe, executive vice president of Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy for CRS. “By passing this bill into law, Congress rightly acknowledges the negative impacts of extreme weather on food security, made worse in the era of climate change.”
When signed into law, the GFSRA will reauthorize the Feed the Future initiative, which brings partners together to address the root causes of hunger in vulnerable countries by boosting agricultural growth, resilience and nutrition. The new law will also increase Feed the Future’s funding authorization to $1.2 billion, up from approximately $1 billion.
According to the latest United Nations humanitarian appeal, more than 200 million people in 53 countries will face acute food insecurity by the end of 2022. Even more stark, 45 million people in 37 countries risk starvation. The global hunger crisis is being driven by multiple factors, including a spike in food, fuel and fertilizer prices as well as ongoing violent conflicts and prolonged drought and/or catastrophic flooding. Countries of critical concern include Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Yemen.
“People are giving up in way that they never have before,” said CRS’ Kev Esteban del Castillo, who manages CRS’ emergency response in Somalia. “People used to be able to cope with a failed rainy season or two, and manage the challenges associated with it. But now, with multiple seasons failing, those same people are thinking that it is over, like the rains will never come back,” he said. “It’s no longer the thought of, ‘We have to just get through this and things will get better next season.’ Now it is, ‘There is nothing left here for us.’”
The Feed the Future initiative helps communities cope with food insecurity by enabling them to produce and access locally sourced agricultural products like fertilizers, seeds and insurance. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) unveiled a new phase of Feed the Future this year, expanding its footprint to eight new countries: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.
“As we’ve seen in the years since it was first introduced, Feed the Future has successfully promoted sustainable agricultural growth by supporting youth and women farmers, local markets and economies while diversifying livelihoods and helping communities adapt to the effects of climate change,” O’Keefe said. “We’re grateful to our supporters across the country for advancing this legislation through their advocacy as well as to the Congressional lawmakers who worked across the aisle to get the latest iteration of the bill over the finish line.”
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the GFSRA was championed by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). In the U.S. Senate, efforts were led by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR).
CRS implements Feed the Future programming in Ethiopia as well as in countries like Niger, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
To read more about CRS’ programming and campaign to combat hunger, visit our campaign website.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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