Media CenterCRS Joins in Praise for Global Food Security Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
Legislation to help the world's hungry was passed by the House
BALTIMORE, MD, July 6, 2016 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has joined scores of other humanitarian organizations to congratulate Congress for approving S. 1252, the Global Food Security Act of 2016 (GFSA).
The bill authorizes the Feed the Future Initiative, a coordinated effort across government agencies to improve agricultural production and nutrition in developing countries. The GFSA passed the House today on a bipartisan 369 to 53 vote. It now goes to the president’s desk for his signature.
“The Global Food Security Act is an exciting step forward in building the political will needed to end global hunger and malnutrition in our lifetime,” CRS and 44 other aid agencies said in a letter sent to members of Congress.
Passage of the bill follows a two year sustained campaign by these organizations. As part of these efforts, CRS President Carolyn Woo last year gave a testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee emphasizing the importance of GFSA and Feed the Future to global nutrition. Also, last month the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and CRS wrote a letter to House Leadership urging approval of the bill. The letter notes:
“Pope Francis has said that ‘to defeat hunger, it is not enough to meet the needs of those who are less fortunate or to help through aid and donations those who live in situations of emergency. It is instead necessary to change the paradigm of aid and of development policies . . ..’ We believe the Global Food Security Act can be part of that paradigm shift.”
Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy, said he was particularly pleased that the GFSA improves the Feed the Future program by directing more assistance to small scale producers, especially subsistence farmers working on small plots of land. These are the people most in need of help.
“We will only begin to see an end to hunger when entire communities are lifted up together and are able to grow and purchase the food they need to meet both their caloric and nutrition needs,” O’Keefe said. “The GFSA is an important step toward that goal, a milestone in developing not just healthy people, but also healthy economies that are inclusive of the most vulnerable.”
The letter from the humanitarian agencies gives particular credit to Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Betty McCollum (D-MN), who introduced the bill in the House, as well as Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA), for doing the same in the Senate.
“These Members of Congress are well-known leaders in the fight against global hunger and malnutrition, as well as champions of small-scale producers’ efforts to lift themselves out of poverty,” the letter states.