In Brief 18
One central issue is the question of what kind of commitment donors will make in the future. In a process that has gone practically unnoticed by the public, the Food Aid Convention is currently being renegotiated. Forged more than 40 years ago between 23 donor countries with the aim of using grain surpluses to combat famine in developing countries, the Convention has become so anachronistic today, despite periodic efforts at reform, that some member states are actually recommending it be abolished. But such a move would send a negative signal at a time when annual world hunger summits occur and the donor community promises billions to fight hunger.
Today, the questions are how daring can reform be, and is it ultimately possible to turn the Convention into an instrument that fulfils its purpose: providing effective assistance oriented towards meeting the needs of the hungry – assistance that bridges the gap between short-term emergency assistance and long-term food security measures. One central issue is the question of what kind of commitment donors will make in the future if the Convention wishes to give up to its mandate to provide reliable aid during crises. Because as we speak, vastly fluctuating and generally rising food prices mean that less money is available to feed people in crisis, and food rations are reduced.