SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Feb. 5, 2013) - Canada, a global leader in combatting food insecurity, is committed to achieving long-term results that improve the lives of women, men, and children living in poverty. Today, joined by development partners and business leaders at the Saskatchewan Global Food Security Forum, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, highlighted Canada's commitment to food security and opportunities for Canada's globally competitive firms to grow in the developing world.
"The Global Food Security Forum provides an opportunity to advance innovative solutions to global food insecurity. By bringing together Canada's best and brightest from the agriculture and agri-food industries, the World Food Programme, and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Canada can contribute to and benefit in the long term by helping our neighbours around the world move from food insecurity to food security and greater prosperity," said Minister Fantino. "Canada's support will help address the basic food and nutrition needs of millions of people facing hunger. Canada's broader focus on strengthening food security helps developing countries move beyond basic subsistence toward a self-sustaining future, one which provides the prospect of sustainable economic growth and economic opportunities for the global community."
While at the Forum, Minister Fantino announced Canada's annual pledge under the new Food Assistance Convention, which promises to make the provision of food assistance more efficient and effective. "Canada's generous commitment will help address the basic food and nutrition needs of millions of people facing hunger," said Minister Fantino.
Approximately 900 million children, women, and men do not have enough nutritious food to eat due to extreme poverty, natural disasters, and conflicts resulting in 50 million children under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition. The new Convention, an outcome of recent international negotiations led by Canada, requires member countries to pledge a minimum annual level of quality food assistance to developing countries. The World Food Programme receives support through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and their purchases include globally competitive food sourced from Canada.
"As part of an international coalition promoting reform of this treaty, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank was pleased to see Canada take leadership in negotiating the new treaty," said Jim Cornelius, Executive Director of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
For more information on Canada's humanitarian assistance, please visit CIDA's website.
Canada's ratification of the new Food Assistance Convention
The Food Assistance Convention is an international treaty that ensures a minimum level of quality food assistance is available on a regular basis to help meet the food needs of the most vulnerable populations. Canada has pledged to provide a minimum annual commitment of $250 million in food assistance promising to help make delivery of food more efficient.
The new Convention, resulting from recent international negotiations led by Canada, has a number of important features that include new forms of food assistance to protect and improve access to food for those most in need. The new Convention includes the use of cash and vouchers to allow people to purchase what they need in local markets, as well as the provision of seeds and tools to help restart livelihoods following emergencies. It also captures nutritional interventions, which help particularly vulnerable groups, such as children and mothers, get the right food they need at the right time.
Canada was one of the first Parties to ratify the treaty, joining Denmark, Japan, Switzerland, the United States, and the European Union as founding members of the new Convention.
Food Assistance Committee
As of November 30, 2012, six Parties had deposited their instruments of ratification (Canada, the European Union, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States). This allowed the Food Assistance Convention to come into force on January 1, 2013. The first session of the Food Assistance Committee will be held in February 2013. The Committee, consisting of all the Parties to the Convention, will perform the functions that are required to carry out the provisions of the new Food Assistance Convention.