Alliance wants higher food aid commitment in FAC
In a letter this week to U.S. State Department Undersecretary Robert Hormats, the Alliance for Global Food Security urged higher food aid commitments in the new Food Aid Convention (FAC) being developed by donor countries.
The alliance pointed out that current commitments only total about 5 million metric tons, half of what is needed annually to meet minimum needs. It also asked that current programming options for food aid stay intact and that information about whether donors have met their annual commitments be made publicly available.
The FAC is an agreement by eight donor countries to provide a minimum amount of food aid each year to developing countries. Members are Argentina, Australia, Canada, EU (European Union is considered a country), Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States.
Established in 1967 as part of the International Grains Arrangement, the latest version was put into force in July 1999. Donor governments are negotiating terms of a new FAC, which they hope to complete by July.
'What makes the FAC so important and unique is that it seeks to assure predictable amounts of food aid are available even when prices fluctuate,' the alliance said. 'That is why commitments are made in terms of food aid tonnages rather than in terms of funds provided.'
The alliance warned against changing the FAC from a tonnage to a cash basis or expanding it to include other types of assistance or food security programs in general. Moreover, the alliance noted there are other forums to discuss food security and development assistance, including the restructured U.N. Committee on World Food Security, the G-8 (L'Aquila food security funding commitments) and the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development.