Why we need a Global Alliance Against Hunger and Poverty and why IDA should join it

  • Tempo de leitura:10 minutos de leitura

Thiago Lima at IDA21 Meeting – Kathmandu | 18/06/2024

Slide 1 – Cover

I would like to thank the International Development Association and the World Bank Group for the invitation and opportunity to speak to this distinguished audience. I am honored to come to Nepal to talk about the Global Alliance Against Hunger and Poverty. It is one of President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s foremost priorities of Brazil’s Presidency of the G20 and we believe that IDA is in a unique position to support the Alliance and to benefit from it. In this presentation, I will introduce the Alliance, but first it is important to frame the context that justifies it.

Slide 2 – SDGs off track

As we are all aware, the world is not on track to achieve the SDGs, specially SDGs 1 and 2. While some countries show robust progress, others lag behind, particularly those most in need of development. This is of utmost importance because hunger and poverty hinder efforts to promote just transitions, combat climate change, improve health and education, besides many more negative effects on other key areas of development that are relevant to overcome intergenerational inequalities.

In contexts of poverty and hunger, survival strategies may impede development projects and policies. For instance, certain types of extractivism may undermine the establishment of sustainable forest services, children that need to work to buy food for their families may quit school, and the necessity of fetching water in distant places usually drains the energy and time that a community could dedicate to productive or learning activities.. Moreover, data from various international organizations demonstrates the adverse effects of malnutrition on health, cognition, and productivity, as outlined in IDA’s Focus paper.

Slide 3 – Extreme poverty and Food Insecurity

The urgency to address extreme poverty in IDA countries is evident and a special attention must be to directed towards food insecurity. The levels of food insecurity across Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa are totally unacceptable in a world full of  social technologies that can improve production, distribution and income generation in a sustainable and inclusive way. International cooperation is crucial. However, the current ecosystem is ill-equipped to do so.

Slide 4 – Five reports

The Task Force Against Hunger and Poverty commissioned five reports on these subjects, and the general conclusion is that international cooperation for development is not doing the job we need to achieve SDGs 1 and 2.

Slide 5 – Fragmentation

The international cooperation i) highly fragmented, ii) focused on small-scale projects, and iii) insufficiently funded. So we must create incentives to scale up resources and improve allocation to impactful, large-scale public policies and programs.

Here, we can see that Project-Type interventions are the biggest type of aid.

Slide 6 – Urgent, ambitious

Hence, urgent, ambitious, and sustainable action is imperative to accelerate progress towards SDGs 1 and 2, while also contributing to other SDGs, notably reducing inequalities (SDG 10).

Slide 7 – Proposed mission

The Alliance’s mission is to better align international support to enable large-scale country-level implementation of proven effective policies and programs. It will operate on a demand-driven basis to facilitate international cooperation that is country-led and owned. It will work to find new donors and pool resources. Working closely with MDBs is crucial because of their leverage capacity. But we also need new instruments, new financial possibilities.  

Slide 8 – Institutionality

The Alliance’s institutionality is outlined through four main documents: The Inception Document, Terms of Reference and Governance Framework, Statements of Commitment, and The Policy Basket. These documents lay out the mission, organizational structure, membership rules, and the policy repository of the Alliance.

The Inception Document outlines the mission and ambitions for the Alliance. The Terms of Reference and Governance Framework details the core organizational structure and membership rules. The Alliance will have a small structure consisting of a Supporting Mechanism (its staff) and a Board of Champions whose primary mission is to offer political support to cooperation agreements. It will likely have two bases, one at the FAO and the other possibly in Brazil. The staff will primarily consist of secondments from International Organizations that are already offering their assistance.

The Statement of Commitments is a document that state and non-state actors wishing to join the Alliance must submit. Through this document, proponents will declare the voluntary commitments they are willing to contribute to the Alliance across three pillars:

  • The National Pillar represents commitments to advance initiatives within their own territories or assist others in implementation. This pillar is exclusive to States and Regional Organizations such as de EU and the African Union, but is not limited to G20 members. The Alliance is open to all UN members and observers.
  • The Knowledge Pillar will receive commitments from actors offering expertise, technical assistance, lesson sharing, etc.
  • The Finance Pillar is where actors will indicate the approximate amount of resources they may contribute. That is where we want to see IDA.

Slide 9 – Policy Basket

The Policy Basket will be an open repository curated by the Supporting Mechanism, aimed at collecting and organizing effective, evidence-based policies that have successfully reduced hunger and poverty. This is the Alliance’s main asset. The Policy Basket ensures that donor investments are directed towards cost-effective, high-impact initiatives. Any member can submit a policy to the Policy Basket. Members that need to enhance or create a new policy or program can choose from these policies and  adapt them to their own context, with the cooperation of Knowledge and Financial agents. The Supporting Mechanism’s role is to receive members’ demands and use the information from the Statements of Commitments to help the requesting country find the best partnerships to achieve its SDGs 1 and 2 objectives.

Slide 10 – Mental Map

Here is a workflow example: Suppose a member wants to improve food and nutrition security and family farmers’ income by enhancing food production at schools, but the lack of a regular supply of water is a problem. That member might find in the Basket successful water storage policies implemented by Brazil or Tanzania that not only guarantee year-round production but also provide drinking water to students. The Supporting Mechanism will then access its database of National, Knowledge, and Finance commitments to find members willing to support such policies. The Supporting Mechanism will present the combination possibilities to the requesting country, and if this country is comfortable with a particular combination or partnerships, the Supporting Mechanism will facilitate that cooperation.

Slide 11 – SAN

Now let me tell you something about Brazil. Although Brazil is one of the largest world economies and a major agricultural power, a huge part of the Brazilians historically lived in hunger and extreme poverty. But in the beginning of the 21st Century, we learned that we could significantly reduce poverty and win the fight against hunger  with a combination of strong economic performance and a pack of well designed public policies. Under the leadership of president Lula and president Dilma Rousseff, Brazil exited the FAO’s hunger map for the first time in 2014. Unfortunately, hunger rapidly rose again in recent years. Economic and political crises, a global pandemic and governments that actively dismantled those public policies that gave enormous contributions to the reduction of food and nutritional insecurity resulted in that 33 million Brazilians were in severe food insecurity in 2022. Fortunately, in the first year of president Lula’s third presidency, we are making good progress. By the end of  2023 , 24.4 million people were not living  in hunger anymore. But, we still have 8.7 million people in that condition and the Brazilian government will work tirelessly to lift them out of that condition.

We learned how to fight against hunger and poverty. Other countries of the Global South have also developed their own successful policies and experiences. We can learn with each other, but some countries can’t finance that fight with their own resources. They need international cooperation.

Slide 11 – IDA

In conclusion, it is unacceptable that a large number of people still suffer from hunger and poverty despite the existence of known and effective, evidence-based public policies around the world. The Alliance may contribute as a repository for these policies, and I emphasize the low-cost, high impact solutions that have been developed and perfected by Global South countries in this century. IDA’s participation is critical due to its significant history in fighting poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, especially in Low Income Countries. IDA’s unparalleled expertise and impact would make its involvement unique. We look forward to the International Development Association (IDA) issuing its own Statement of Commitment and joining the Global Alliance.

Dear delegates, the international community has agreed that we must leave no one behind. However, Political will, as emphasized by President Lula, is essential to deliver ambitious and concrete solutions to those in need, and the Global Alliance stands as a crucial initiative towards that end. The World Bank president, Mr. Ajay Banga, expressed his support for the Alliance during the Spring Meetings. Many countries have offered their support too. So let’s make this IDA replenishment a strong propeller for a powerful Global Alliance against Hunger and Poverty, so it can help us achieve a just world and a sustainable planet.

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