The November 2011 G20 meeting in Cannes, perhaps understandably, focused on addressing the eurozone crisis. However, behind the financial headlines the bigger crisis of global hunger and malnutrition was pushed to the sidelines. Concern Worldwide attended the summit as part of a continued push by its Unheard Voices campaign for investment in smallholder agriculture.
Some progress on food security was made, with the G20 acknowledging the need to regulate and improve transparency in commodity markets, a move that may help to curb food price volatility. The outcome text and communiqué also refer to the need to 'foster investment in smallholder farmers'. It was a big step for this important issue to get a specific mention at the summit, but disappointingly no firm commitments were made.
In light of these weak G20 commitments, with the ongoing crisis in the Horn of Africa and around half a billion smallholder farmers still going hungry in the Global South, Concern Worldwide has launched a new campaign action. The action calls on supporters to write to Members of Parliament and pressure domestic political parties to use the UK aid budget to support smallholder farmers. It also calls for the UK to take a leadership role in prioritising hunger reduction through investment in smallholders at the G8 in 2012 and beyond.