OPED: Clinton can lead in global hunger fight


The next president will have to contend with a global hunger emergency worsened by war and drought. Hillary Clinton has the experience and potential to wage an effective fight against hunger.

Where there is war, you’ll find hunger. This is what we are seeing in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other nations affected by conflict.

The millions of Syrian refugees, who have fled a civil war and ISIS, are also fighting the enemy of hunger. The war has destroyed agriculture. Bakeries lie in ruin, leaving people without even the basic staple of bread.

Syrian refugees throughout the Middle East live in poverty. Aid agencies struggle to raise the funds to help them. This is the largest humanitarian operation of our generation. The exodus of Syrian refugees into Europe was due to lack of food.

Boko Haram’s reign of terror in the Lake Chad Basin of Africa is also causing starvation in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Food aid is desperately needed in this region. Without food and development aid there can be no foundation for peace.

Droughts in Africa and Central America are also causing severe food shortages. It will takes years to recover from these tragedies.

Clinton, as secretary of state, helped kick off the Feed the Future initiative to fight world hunger. This plan supports the small farmer in developing countries. They are the ones that can feed their country if that have enough initial support.

The World Food Program USA presented Clinton the George McGovern Leadership Award in 2010 "for her commitment and visionary approach to ending global hunger."

Heidi Storey, who now lives in York County, traveled to Macedonia recently to visit her family. She took along the makings of gift bags for Syrian refugees.

Clinton, upon receiving that award, said "We know very well that hunger is a drain on economic development. It is a threat to the stability of governments and it certainly it deprives us of the talents and energy of nearly a billion people worldwide."

As former Army Chief and Secretary of State George Marshall once warned, "Hunger and insecurity are the worst enemies of peace." That is no less true today.

In June, the United Nations released alarming figures of 65.3 million people worldwide being displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.  Having lost everything these war victims need food to survive.

The peace and stability all nations seek cannot be founded on empty stomachs. Starving and desperate refugees need food. Children become stunted in growth without nutrition. This is especially crucial in the first 1000 days of life.

One initiative started during Bill Clinton’s presidency was the McGovern-Dole global school lunch program.  It was named after former senators George McGovern and Bob Dole. This plan, which provides school lunches in poor countries, could use a lot more resources and attention. A Clinton administration could widen the scope of global school lunches.

There should be more school meals provided across the globe to help refugee children and nations recover.

As World Food Programme director Ertharin Cousin said in a speech about Syria, “If we fail to provide the school meals which bring children back to school and keep them in school, we will miss the opportunity to teach them different lessons than this conflict teaches."

Food is a crucial element to our foreign policy. If you are going to be president you have to attack this crisis.

Hillary Clinton as President is capable of leading the United States in a global coalition to fight hunger.

— William Lambers is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Programme on the book Ending World Hunger. He writes for History News Network, the Huffington Post and others.