the Roadmap to End Global Hunger. It will discuss how an idea was born, how it turned into the report titled The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, and how the recommendations of that report have been translated into legislation, spearheaded by Jo Ann Emerson and James McGovern.


In May 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that described why donor nations, including the United States, were failing in their efforts to help sub-Saharan African nations meet the first Millennium Development Goal of cutting hunger in half by 2015. The authors of this report, Tom Melito and Phil Thomas, briefed the cochairs of the House Hunger Caucus about the report and its findings. One of the central issues that was raised was the lack of coordination and the lack of any clear strategy about how the United States would make an effective contribution to reducing the incidence of hunger and malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, or work with those nations on how to create longer-term food security.

This led the House Hunger Caucus to begin discussions about the need for a specially appointed coordinator or office—or a “Hunger Czar”—to oversee a comprehensive, government-wide strategy to address global hunger and food security. This person would be responsible for helping to coordinate the often very uncoordinated food security programs on the ground. The global food crisis of 2008 put into sharp relief how many programs the United States has on food aid, nutrition, and food security and how they are spread over a variety of federal departments, agencies, and jurisdictions. The same problem exists on Capitol Hill, with global food security programs under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means, and Financial Services, to name just the principal committees.

This led Jo Ann Emerson and James McGovern to lead a crusade for a comprehensive government-wide strategy and for a coordinator on global hunger and food security. The day after he was elected President in 2008, a bipartisan letter was sent to Barack Obama from 116 members of Congress, calling for a comprehensive government-wide strategy and the appointment of a White House coordinator of such a strategy. In addition, meetings were held with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as members of the Obama transition teams for the Department of State, USAID, and USDA, to discuss the importance of a comprehensive, government-wide strategy that would maximize efforts to reduce global hunger and promote nutrition and long-term food security.

In spring 2008, a diverse group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) began talking about drafting a blueprint for the next administration on how U.S. programs and policies could more effectively and successfully address global hunger, nutrition, and food security. The NGOs had their own “jurisdictional” problems, with some focusing mainly on emergency and humanitarian relief

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