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Where Were You on World Food Day? What can you do NOW if you weren’t there?

By Global Washington Policy Coordinator Danielle Ellingston

“In the first half of this century, global demand for food, feed and fibre is projected to increase by some 70 percent, while crops may increasingly be used for bioenergy and other industrial purposes. New and traditional demand for agricultural produce will thus put growing pressure on already scarce agricultural resources. And while agriculture will be forced to compete for land and water with sprawling urban settlements, it will also be required to serve on other major fronts: adapting to and contributing to the mitigation of climate change, helping preserve natural habitats, and maintaining biodiversity. At the same time, fewer people will be living in rural areas and even fewer will be farmers. They will need new technologies to grow more from less land, with fewer hands.”

-U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, High Level Forum on How to Feed the World in 2050
http://www.fao.org/wsfs/forum2050/wsfs-background-documents/hlef-emreport/en/

girl_eating world food dayThe problem is real, huge, and growing. People are dying of hunger, and not meeting their full potential.  Other world problems are compounded by hunger- for example, hunger makes people more vulnerable to disease.  On October 14th, individuals and organizations around the world stepped up the action and dialogue on World Food Day.  The UN FAO is hosting a World Summit on Food Security in November, and there is still time for representatives from the private sector and civil society and the NGO sector to sign up.

9 facts about child hunger from Save the Children USA:

1.    For the first time in history, more than a billion people live with chronic hunger — and at least 400 million of them are children.
2.    In the developing world, volatile, historically high food prices together with the ongoing impact of the global economic crisis continue to drive families Read More

Ambassador Bagley to Speak at Global WA Conference

EBagleyWe are excited to announce the newest confirmed speaker at this year’s annual conference, Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley.

Ambassador Bagley was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to lead the Global Partnership Initiative as the Special Representative for Global Partnerships. At her swearing-in ceremony earlier this year, Ambassador Bagley set out her emphasis on partnerships, saying

“We must now make the transition to 21st Century Statecraft, engaging with all the elements of our national power – and leveraging all forms of our strength. That is where partnerships come in. Our private sector is an extraordinary source of innovation, talent, resources, and knowledge; and in the past, we have only scratched the surface.”

Ambassador Bagley stated that through the Global Partnership Initiative, “we are making the Secretary of State’s emphasis on opening our doors to the private sector a rallying cry for change and a platform for smart power.” We are honored to welcome her and to learn about developing cross-sector relationships to further our global development work. Read More

Community ownership works – and now there’s a Nobel Prize to prove it

by Global Washington Policy Coordinator Danielle Ellingston

OstromThis week the Nobel Prize is causing a lot of excitement in the blogosphere.  No, I’m not talking about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  I’m talking about the Nobel Prize in Economics being awarded to Elinor Ostrom.  Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. “Elinor Ostrom has demonstrated how common property can be successfully managed by user associations,” challenging “the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized.”

In other words, community problems can be solved by the communities themselves at the local level.  Not the national or state government.  Not private sector businesses.  This idea holds a lot of potential for international development.  Indeed, many development problems are solved communally, especially in management of community resources, such as water and sanitation.

And when community resource problems are addressed by foreign governments and other actors like NGOs, they should take local institutions into account and use them whenever it makes sense.  Where local institutions to solve local problems don’t exist, the emphasis should be on creating an enabling environment for community action.  Or at least finding out why the community hasn’t found a solution, before plowing ahead with something imposed from outside the community.

Women’s Enterprises International is a Global Washington member that works with women’s groups in Kenya, Benin, Guatemala, and Indonesia to get clean water, education for children, and income-generating projects.  The Kenya project in particular is a good example of an NGO working with local community groups who are already organized to work on community problems.

Do you know of other organizations in Washington State that use a community Read More