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S. 1252 (114th): Global Food Security Act of 2016

The text of the bill below is as of May 7, 2015 (Introduced).


II

114th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1252

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 7, 2015

(for himself and Mr. Isakson) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

A BILL

To authorize a comprehensive strategic approach for United States foreign assistance to developing countries to reduce global poverty and hunger, achieve food and nutrition security, promote inclusive, sustainable, agricultural-led economic growth, improve nutritional outcomes, especially for women and children, build resilience among vulnerable populations, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Global Food Security Act of 2015.

2.

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (referred to in this section as the FAO), 805,000,000 people worldwide suffer from chronic hunger. Hunger and malnutrition rob people of health and productive lives and stunt the mental and physical development of future generations.

(2)

According to the January 2014 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community

(A)

the [l]ack of adequate food will be a destabilizing factor in countries important to US national security that do not have the financial or technical abilities to solve their internal food security problems; and

(B)

[f]ood and nutrition insecurity in weakly governed countries might also provide opportunities for insurgent groups to capitalize on poor conditions, exploit international food aid, and discredit governments for their inability to address basic needs.

(3)

Decades of research have shown that there are multiple underlying causes of food insecurity and poor nutrition, including—

(A)

the lack of availability of, access to, and consumption of nutritious food;

(B)

limited investments to improve agricultural productivity;

(C)

social and gender inequality;

(D)

insufficient value chains and market development for farmers, including small-scale producers, which lead to post-harvest loss; and

(E)

weak institutions in government and civil society.

(4)

Agriculture, which comprises large portions of the total labor force in many developing countries, is an essential component of inclusive economic growth. According to the World Bank’s 2008 World Development Report, growth in the agricultural sector has been twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.

(5)

Women, who are often heads of households and small farmers, are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. Women frequently face stricter constraints than men in accessing markets and resources. In its 2010–2011 report, the FAO estimated that if women farmers had the same access to inputs as men, they could increase their farm yields by 20 to 30 percent. According to the FAO, this could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4 percent.

(6)

According to UNICEF—

(A)

more than 161,000,000 children younger than 5 years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition (also referred to as stunting); and

(B)

1 in 3 women in the developing world are anemic, which leads to severe health and developmental consequences.

(7)

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, poor nutrition causes 45 percent of deaths in children younger than 5 years of age.

(8)

Malnutrition can—

(A)

undermine future earning potential by up to 20 percent; and

(B)

inhibit economic growth by up to 3 percent of gross domestic product.

(9)

According to The Cost of Hunger in Africa Study by the African Union Commission—

(A)

the economic costs associated with child undernutrition are substantial, ranging from 2 percent to 16 percent of the gross national product in several African nations; and

(B)

adults who suffer from stunting as children are less productive than nonstunted workers and are less able to contribute to the economy.

(10)

According to Save the Children’s 2013 Food for Thought report, if the current malnutrition rates continue, global output could be reduced by an estimated $125,000,000,000 by 2030, as the young children of today reach working age.

(11)

A comprehensive approach to sustainable food and nutrition security should not only respond to emergency food shortages, but should also address malnutrition, resilience to food and nutrition insecurity, building the capacity of poor, rural populations to improve their agricultural productivity, and incomes, removing institutional impediments to agricultural development, value chain access and efficiency, including processing and storage, enhancing agribusiness development, access to markets and activities that address the specific needs and barriers facing women and small-scale producers, education, and collaborative research.

(12)

An effective, sustainable approach to combating food insecurity requires consultation with, and participation from, multiple stakeholders, including government, the private sector, international organizations, international and local nongovernmental stakeholders, grassroots and civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, and higher education research institutions.

(13)

Nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, private voluntary organizations, academic institutions, and cooperatives can increase the effectiveness of public investments by building local capacity, strengthening food and nutrition security and resilience, and leveraging additional resources.

(14)

The United States has provided consistent global leadership in addressing food security and investing in agricultural development and humanitarian assistance. In 2010, the United States Government launched Feed the Future (referred to in this paragraph as FTF), an initiative designed to expand and better coordinate the United States investments in improving global food security. FTF is a whole-of-government approach that works across agricultural value chains and focuses on the dual objectives of improving farmer productivity, income, and livelihoods in developing countries and improving the nutrition of women and children.

(15)

The United States Government spearheaded the creation of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (referred to in this paragraph as the GAFSP), which mobilizes contributions from a wide range of international donors to support the goals of FTF. As of 2014, the GAFSP had received pledges totaling $1,300,000,000 from 10 donors and reached an estimated 12,000,000 direct beneficiaries in 25 countries.

3.

Policy objectives; sense of Congress

(a)

Statement of policy objectives

It is in the national security interest of the United States to promote global food and nutrition security, consistent with national agriculture investment plans, which is reinforced through programs, activities, and initiatives that—

(1)

eradicate hunger and malnutrition, especially for women and children;

(2)

assist foreign countries to achieve long-term, sustainable, and inclusive agricultural development by emphasizing—

(A)

increased productivity, resiliency, local management capacity, income, and growth;

(B)

reduction in poverty and long-term vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity; and

(C)

improved skills building and market linkages for producers, especially for women and small-scale producers, who face specific constraints in accessing markets, networks, and resources; and

(3)

ensure the effective use of United States taxpayer dollars to further these objectives.

(b)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that the President, or a designee of the President, in providing assistance under this Act, should—

(1)

coordinate, through a whole-of-government approach, the efforts of relevant Federal departments and agencies to develop and implement the strategy set forth in section 5(a);

(2)

utilize, to the maximum extent possible, open and streamlined solicitations, grants, and cooperative agreements to allow for the participation of a wide range of implementing partners; and

(3)

strengthen and expand partnerships between developing country institutions of agricultural sciences with universities in the United States, with a focus on building the agricultural capacities of universities in developing nations.

4.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Appropriate congressional committees

The term appropriate congressional committees means—

(A)

the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;

(B)

the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate;

(C)

the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate;

(D)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives;

(E)

the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives; and

(F)

the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(2)

Feed the future innovation labs

The term Feed the Future Innovation Labs means research partnerships led by United States universities that advance solutions to reduce global hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.

(3)

Feed the future strategy

The term Feed the Future Strategy means the strategy developed and implemented pursuant to section 5(a).

(4)

Food and nutrition security

The term food and nutrition security means access to, and availability, utilization, and stability of, sufficient food to meet caloric and nutritional needs for an active and healthy life.

(5)

Malnutrition

The term malnutrition means poor nutritional status caused by nutritional deficiency or excess.

(6)

Resilience

The term resilience means the ability of people, households, communities, countries, and systems to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth.

(7)

Small-scale producer

The term small-scale producer means farmers, pastoralists, and fishers that have a low asset base and limited resources, including land, capital, skills and labor, and, in the case of farmers, typically farm on fewer than 5 hectares of land.

(8)

Stunting

The term stunting refers to a condition that—

(A)

is measured by a height-to-age ratio that is more than 2 standard deviations below the median for the population;

(B)

manifests in children who are younger than 2 years of age;

(C)

is a process that can continue in children after they reach 2 years of age, resulting in an individual being stunted;

(D)

is a sign of chronic malnutrition; and

(E)

can lead to long-term poor health, delayed motor development, impaired cognitive function, and decreased immunity.

(9)

Sustainable

The term sustainable means the ability of a target country, community, implementing partner, or intended beneficiary to maintain the programs authorized and the outcomes achieved pursuant to this Act over time.

(10)

Target country

The term target country means a developing country that is selected to participate in agriculture and nutrition security programs under the Feed the Future Strategy.

5.

Comprehensive food security strategy

(a)

Feed the future strategy

(1)

In general

The President, or a designee of the President, shall coordinate the development and implementation of a United States whole-of-government strategy to accomplish the policy objectives set forth in section 3(a), which shall—

(A)

support and be aligned with country-owned agriculture, nutrition, and food security policy and investment plans developed with input from relevant governmental and nongovernmental sectors within target countries and regional bodies, including—

(i)

representatives of the private sector;

(ii)

agricultural producers, including women and small-scale producers;

(iii)

international and local civil society organizations;

(iv)

faith-based organizations; and

(v)

research and academic institutions;

(B)

support inclusive, sustainable agricultural value chain development, with small-scale producers, especially women, gaining greater access to the inputs, skills, networking, resource management capacity, bargaining power, financing, and market linkages needed to sustain their long-term economic prosperity;

(C)

support the improvement of the nutritional status of women and children, especially during the critical 1,000-day window starting at the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy and ending 2 years after her child’s birth, with a focus on reducing child stunting;

(D)

urge target countries and communities to respect and promote the land tenure rights of local communities, particularly those of women and small-scale producers;

(E)

support the long-term success of programs by building the capacity of local organizations and institutions;

(F)

integrate resilience and nutrition strategies into food security programs, such that chronically vulnerable populations are better able to build safety nets, secure livelihoods, access markets, manage resources, and access opportunities for longer-term economic growth;

(G)

develop community and producer resilience to natural disasters, emergencies, and natural occurrences that adversely impact productivity and livelihoods;

(H)

harness science, technology, and innovation, including the research conducted at Feed the Future Innovation Labs, or any successor entities, throughout the United States;

(I)

leverage resources and expertise through partnerships with the private sector, farm organizations, cooperatives, civil society, research entities, and academic institutions;

(J)

support collaboration between United States universities and public and private institutions in developing countries to promote agricultural development and innovation;

(K)

set clear and transparent selection criteria for target countries, regions, and intended beneficiaries of assistance provided under this Act;

(L)

set specific and measurable goals, benchmarks, timetables, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans that reflect international best practices relating to transparency, accountability, food and nutrition security, and agriculture-led economic growth, consistent with the policy objectives described in the Feed the Future Strategy; and

(M)

include criteria and methodology for graduating countries from United States assistance provided under this Act once the countries have achieved certain benchmarks.

(2)

Governing law

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in carrying out the purposes of this Act, assistance may be provided to the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development pursuant to sections 103 and 103A, title XII of chapter 2 of part I, and chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151a, 2151a–1, 2220a et seq., and 2346 et seq.).

(b)

Feed the future coordination

The President, or a designee of the President, shall coordinate, through a whole-of-government approach, the efforts of relevant Federal departments and agencies in implementing the Feed the Future Strategy by—

(1)

establishing policy coherence, monitoring and evaluation systems, and coordination across all relevant Federal departments and agencies;

(2)

aligning linkages with other initiatives and strategies of the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of State, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Peace Corps, the United States Trade Representative, the United States Africa Development Foundation, the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Treasury, and the United States Geological Survey;

(3)

establishing platforms for regular consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders, including—

(A)

national and local governments;

(B)

multilateral institutions;

(C)

private voluntary organizations;

(D)

cooperatives;

(E)

the private sector;

(F)

local nongovernmental and civil society organizations;

(G)

faith-based organizations;

(H)

research and academic institutions;

(I)

congressional committees; and

(J)

other stakeholders, as appropriate;

(4)

leveraging the expertise of the Department of Agriculture in agricultural development, nutrition, trade, research, and education; and

(5)

establishing and leading regular public consultations in target countries.

6.

Reporting

(a)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and not later than December 31 of each year thereafter through 2020, the President, or a designee of the President, shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees that describes the status of the implementation of the Feed the Future Strategy.

(b)

Content

The report required under subsection (a) shall—

(1)

contain an appendix of the Feed the Future Strategy;

(2)

identify any substantial changes made in the Feed the Future Strategy during the preceding calendar year;

(3)

identify the indicators that will be used to measure results, set benchmarks for progress over time, and establish mechanisms for reporting results in an open and transparent manner;

(4)

describe the progress made in implementing the Feed the Future Strategy;

(5)

assess the progress and results of implementing international food and nutrition security programming on the policy objectives set forth in section 3(a);

(6)

indicate how findings from monitoring and evaluation were incorporated into program design and budget decisions;

(7)

contain a transparent, open, and detailed accounting of spending under this Act by all relevant Federal agencies, including a disaggregated accounting of assistance provided through different procurement mechanisms;

(8)

identify any United States legal or regulatory impediments that could obstruct the effective implementation of the programming referred to in paragraph (5);

(9)

describe how the Feed the Future Strategy relates to other United States food security and development assistance programs on the continuum from emergency food aid through sustainable, agriculture-led economic growth;

(10)

contain a clear gender analysis of programming that includes established disaggregated gender indicators to better analyze outcomes for food productivity, income growth, control of assets, equity in access to inputs, jobs and markets, and nutrition;

(11)

describe the methodology and criteria for the selection of target countries;

(12)

describe related strategies and benchmarks for graduating target countries and communities from assistance provided under the Feed the Future Strategy over time, including by building resilience, reducing risk, and enhancing the sustainability of outcomes from United States investments in agriculture and nutrition security;

(13)

assess efforts to coordinate United States international food security and nutrition programs, activities, and initiatives with—

(A)

other bilateral donors;

(B)

international and multilateral organizations;

(C)

international financial institutions;

(D)

target country governments;

(E)

international and local private voluntary, nongovernmental, and civil society organizations;

(F)

research and academic institutions; and

(G)

other stakeholders;

(14)

assess the status of institutional capacity building efforts, including higher education;

(15)

assess United States Government-facilitated private investment in related sectors in target countries and communities;

(16)

assess the impact of private sector investment on—

(A)

the economic opportunities available to small-scale producers, especially women;

(B)

improving international food and nutrition security;

(C)

local land tenure issues; and

(D)

enhancing inclusive, sustainable agricultural development;

(17)

be prepared in consultation with relevant United States Government agencies; and

(18)

incorporate a plan for regularly reviewing and updating strategies, partnerships, and programs and sharing lessons learned with a wide range of stakeholders in an open and transparent manner.

(c)

Public availability of information

The information referred to in subsection (b) shall be made publicly accessible in an electronic format and in a timely manner.

(d)

Government Accountability Office report

During the 1-year period ending on December 31, 2019, the Comptroller General of the United States shall publish a report that—

(1)

summarizes the progress of the strategy described in section 5(a);

(2)

assesses the whole-of-government coordination described in section 5(b);

(3)

assesses the mechanisms through which United States assistance authorized under this Act is provided, including a list of the major recipients of United States contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements;

(4)

includes a review of evaluations conducted on assistance provided under this Act; and

(5)

assesses the budget decisionmaking process, including the role of monitoring and evaluation in program design.

7.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to carry out this Act, for each of the fiscal years 2015 through 2020, an amount equal to the amount of funds made available for food security and agricultural development programs for fiscal year 2014 under section 7060(d) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014 (division K of Public Law 113–76; 128 Stat. 554).