International Development and Food Security Under Obama

Today Dr. Rajiv Shah (pictured) was sworn in as the chief of USAID.  The organization provides international development aid.

Image from the Department of State Blog

The Brookings Institute released a commentary on President Obama’s role in leading global development today.  The piece describes how development abroad is a cornerstone of Obama’s foreign policy, enacted by organizations like USAID.  The article points out that the administration has been limited in its first year to dealing primarily with the economy and health care, and to some extent, the environment.  They highlight some achievements of the past year:

“President Obama secured the prominence of the G-20, ensuring a greater voice for rising economies; launched a global food security initiative backed by significant new U.S. commitments to agricultural development; bolstered emerging markets through increased, crisis-induced IMF funding; dedicated the government to broadening global health assistance efforts; and demonstrated leadership by mobilizing a substantive (if amorphous) annual assistance commitment to address developing countries’ climate change needs.”

These issues overlap with each other, and their development abroad closely impacts daily life in the US.  Data from 2008 provided by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) shows the percentage of food the US imports.  Climate regulations, economic development, and conflicts all impact what is produced abroad, and what is grown and eaten domestically.  Connecting the domestic and global food system could highlight the need for international investment and cooperation.

Carl Kunda, VERTICES intern


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