New aid budget: no numbers, but new ideas
DateSeptember 21, 2023
The government notes that global hunger continues to increase for the eighth consecutive year, with 345 million people suffer from starvation worldwide. Additionally, 2.4 billion people live in food insecurity, equivalent to 30 percent of the world’s population. The problem is larger than can be solved with emergency rations and food packages. Global food systems must be strengthened and developed to produce more food for more people.
In the budget proposal, the government writes that efforts in aid that “integrate livelihoods, climate adaptation, and food security are becoming increasingly important in the global transition to green economies.” We Effect has advocated for this approach with this government and previous governments. We are pleased that they now recognize the full complexity of the issue and are willing to engage in creating sustainable, long-term solutions for increased food security.
– It is actually unique to make these connections between food security, climate adaptation, and livelihoods. It is precisely the integrated approach that is required and that we have been calling for for a long time. I hope the government meets this challenge with the commitment and resources required, says Anna Tibblin, Secretary General of We Effect.
The global food system we have today cannot produce enough food, and it is the world’s developing countries that are hardest hit. We Effect works in 20 countries to strengthen the position of farmers and their ability to grow more food to feed more people. By providing farmers with new knowledge and organizing them to access resources and improve their market access, We Effect helps farmers gradually transform food systems to contribute to food security in some of the world’s poorest regions.
The goal of all development aid should be to phase out its own operations. It should contribute to independent, free societies capable of taking care of their own populations. This means societies where there is food for everyone, jobs to go to, money to pay bills, and democratic structures to participate in. For us, it is clear: Without a functioning, inclusive economy, no society can free itself from the need for external support. Therefore, we look forward to the government’s reform agenda, which aims to increase synergies between business and development actors, focus more on economic development, and seek new ways to promote growth in developing countries.
We Effect has worked with Swedish companies to promote economic development for 65 years, and we know from experience that it is an incredibly complex journey to complete. There are many pitfalls. Therefore, it is crucial that the government relies on the experience and knowledge available.
– For We Effect, this is nothing new; it has been our core business since we started. We rely on Sweden’s cooperative businesses to contribute to cooperative economic development in 20 countries. We know it works, but it must be done through long-term investments with strong local roots. We hope the government takes this seriously when shaping the reform agenda, and we are available to share our experiences, says Lotta Folkesson, Chairman of the Board for We Effect.
In addition to the government’s focus on food security and trade, it is heartening to see that they prioritize democracy, human rights, and gender equality. And in uncertain times, it is particularly welcome to read in the budget proposal that the government remains committed to the overarching goal of aid – to create conditions for better living standards for people living in poverty and oppression.