On Wednesday 30 January, the Rt Rev Dr Brian Castle, the Bishop of Tonbridge, helped launch ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’, a national multi-agency campaign calling for an end to global hunger. He was joined outside Rochester Cathedral by the Very Rev Dr Mark Beach, Dean of Rochester Cathedral, Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, Emma Kevan, Regional Coordinator for Christian Aid and by local supporters representing some of the 100 charities and agencies taking part.
‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ is the largest coalition of its kind in the UK since Make Poverty History in 2005. The coalition warns that despite there being enough food in the world for everyone, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night, and two million children die from malnutrition every year.
The campaign calls on Prime Minister David Cameron to use the UK’s G8 presidency in 2013 to take action on the root causes of the hunger crisis in the poorest countries.
The ‘IF’ movement challenges the Prime Minister to tackle 4 big IFs to ensure there is enough food for everyone:
- IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.
- IF governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.
- IF governments close loopholes to stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
- IF we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.
Speaking at the regional launch in Rochester, the Rt Revd Dr Brian Castle, Bishop of Tonbridge, said:
“For some years I was a parish priest working in Zambia, and one of the saddest things I had to do was to bury young people, who simply died of hunger. But before it gets to that extreme, hunger brings tiredness and lethargy which means people can’t concentrate, can’t take advantage of education, and find it difficult to work. When we think about the significance of hunger – if we’re able to combat it, not only are we saving lives, but we’re raising potential.”
Bishop Brian urged those gathered to spread the word, saying:
“I’m totally supportive of this campaign – let’s share the message that ending hunger is within our reach.”
Mark Reckless, Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood, helped unveil the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ banner at Rochester Cathedral, and pledged his support for the aims of the campaign. He said:
“The idea of having a law [to spend 0.7 per cent on aid] is something I rather like the idea of, because a problem with government spending is that there is not enough parliamentary control. For that reason, I would support bringing policy in this area into law.”
“On the point of transparency and tax, if it’s known what multinationals pay in various jurisdictions, then you can put public pressure on them to pay their fair share.”
Emma Kevan, Christian Aid’s Regional Coordinator for Kent said:
“If we can get greater international tax transparency, it will make it harder for money to be hidden in tax havens. This will mean that all governments will have more money to boost farming and nutrition which will allow people to help themselves. We really need to raise our voices through this campaign and improve things for everybody.”
More information about the campaign and other events taking place can be found by visiting the website: http://enoughfoodif.org