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It was great to attend the Parliamentary Launch of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign at Speaker’s House a couple of weeks ago on 23 January. We saw a real cross-party commitment to tackle issues around hunger, with a video message from the Prime Minister David Cameron joining high profile political speakers such as the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Developing Secretary Justine Greening, Opposition Leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander. The messages conveyed by all political speakers highlighted that food and hunger are vital issues to tackle and international development is not just about aid, but also about tackling the structures that makes hunger so endemic. They also spoke of the importance of hunger and extreme poverty to our national security, to new markets, and trade in drugs and weapons: desperate people can take desperate measures.

The launch in Parliament was not just focused on the Reception. We also held a Policy Fair in Parliament for people to learn more about the policy areas and a Faith Breakfast to discuss the campaign, both of which were well attended. MPs and Peers secured a debate in the House of Lords, a Westminster Hall debate and two PMQs that happened on the day of the launch.

What is the IF campaign? Nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and two million children die from malnutrition every year. In today’s day in age, this is not a statistic that we can let continue. That is why we, as the IF campaign, believe that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone IF we tackle four key policy areas. So there is enough food for everyone:

* IF we meet our aid commitments to stop children dying from hunger and help the poorest families to feed themselves.
* IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land and grow crops to feed people, not fuel cars.
* IF governments and big companies are honest and open about their actions that stop people getting enough food.
* IF governments stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries.

The IF campaign is a coalition of over 100 UK-based organisations. We have huge ambitions to reach 20 million people across the UK with our message, and to inspire 5 million of them to get involved. Why now? 2013 is a big year for international development in the UK. In 2013, the UK is set to reach the 30 year promise of spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid. The Prime Minister currently sits on the UN High Level Panel looking to set the framework for the next set of development goals. In addition, for the first time since 2005 in Gleneagles, the UK holds the G8 Presidency, with the summit taking place at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister has already announced that he will hold a Food and Hunger Summit in London a few days before the G8 Summit, which will follow up from his Olympic Hunger Event last summer.

Now that the launch is over, we are focusing on the Budget Statement for 2013, which will be announced by Chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday 20 March 2013. The Budget will be the occasion when we can congratulate the UK for reaching the 0.7 aid spending commitment, showing that we stand by our promises and care about the fate of the most valuable on our planet. Spending 0.7% of GNI was in all three major political parties’ election manifestos and the Budget is a great moment for people across the political divide to celebrate it. But we are also pushing the Government to act on the issue of tax dodging in developing countries, which is causing countries to lose out on vast amount of revenues that they are due and that are key for their long-term development. We are asking for UK companies to share information about their tax affairs in developing countries to ensure greater transparency and help poor countries to mobilise their own revenue. We need to see much of these funds invested in agriculture and food security.

IF we mobilise together, we can make sure that 2013 is the year that we tackle food and hunger. Sign up today and join over 45,000 people in supporting the IF campaign.

Phil Bloomer is the Director of the Campaigns and Policy Division for Oxfam GB.

Follow Phil on Twitter: @pbloomer


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