Washington, DC — Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson, who previously served as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, today released the following statement regarding House passage of the Global Food Security Act of 2016, which was previously approved in the Senate. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced the bipartisan measure in the Senate and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the measure in the House. The bill now moves to the White House for President Obama’s signature.
“APLU thanks Senators Casey and Isakson and Representatives Smith and McCollum for their leadership in crafting and shepherding a bipartisan bill to address global food security with a comprehensive strategy. We very much appreciate their efforts to solicit input from APLU and others in the university community as they drafted the legislation. The Global Food Security Act is vitally important, which is why APLU has worked diligently to advocate for its passage. U.S. public universities represent the greatest concentration of intellectual capacity in the world, and this bill will help ensure institutions of higher education play their part in tackling world hunger, poverty and malnutrition.
“Thanks in part to trailblazing research undertaken at U.S. public universities, the world has achieved a remarkable reduction in hunger since 1990 — halving the share of the globe’s population facing chronic hunger. Feed the Future Innovation Labs have played an important role in unlocking genetic insights that boost crop yields and the availability of micronutrient-rich foods in an environmentally sustainable manner. This bill will build on the progress by bolstering the national commitment to international agricultural research, including the Feed the Future Innovation Labs.
“The bill recognizes the critical importance of strong higher education institutions in developing countries to educate the next generation of leaders in the public and private sectors. By intensively cultivating human capital, developing countries can leapfrog stages of development and realize a more prosperous and harmonious future. Yet such countries too often lack the resources or experience necessary to achieve that progress. This bill wisely includes provisions that help U.S. universities to partner with universities abroad in capacity-building efforts.
“Even with this crucial progress, however, much of the global food security puzzle remains unsolved. The world is projected to add 2.5 billion people by the middle of this century. Rising to the challenge of feeding a growing population will require U.S. leadership and investment. That’s why APLU has created a commission to coordinate activities among public research universities and the federal government as they work to meet global food security-related priorities. The commission will identify the resources and reforms public universities will need to help sustainably feed the world. The Challenge of Change commission will report its findings to the next administration in order to help the federal government better support such efforts.
“Passage of the Global Food Security Act is a significant achievement and momentous event. We look forward to President Obama’s swift action to sign this bill into law.”