Uniting on Food Assistance

Promoting Evidence-Based Transatlantic Dialogue and Convergence

April 2010 – June 2011

Project context

Food aid volumes have been falling over the past 20 years as donor countries increasingly find more flexible and efficient means of responding to food insecurity in low-income countries. Over the same period, demand for food assistance in response to natural and manmade disasters has grown substantially. Changing policies and practices, and greater scarcity of food aid resources, have opened important gaps among donors, which impedes progress on key multilateral agreements like the Food Aid Convention. Enhanced cooperation on food aid between two of the major humanitarian donors, the US and the EU, is therefore both timely and important.

Uniting on Food Assistance was a research and dialogue project conducted jointly by the Global Public Policy Institute and Cornell University's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Project objectives and implementation

Our objective was to assemble and communicate empirical evidence to inform dialogue and support convergence among key policymakers and practitioners.

The project had two components:

Applied research with three empirical case studies focusing on:

  • Transatlantic approaches to food assistance coordination
  • Challenges and opportunities of new forms of food assistance
  • Food assistance quality and safety

Transatlantic dialogue which brought together key policymakers and relevant experts in two high-level conferences

Research and dialogue were closely integrated and implemented in parallel in order to inject interim research results into the dialogue sessions. This fostered substantive debate while at the same time also leveraging the expertise and experience of dialogue participants towards the research process.

The recommendations were then disseminated between May-June 2011, in order to share results with the larger public and enhance buy-in from policymakers. The recommendations were presented to the European Commission in 2011 to inform its position regarding food aid and food assistance at the April 2012 EU-US Summit.

For more information, you can download the project summary or contact Alexander Gaus