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tv   Hearing on Global Food Security Amid COVID-19 Pandemic  CSPAN  June 7, 2022 2:53am-5:02am EDT

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the assistant administrator for global health and a former cdc director testified about the impact of covid-19 on food insecurity. other witnesses include experts from the world health organization. the senate appropriations subcommittee hosts this to our hearing. -- two hour hearing. >> i would like to call this hearing to order. the purpose of today's hearing is to hear testimony from six witnesses concerning two of the most urgent crises. the ongoing destruction of cities and their daily
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atrocities committed by russian forces against defenseless ukrainian civilians. we should be concerned about the widening food security crisis that this brutal war by russia is causing for hundreds of millions far beyond eastern europe. before the war began, more than 50 countries were facing acute food shortages due to drought and conflict. today their circumstances are worse. the collapse of exports from ukraine, combined with inflation and higher costs, have caused commodity prices to skyrocket. the total number of people hungry has increased 273 million.
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millions are at risk of starvation. this crisis is compounded by a second ongoing global crisis, the coping 19 pandemic. triggering complex humanitarian emergencies that threaten stability. while the number of americans hospitalized and dying from covid has declined, it is again rising sharply in a number of our states. this pandemic is far from over. covid-19 originated halfway around the world and we are no less vulnerable to this pandemic today. two thirds of americans are fully vaccinated, but worldwide billions are not. they are concentrated mostly in countries where the virus continues to spread.
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global campaigns against hiv-aids, polio and other diseases have stalled or lost ground. there is a risk to our nation and to the world that new covid variants will emerge. it might force another letdown -- lock down. if we can increase global vaccine coverage we can't dramatically reduce the spread of the virus, protect and including americans. as we consider the president's request for emergency humanitarian aid for ukraine, our challenge is determining how the united states can best respond to these global challenges. the presence request included
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$1.8 billion for food aid. senator graham and i have both call for at least $5 billion. i am optimistic that amount will be in the final supplemental. the president request for 5 billion for global covid response has not yet been acted on by this congress. as the subcommittee responsible for providing the funding, we are looking to our witnesses to help us understand what the covid virus is doing, what we should be most concerned about and the recommendations we can make to our colleagues in the senate. any successful response to the coping 19 pandemic requires the u.s. response.
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we have an opportunity to demonstrate the united states as a reliable global health partner. before introducing the first panel, i will turn to my ranking member. i wanted to express my gratitude to senator graham, who has been a strong partner to request additional funding. >> thank you. i appreciate it very much. one of our witnesses as the former governor of south carolina and the leader of the world food program our second witness here. if you believe in a strong national security to keep america safe, then you have to be involved in world hunger. you will hear from david pretty
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soon, the number of people and desperate straits that will lead to mass migration, there are so many conflicts on the globe it is hard to keep up with them. and you have covid on top of that. the amount of money that will be in the supplementals is about $5 billion. to the american people, what does it matter? if somebody is starving, they will not just sit around and start. they are vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. there are a lot of ideological driven terrorists. a lot of people wound up in prison because they cannot feed their family and $500 sounded pretty good. and that is why they planted the ied.
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the downside to famine and hunger is so enormous that the amount of money we are spending i think is inadequate, but we should not be the only group spending the money. the european union needs to do more. the american taxpayer, i think it is in our interest to deal with this hunger problem from a moral point of view and a national security perspective. i would like the committee to think about creating a global front for food security to get a new line of revenue from the private sector. have a multinational approach to food security and get more involvement with the private sector. elon musk has gotten a lot of
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attention lately. she was asked to give a billion dollars to the world food program. a billion dollars that can be leveraged to get more money from other people goes a long way to providing the gap in funding that exists today. david has lots of plans to teach people to farm and to bring new farming practices so that people can feed themselves. the world food program is a result of people not having food available. the goal is to get them through the crisis and create a backyard that has food. if you do not understand after 9/11 how important dealing with hunger and poverty and abuse of women is in this war, you have
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missed a lot. thank you. >> thank you, senator graham. our first panel of witnesses will focus on food security. we are fortunate to have three witnesses whose experience is unmatched. first, we have the honorable david beasley. we welcome each of you. i ask you to make opening remarks of up to six minutes. your full remarks will be
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included in the record. dr. beasley, if you would please lead off. >> thank you very much. it is an honor to be here. i know democrats and republicans to fight on a lot of things, but when it comes to food security, it is remarkable to see everybody come together, recognizing the catastrophe we are facing. as senator graham said, if you do not have food security you will not have any other kind of security. i have heard this many times over, particularly where extremist groups are, people would say my husband or son did not want to join isis, but we needed to feed our kids, what were we supposed to do? i tell friends around the world, why should i send money when we have issues at home?
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it will cost you 1000 times more if you do not address the root cause. when we are not there and if your not going to do it out of the goodness of your heart, you better do it for national security interest. when you see 125 million people, five times the number of people are already talking about migrating from central america to the united states. the washington post did an article that said on the children that end up at the border at the shelters, it was something like over $3000 per child per week. for one or two dollars per week you can stabilize the environment in central america. the map is simple. germany just did a study from
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the syrian crisis. they had one million refugees. we could feed a syrian for $.50. that same syrian in berlin, $50 per day. we surveyed syrians and they did not want to leave home. but when they did not have food security, they would move on average three or four times inside the country before they moved. when i arrived at this job five years ago, there were 80 million people marching toward starvation. there were 650 million that were chronically hungry. that number is now up to 810.
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those who are acutely food insecure, i thought we could eliminate that. i was hoping to put up world food program out of business. we had man made conflict, one after the upper. and climate shocks. covid comes along, that number went up. people marching toward starvation. this is before ukraine now. out of that 276 million, you have 48 million of them that are knocking on famine's door in 43 countries. i can tell you which 43 countries are vulnerable to
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famine, destabilization and mass migration by necessity. we have an answer to that and that is food. if we get the resources we need, but were able to avert famine because the united states government responded along with countries like germany that stepped up and others, but we have many other countries that need to step up. especially with oil prices, the gulf states need to step up. at least if they would pick up the price tag for humanitarian funds of need in their own neighborhood. just when you think it cannot get any worse, ethiopia, then afghanistan, then ukraine. why is ukraine troubling? because it is the breadbasket of the world. the grown-ups think to feed 400 million people. that is gone.
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26 nations along depend on 50% or more of their brain from that region. best -- the silos are full. russian forces are blocking ports. the farmers need to harvest again in july and august. where are they? on the front lines. even if they do get to harvest, where is it going to go? the ports are not open. the global verbal effect will be famines -- the global rep. cole: affect around the world will be crippling. we have to get those ports open. we have to get the resources we are talking about out into the field quickly.
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if we get the resources thank you are now talking about appropriating, it will go a long way in stabilizing nations around the world. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. beasley. >> thank you you and good afternoon. i want to express my gratitude for convening this hearing on the rising global food insecurity. a problem that was already achieved, but that has already deepened dramatically in recent months. i am the ceo of mercy corps. we operate in countries facing conflict and hunger, supporting more than 37 million people. i previously stood up and ran thank you us governments feed
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the future initiative. i know how critical it is to respond to immediate hundred crises while strengthening food systems. a perfect storm is leading to heightened global food insecurity, much worse than the previous food crises of the past decade. food and fuel price hikes are the latest shocks undercutting the ability of the most vulnerable to feed themselves. the economic pummeling of the economic -- of the covid-19 pandemic pushed those least able to cope toward the abyss of hunger before the shock waves caused by ukraine. i testified last year that covid-19 was burdening people's
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ability to feed themselves through the loss of income and supply chain disruptions. covid-19 was not only a health crisis, it was a food and socioeconomic crisis as well. the drought unfolding in the horn of africa is a prime example of the devastation wrought by a second hunger driver, climate change. the region is experiencing its third drought in just a decade. the current one is the most devastating in that generation, with over 50 million people experiencing extreme hunger. a 7% increase in comparison to other droughts. 81,000 people are already in
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famine like conditions. additional projections indicate the lives of 350 thousand children are at risk. the challenges of covid-19 and climate shocks are being compounded by conflict. while the war in ukraine is responsible for food, fuel and fertilizer price hikes, it is not the only conflict. conflicts in other countries have decimated systems, destroyed livelihoods and led to widespread hunger. as my colleague said, several of the most special countries relying on ukrainian imports find themselves in serious trouble. the prices across africa and the middle east are rising sharply. i recently traveled to lebanon just after visiting poland to visit the ukrainian border. i saw that the price of some basic food items were increased
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already within three weeks of the conflict. in somalia, food has increased by over 100%. lebanon faces the fallout from the grain shortages and higher commodities. it continues to host a syrian refugee population. there is increasing risk the higher fuel and food prices can drive social unrest and protest. the global price of wheat has never been higher. while this perfect storm may appear unique, it is a window into the types of multifactor challenges we face if conflict goes unchecked, climate impacts
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increase. in order to tackle this current crisis, mercy corps urges congress to increase humanitarian and food security funding this year. organizations on the front lines estimate an additional $5 billion will be needed. i know that you all agree so i believe that. mercy corps also recommends the u.s. government doubled down on efforts to mitigate future food insecurity. first, we recommend the government urgently make humanitarian aid smarter by prioritizing the use of voucher programs. second, we recommend scaling resilient food systems. and lastly come out we recommend tackling the root causes of hunger by increasing investments in peace building, conflict
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prevention. and finally, layering both humanitarian and development interventions for better outcomes. we must help communities to first and future shops. the u.s. government's exercise leadership. we encourage an equally bold to address the drivers of the current crisis. otherwise i feel food insecurity will continue to grow and we will have to hold hearings like this every five or 10 years. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much.
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senator lindsey graham, it was great to see you. i hope i will have the opportunity to welcome several of you. i very much appreciate the opportunity to testify about the u.s. response for global food security crisis.
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with an active portfolio, the african development bank is africa's only financial institution. today, i would like to focus on feeding africa. africa has 33 million farms. they are for food production with millions of more africans
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whose work and life are linked to the agriculture sector. with american financing heather shareholder members of the bank, the african development banks grew actions to africa achieving impressive results. through our technology through african -- we have reached 11 million in 28 countries in little over two years. the program is delivering fertilizers and support, allowing farmers to have higher wheat, corn and rice. african food production, as a result of the efforts, has been increased by 4 million metric tons.
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the economic shorts from the war in ukraine are paying more to put food on the table. trade disruptions caused by the russia and ukraine conflicts are hitting africa harder than other developing regions of the world, threatening to topple the continent food systems already threatened by the covid-19 pandemic. africa must prepare for the inevitable global food crisis. ukraine exports 40% of its wheat to africa. 15 african countries import more than half of their wheat and as much of their 40 lies are from ukraine and russia. as the russia-ukraine conflict arises, africa is also dealing with a 30 million metric ton lost a week that won't be coming
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from russia or ukraine. the cost is now on the reach of africans. the russia-ukraine conflict is a huge factor in fertilizing crisis of 300%. our analysis is that africa faces a fertilizing shortage of 2 million metric tons we estimate it will cost $2 billion our current prices to cover the gap. if we don't mitigate this shortage rapidly, food production will decline by at least 20% and in many places, by more than 50%. we will see africa lose more than $11 billion with the value of food production according to our analysis.
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without immediate global action, we have a social and political -- as we have seen too often. the african development bank, with your support, is prepared to meet this challenge and others had on. let me share what we expect from the looming food crisis. we have developed a food production plan. a $1.5 billion plan will be used to support african countries to produce food rapidly. to produce 38 million metric tons of food. the total value of the additional food production is 12 billion u.s. dollars. the africa food production plan will deliver climate resilience
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to 20 million. a majority of those will be made final. the $1.5 billion plan intended to source $1.3 billion of our food resources. with u.s. government support to reuse its $200 million financing gap, we can ensure that africa's food production plans success. distinguished members of the subcommittee, we are here for african solutions for africans medium and long-term challenges. a strong support of the u.s. for our africa food production plan will allow africa to -- the food crisis and use the opportunity to drive changes in agriculture to unleash the food potential of africa to become a breadbasket
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to the world. thank you very much for the invitation. >> thank you. my colleague had a quick, he wanted to make before. >> we had a huge bipartisan vote last night in the house, i'm hoping we can pass this this weekend there be $5 billion roughly in the package to help the problems identified by our witnesses and governor beasley's advocacy has been huge, but i want to recognize senator blunt, he has made this a top issue for the conference for the last three or four weeks. he laid the groundwork better than anyone, quite frankly, about why we need to think about paying now or pay later. i just want to let people know that we would not be here without you and i appreciate your leadership. as based -- >> as a senior
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senior appropriate or hello for to this in figuring out a path forward on covid internationally and domestically and want to thank you for your leadership. we've only got six minutes so i will try to touch on a few main issues. it seems clear this is one of the worst food crisis in the world in decades. certainly in the lifetime of any of us. i would be interested in how you think we can maximize the effectiveness of our response. he made reference to investing in small farmers, to bringing to market climate resiliency, to unblocking access to the capabilities of ukraine. if each of you would simply talk to -- given that we may well have a $5 billion additional
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contribution from the u.s. if and when we pass this ukraine supplemental, how do we make it as effective as possible? >> senator, thank you. first thing is to get the money out the door as fast as we can because we have a crisis. we are cutting millions upon millions of beneficiaries down to 50%. in this a hill region, chad, those are areas you will have mass migration and it will be a catastrophic consequence. we need to move fast and make sure that usaid is encouraged to move the resources out as quickly as possible. we've got means to mechanisms to do that. we are facing a short-term crisis and phenomenon that we need to talk about the long-term resilience and sustainability because we have solutions. but right now the house is burning down and we need to make certain we put the fire out
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because they entire world is on fire. just our operational cost increases 71 million dollar more because of food price increases, fuel price increases in shipping costs. what we are facing now is a food pricing problem which create access issues for those who can't afford it. but next year, because of the fertilizer and the droughts, we could have a food availability problem next year. we have a lot of work to do and we have to move fast. that's critical to stabilize the countries that are concerned in that risk. >> long-term, what shall we be doing? what else should we do? >> it would be a grave mistake if usa were to air and put most of the money in the current food . although, obviously we need the current commodities. based on research that we've
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done in the horn of africa, we have seen investments are estimated to save 4.3 billion dollars over a 15 year timeframe. that averages to 287 million per year. and what is that look like? that looks like the long-term layering of longer-term assistance and mechanism of doing the humanitarian assistance. humanitarian assistance helps to build and support local markets and supports entrepreneurs to keep people in place. programs that support youth to prevent them from being recruited is a conflict. things that promote government and their own fiscal stability to provide safety nets so that doesn't further impair social cohesion. we would love to see more of the long-term comprehensive focus on building systems, more coordination, more support to
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conflict prevention actors and social cohesion and fighting of misinformation. we had food, climate and they all go together. it's a circle. really making sure that the usa is thinking about this comprehensively. and with the conflict of countries. >> thank senator. i thing as senator graham said, if people can't produce food, there is nothing at all. first thing to do is to make sure people can produce food that they're are going to grow. so i think the first thing for building resistance his farmers produce the food and have such
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effects that happen so often. head also is forecast a lot and make sure we can leverage resources for wet ranking members have set about $5 billion but that can be leveraged a lot in multilateral financial institutes can do the leverage that leverage them significantly. i think that whatever we do to ensure effectiveness, the private sector is critical. the government will have to play a role in terms of support, but whatever role is provided does not undermine the private sector but rather promote this in the private sector in international markets and logistics and getting food out to markets. i think we also have to make sure that targeting is done in such a way that the support for fertilizers get most of those that are actually women of
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farmers. so targeting that is very important and they play a role in that. and finally, at the end of the day, as you all said in the beginning ranking members, the issue of fragility. my other colleagues have already said it in the horn of africa where we are having what i call a disaster that has to do with very high structural property, high levels of unemployment and environmental degradation that makes it vulnerable so that i think we should tie the support to make sure we have the areas. >> i agree we need to move swiftly, flexibly, however partners between private sector and multi-lateral development banks, nonprofit and the largest agencies and entities like usaid. i look forward to mooring --
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hearing more of your testimony. >> governor beasley, could you -- the demand for your product as gone through the roof, is that correct? >> yes, sir, in fact we are 50% of the resources we need. because of all the crisis we are talking about from conflict to climate to covid and now ukraine, we are about $10 billion short of what we need. >> we are appropriators, so i'm not much of a farmer, i want to help people help themselves. that's the point of this hearing. the 5 billion helps, but is not enough by itself? >> that's correct. >> what i want to know is, what did the gcc nations give to cause this? >> this year has not been much compared to what the united states. >> so every time you go to the gas pump, they are getting rich,
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they are our allies and problem areas, so, i want this subcommittee not only to fill in the gap that governor beasley has with american taxpayer dollars, i want us, as a group, to call on our allies and say, you need to help. in terms of europe, how do they do? >> germany has stepped up compared to where they were, 700 years ago they were 350 million and now they are 1.4 billion. >> what about the european union? it has stepped up but it can do more. to us is about 500 to $600 million. >> there's a saying for that amount of people in the united states. we will do these other groups and i will make an argument to the american taxpayer we need to spend this money and spend it now for the reasons you said. but i promise the american taxpayer we are going to rattle
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some cages. so to the president of our african bank, you have been very impressive in your presentation, has covid hurt the economy in africa? >> thank you, very much distinguished senator, the covid situation has cost africa quite a loss. economic growth rate has declined as a result of the lockdown. and we have roughly about 26 million people that fell for that into poverty as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. and while 30 million people actually lost their job, so it's beyond just the amount of people actually died from it. but in the recovery of africa, is compared to the price of the world, we project that it can't be five on one, but the real
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issue is how do we make sure that we don't have any divergence in the growth rate of the developed countries in the developing countries such as africa. the big issue there is the vaccines. as you know right now we have only 16% of africa's population is fully vaccinated, and if you look at the developed economies and countries in the world, if you look at the united states, you look at europe, the issue is access. a lot of work has been done in terms of local manufacturing of vaccines in africa. that ought to be promoted. but i do think we ought to prepare not only for this particular covid situation, but we build on what i call africa health care defense system that will be predicated on three areas, one is build a suitable
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interest -- industry, which is critical. our products and africa are not acceptable. we need to make sure we build local infection capacity. in the third and most critical is the issue of health infrastructure. primary health care as infrastructure. i know that when you came and we had a conversation, the whole issue was around infrastructure. in infrastructure we think is critical infrastructure for life. wakes one thing i learned on the trip is there was a single mother with four daughters and where the powerlines go, everything changes. as you build a road and power system you get power -- power that markets better. the drought resistant seeds were used by this young woman and her yields were 10 time what they were before because she was
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using technology. they move the cow out of the house into its own place and that improve the health care environment. they were able to get disposable income and did not have to walk five or six miles a day to get water, infrastructure is important to economic development, particularly on the food side. the global fund has been a good success where money has been matched, do you see a need for something like that in the food securities space? >> absolutely, multilateral action is key, and what is concerning is we have seen some countries take away a from places like yemen or syria in order to support responses in the ukraine. in the answer is more including private sector and other motivations. it's not lest they are around. >> can i add a quick, we have the two numbers on saudi arabia and uae. three years ago we received,
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from both those countries, 658 million primarily in yemen. this year we received 6 million from saudi arabia and zero from uae. >> that may change next week. >> thank you, sir. >> look forward to the persuasive effort. quick senator durbin. >> thinks, mr. terman and the witnesses -- mr. chairman and all the witnesses. i will last some questions that may be a little bit different. when we talk about food and feeding people, most of us think in terms of raw food and i like being more specific. in areas of famine, i have seen -- and this goes back a few years, i don't know if it's still the case -- the use of food supplements. it's a winner, isn't it? and also, rehydration therapies.
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when we talk about food a three or agencies, does it include these sorts of things? >> yes, sir. there's been a substantial improvement in noxious calories, but the right calories and nutritional added value products. that's one of the things we are really working together more strategically than we were years ago. >> only hear about the increasing costs of local food producers, i think of how we might help them directly, but i also think indirectly. are there microcredit programs that are part of your effort so that local farmers can borrow money to go through the tough times? >> we think it's a very critical part of success going forward. not nearly enough. one of the things congress has done is given us more flexibility with funding, so we now do $2 billion in cash transfers that puts liquidity
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and local economies that stimulate smallholder farmers, but we are also now buying internally, like for africa, to stimulate farming operations in that regard as well, as well as we bring in tremendous amount of quantity of commodities from the united states into the countries that are in great need. but the resilience programs are the long-term success. charity will never be the final solution. we have to create an incentive such that you have water harvesting and all the things you do to create resilience. many of these countries we are struggling because of the shock of ukraine, if we could go in with the right programs and scale them up, they will have the shocks like we are experiencing. that would save a lot of money. >> may ask, in addition to microcredit, which can be difficult for agro producers to make their frequent payments it requires. we also look at things like micro insurance or protect
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against crop failures, different micro savings products to help them plan better. a comprehensive financial tools are part of the services. >> sorry, matt asked? i just wanted to make a quick point about what you said about the importance of malnutrition. we should make sure the interventions that we do our nutritious food that's very important. at the end of the day you have nutrients that affects their capacity of the brain to function well. what i call infrastructure. one of the things that we would be supporting through this emergency food production plan is for food. so what i struggle is with iron or beans it is very important in
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nutrition is important. i wanted to say how important these interventions are. we have a program that is important in the area. the number of percentage of kids are 50% to 60% and we brought it down to 30% and a short amount of time. these focused production things targeted with high nutrient food still make the difference. and on the point of the microcredit, at the end of day, it comes back to what was said. we have to make sure the $5 billion he's used to leverage financial institutions. banks online to agriculture because of high risk. but when i thought of agriculture, i got the banks to lend to agriculture and put together 350 million dollars
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facility program. we leverage at $3.5 million from agriculture and nonperforming loans less than 1%. we think it is high. so we, as part of our intervention are looking into how to use risk mitigating factors and guarantees to leverage capital of the banks for companies in the agricultural value chain. this is very important. >> i want to us one last question related to covid-19. the death toll has reached the 60 million worldwide. the u.s. developed effective vaccines and we struggle to supply them to the rest of the world, now we have a greater challenge in poor countries that's providing vaccine. we have weak health
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infrastructure, vaccine hesitancy and basic health demands. remember my staff went to west africa and i asked them specifically to look at covid-19 vaccine supplies. there was a surplus of vaccines but not enough demand. there was a hesitancy involved in a lack of infrastructure to deliver, and that has to be part of our conversation so it isn't just for value of the vaccine it's taking with it the means of delivery. can anyone comment on that aspect? >> when most of the airline industry shut down at the height of covid the food program begin delivering covert supplies from ppa tested equipment, ventilators and 183 countries. someone said we were the world's largest operating airline. when the airline industry shut down, we had to do what we needed to do. when it came to vaccines, we were and are prepared to step up and deliver and take advantage
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of our logistics supply chain because we were really very good at it, but we have not been asked to do that much in the supply chain of vaccines. we have had a very low role in that. >> i would like to echo. ngo partners, we are your partners in these deep communities that are difficult to reach with deep, long-standing relationships and we reached out several times trying to get people to work without us to support that and that was not something taken up in a huge way. >> for africa, the issue with the vaccine hesitancy that you mention, i will not say that is his surplus of vaccines in africa. what happens is that it's not enough supply.
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we have what is supposed to be delivered to africa. it came late. those couldn't really be applied. we have a situation in which developed companies have double doses in africa is still struggling to have basic shows. so i do think it is not necessarily correct to think there is a surplus of vaccines in africa. there is not a surplus. there are structural issues we must deal with in terms of making sure we have the capacity to produce the vaccines in africa and having to do with intellectual property rights. things like that are needed to the r&d systems for the industry. a lot has been done in terms of johnson & johnson to set up vaccine manufacturing.
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there is demand where they are trying to deal with the problem that have made it difficult for africa to access the vaccines and the quantity and cost and timing that is needed. >> senator blunt, or going to go vote and do the best we can. >> that means i'm in charge until we get back. >> lots of time then. thanks to all three of you for being here. i started talking about the demographic impact on food, which is the doubling of world food need in a short amount of time. hours talking to somebody who runs our big agricultural company and i said how redo this in his answer is, we could do this but we get do without science and without africa.
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that incredible population growth in africa and what all three of you are saying the importance of africa producing its own food and us figuring that out is critical. i do think this immediate $5 billion is going to go pretty fast and go fast for the crisis need. governor, you said you by a lot of food from ukraine. what happens as the russians move across southern ukraine now almost destroyed mayor paul and the port of mayor paul, but they are now focusing on odessa? what happens if those ports are not operational for some amount of time and what you think happens to ukraine in the food they may be would still be able to continue to grow if those
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ports aren't available to them or anybody else? works i guess you could say goodbye to ukraine because the economy collapses. 40 or more percent of their gdp is based upon agricultural products that are exported, so it's critical, and then you talk about the impact it will have on global food security, famine around the world, we see spiking. so over the next eight to 12 months you will see continued pricing spikes and here's what's very frightening. when you look at arab spring in 2011, 2012, the economic indicators are worse than they were in arab spring because we seafood pricing and what it leads to destabilization, in the past few weeks you have seen sri lanka, indonesia, pakistan, peru and the last few months you saw chad and it will only get worse in these prices if food prices
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continue to spike and they will because you don't have the available you -- availability of 400 million -- ukraine feeds 400 million people with the food, so if that's out of the equation, where that come from? increase tremendous market volatility and compounded with the fertilizer problem. like ethiopia and sudan, 85% of their fertilizer comes from russia, belarus. they are already in fragile states. >> could ukraine, how would they get the food and how it you get the food out? >> you can't get enough food out. just try to track it out. for example, an average day is 3000, give or take three carloads per dade and the average trained carload is three
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to four trucks, do the math, that would be 10,000 trucks per day and is not a one-day trip, it several days. you can talk about 50,000 trucks, what we have in sitting down with ukrainian government, best case scenario is you could truck a train out of one million metric tons a month. problem with that, it's not much , but the problem is pricing spikes because the cost of transportation moves up to $120 more per tine which prices it out of the market. >> let me ask one more question. you said, and i think she has also said we need to move fast, what can we do to speed up our efforts through you, through usaid? are there tools we can better
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use to get this done quicker, and i want to go next to ms. mckenna and ask if the ngo's have the capacity to do more if it will work in a better way. david, do you want to answer that? >> i think there are several things. i think encouragement to usaid from the senate and the house moved sees funds quickly. i think there and a lot of pressure. you have lawyers and bureaucracy. if we could do down to usaid, that would be important. we have mechanisms that we have in place ready to move quickly. cash-based transfer we can move. ira accounts and regional areas of the world, we can move these funds very quickly, we have the capacity to handle such. and then we can move funds with our partners as quickly as possible.
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but i think it will take a lot of encouragement down the street. >> thank you for that question, we would encourage usa to work with ngos to move quickly and leveraging existing relationships that they have to do things like creating cash consortiums that could be used in multiple markets around the world like yemen or syria to support local markets while also supporting food production and other things. we saw them able to do that with covid, being able to pop up existing rewards to do that and we would encourage them to look at that again. >> i had a lot of other questions that the chairman hadn't returned, but he's back. >> i know we have two on their way. >> from the african bank point of view, order the key points to
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one that gets food out quickly and to to encourage more production? >> thank you very much, senator. to go back to your point you were saying earlier on on the importance of r&d, i just wanted to examples of that. in africa today we have mas for africa, which is a drought paste. i would based in zimbabwe were we supported for weeks and they develop varieties and they worked. when we have droughts inside of africa, the african development bank technology for african transmission, we got those water
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efficient varieties out to 5.2 million households and that's why we were able to avoid a food crisis. as we all know, wheat is tempered. we actually have heat tolerant wheat. in the african development bank we were able to provide talking about the case of sudan and ethiopia. we provided 65,000 metric tons and that is the equivalent of the area in terms of passenger cargo and 94 metric tons and 98.2 metric tons. we are talking about 685 provided for them. that allows them to reduce the import for russia and all of those places by 50%. ethiopia, where today they were
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in 2018 with the varieties that have gone the 400,000. the commodity does matter. in terms of the issue of getting things done, i think just as was said, i think that we should get into what's working on the ground. come back to what was said putting food in the back. and it brings together the global centers, the regional centers in the private centers to get commodities to add to the value chain. so put the money working on the ground. the plan that we have forward here is not when we developed in our offices. it's one that developed over 40 countries, where we have an impact in terms of climate resilience. so one of the things we can deal
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with is the administration with the climate. it is to make sure that the money is used for food, but also climate. we also have to went on climate. and we have the best we have in this economy. it is the mobile phones. we have to register farmers by a metrically and give them their mobile phones and send them so we make sure there is inclusiveness, in particular women, i continue to say that because we have to make sure women participate and benefit because they are the majority. we got all the farmers registered for mobile phones and put them on the basis. and they are on their mobile phones and i remember walking to work and a woman farmer said, thank you, minister.
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we see fertilizers in our villages and the men cannot cheat us anymore. it brings inclusiveness. >> thank you senator blunt and my colleagues. i believe we will move to senator murphy, then to senator boseman on the order of when they were here before. we have another panel on covid. >> thank you all for being here >> i just want you all to delve a little bit deeper into afghanistan. this started as the country and it descended into the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
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i would like you all to give us advice as to how we best unlock a significant amount of money that the united states currently has in its possession and at its disposal to try to address this crisis. president biden authorized $3.5 billion, half of afghanistan's frozen assets to be used for the benefit of the afghan people, but three months later we have not yet figured out what that international finance mechanism is and still hasn't been set up. so what advice would you give the administration? what advice would you suggest we give is data percent $3.5 billion? because it cannot be that we cannot both save lives while also not unjustly enrich the taliban. there is a mechanism by which to
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give this money as directly connected to the afghan people as possible. starting with you mr. beasley, but i would love comments from all three of our panelists. >> this is one of the things we talk about because the lack of funds globally. afghanistan hit and we talked about the crisis we are facing around the world. afghanistan hit and we had over 40 million people. 23 million people are not pc 345. a .7 million are knocking on famine store. so we were like, we don't have enough money, their world bank couldn't give it to the taliban, so we sat down with the taliban and said, no one will give you money, let it go directly to us without your fingerprints and they, i would say consented, but it didn't matter.
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it worked out when money came directly to us. same thing on frozen assets. i don't think there's any question whether it's as sore unicef and others in we can work with teachers and health care providers and us working with beneficiaries throughout the country is not difficult to do. we are reaching about 14 million people right now. but because of the lack of funding, we have to cut back and at least try to reach those knocking on famine store. we have to unleash those funds because otherwise you either are appropriate more dollars and if you don't you have famine and destabilization with more migration coming out of afghanistan and he will have an extraordinary amount of recruitment by extremist groups for terrorist training activities. >> afghanistan is actually our longest continuous country present. we have been operating in afghanistan since the 1980's through multiple administrations.
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the government needs to figure out a mechanism to program that money to partners like us who are in those communities. that economy has collapsed. we have seen news accounts of families selling off young girls for dowry money because there's no money coming in, opium production is through the roof. we need to be able to help people from starvation. >> money coming directly from your programming does not enrich in any way, shape or form. >> and we have been working to create different rules to program those funds. >> i would have to take up past because we have been covered in afghanistan. >> this is long overdue. a world in which we are starved for resources here at wise, for the time being, 3.5 billion dollars that is ready to go.
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and you have pointed out that the programming you are running on the ground right now directly benefits the afghan people without unjustly profiting the taliban. you are not alone in that club, there are plenty of mechanisms that would allow us to do both, save lives and make sure that this money doesn't end up in the hands of the wrong people. my hope is that this committee can work with the ministration to expedite a mechanism to get that money released. >> chairman, for guitar witnesses who cares so much about this topic. i guess governor beasley, yemen, we talked about afghanistan, a lot of unsavory individuals who control most of the populace parts of yemen, how has the cooperation been with the houthi's and what worries you with those countries going forward?
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>> senator, i've had some very frank conversations with them. i was there month and a half ago meeting with the leadership in you probably recall back when i was pretty tough on the coalition about the blockade and the data. really was 60 minutes did a story them than that broke up the issue of high data because we couldn't get food supplies and and that's a country that relies on 85% to 95% of food from the outside. when i was pretty hard on the coalition and that broke apart in terms of allowing the blockade to be set aside, they were just so excited and they were like, thank you, you are our friend, i said, i'm not doing this because i'm on your side, i'm doing this because it's the right thing to do. and i said, if you cross that line too, i probably shouldn't say what i said to them here, but bottom line, i set i will kick your rear end. that kind of thing and they
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kinda laughed about it. a couple of years later we had some serious issues with regards to many of our provisions to move food out there and neutral impartiality to reach the beneficiaries with independence. we had significant issues. so i sat down with them and said, let me be very clear. we don't have enough money right now to feed everybody in the world. in our donors want to make certain that every dollar is maximized to reach the most people possible. what you are doing and creating all these unnecessary obstacles, there is no way that we can get the funding we need to help the people in yemen. and we want to be able to do it neutral, impartial independent way. i actually made the decision to cut off all food supplies for a million people for about a month. it was a hard decision. but with diversion taking place,
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otherwise i would be participating in diverting food from innocent children over here to help. and this is what we face today. we have to take lack of money food from hungry children and starving children. that's horrible. it's quite remarkable. they didn't think there was anyone they thought would do this. they made the hard decision and we were at the table within a few weeks and we resolved it and things have moved incredibly better since then. that doesn't mean it's all perfect anytime soon you do in these types of places, but the cooperation has been remarkably improved inside yemen. but there are still issues. >> is their attention being paid to the countries and acting protectionist policies to keep the food they grow within their country, and is there something that you, united states of
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america, united nations need to do to encourage it that tribes of the cost head makes it difficult to meet the needs of hungry people elsewhere? >> we face this in covid, a lot of ministers of different governments and trade were doing locked down, shut down border controls and limitations. how was on the phone and my teams were on the phone saying let me explain what's going to happen. you shut down this port or you put the limitation and here's what happened. we were able to really avert a lot of complications from those restrictions. i think not just us, but everywhere we see it explain, please don't do this, here's what will happen talking to the secretary-general general and as well as talking our friends like in the united states to see please call this particular
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government leader to minimize these types of issues. that's one of the actions being taken. you have to be on top of it literally every day. >> let me raise the topic of ready to use therapeutic food. two countries, south sudan and ethiopia have requested it through the humanitarian trust. do support including funding for r u tf via the bill henderson trust, the supplemental package or the appropriations to ensure that this life-saving product gets into the hands of those need it most? >> yes, sir. it's a godsend right now with the crisis we are facing. if you don't use it now, i don't know when you would use it. we are 100% supportive. >> thank you, chairman. >> thank you senator rand. >> thank you, senator.
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thank you to all of our witnesses. mr. beasley, it's good to see you today. we were together yesterday morning talking about these issues, and thank you for your passion and experience you bring to these critical matters. yesterday i was able to bring you preliminary good news that we were on the verge of passing the assistance package, including 5 billion for food security assistance. i do want to thank the children -- chairman of our subcommittee for all his work making that happen, and i'm increasingly confident we will have bipartisan support here. i want to get to how the $5 billion will help the emergency food situation around the world. before that i have a question about odessa and the russian ports. if you could dig down more deeply on what will happen of food insecurity around the world if we don't unblock those ports,
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some people are saying we could use the land routes and obviously we want to do our best, but mr. beasley, tell us what will happen if, i think it's over 30 million tons of wheat stuck in the ukrainian ports. what is that mean for world hunger? >> ukraine shifts about 60 million metric tons through those ports on an annualized basis. that's about three thighs it -- 3000 train carloads. you can't truck enough out, you can't do it, you might could truck out one million metric tons a month on a good day at best. even then, you're talking about $120 more per metric ton, so puts it out of the market in terms of pricing. so the port is open. ukraine gross enough food to feed 400 million people. it's not just availability of
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food pricing, it's also food pricing. that is going to do more harm to the poorest of the poor around the world who barely could afford now, as i was saying earlier, we've gone from 80 million people marching the starvation to 276 right before ukraine and now that number will go up an additional 50 million. number one, the ukraine economy, over 40% is export. over 40% is agricultural exports. so it would have catastrophic consequences if another shot is not fired in the war in the ports are just blocked. i don't know how, i'm not the economist, i'm just a humanitarian but i don't know how you don't have economic collapse. inside ukraine you have the agricultural impact on food supplies, particularly in eastern africa, western africa and the countries that the pen on this for the region. for example, egypt, 85%
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dependency, lebanon, 80%, 26 countries depend upon ukraine and russia over 50%, and we buy over 50% from ukraine itself. we assist 125 million people at the end of the day, week or month. it's already having a 71 million dollar increase of operational costs per month that our operations, which means we will be 4 million people less as we stay right now. >> i appreciate you going into that. i wanted a clear picture of what the consequences were. i think the world outside of russia knows that putin is killing people indiscriminately and ukraine. but, countries around the world need to recognize that what he's doing and ukraine will result in starvation and food insecurity for tens of millions of people around the world. do you know of any ongoing efforts to address this issue?
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and i don't mean those of us calling for something to happen, i mean any material progress. >> as you know, i've made requests straight to president putin that the world famines are in your hands right now and you need to open up these ports. i do believe there are efforts being made as we sit to try to create an opportunity to open up the ports, and it cannot be an open of the ports for humanitarian purposes because the commercial side is just as equally on a humanitarian basis. and we cannot use -- food cannot be weaponized. it just cannot. and right now if those ports stay close, food would be weaponized. >> let me, and my remaining time period, first associate myself with the comments of senator
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murphy with respect to afghanistan and the situation there. as he indicated, we can find a way to help people without strengthening or reinforcing the taliban government. thank you for the efforts you made in yemen, that remains a terrible situation, but your efforts and proved it in my final seconds here, maybe if i could just get a sense of the $5 billion, maybe you could tell me what will that mean for your efforts around the world if we are able to get the $5 billion for food assistance? >> a tent would go to emergency food relief and we expect that from our colleagues. what's really important is long-term resilience and building long-term system so that these economies can support themselves and that they can further withstand this shocks that are to come with climate
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change, droughts and conflicts like supporting farmers long-term, using cash and vouchers to support local markets, incorporating activities and working with conflict actors. may i add one other point based on your prior question, russia is using hunger as a weapon of war and congress is on record of condemning the use of this as a record of four. and we hope that the senate will take up a companion version of that as well. >> we are looking at it. >> go ahead, a team. >> just some last points on what will this mean. in the case of africa, i think we need to really focus on oh at the problems are. for africa is not just giving
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food away, it's producing food because we are dealing with inflation. the market levels have to be something that is structural that is scalable and attainable. that's why we have the african emergency food production plan to produce that. with $5 billion, we have put $1.3 billion of our own money on the line. we are putting our money where our mounts are and we need $200 million to be able to come up with $1.5 billion that we want to be able to help africa to appoint a looming crisis. what this will do on the u.s. government to complement $1.3 billion we have put down that allows the employment rate to 20 million farmers in africa. it would allow them to produce 38 million metric tons of food.
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and after that would be 11 metric tons and i mentioned that experience in sudan and also in ethiopia. in 18 billion metric tons of corn and we are looking at 6 million metric tons of dachshund 2.5 metric tons. so it would make a lot of impact. but we need to also use this crisis to deal with the structural issues to unlock agricultural potential and from the bank we have a program that we will also see from this emergency production program for one for 200. it will allow and support african countries to produce an additional 100 metric tons of food. it will feed 200 million people. if we are able to feed 200 million people, that means we can curb hunger in africa by 18%.
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i have never been this confident that we can reach zero hunger, but it would have to be done by the structural approach. >> thank you for emphasizing that, thank you mr. chairman. >> senator bozeman, for the last question, we have three great witnesses for a second panel in half an hour left. >> i will be brief because i know we need to move on. we appreciate the great work that you do, governor beasley, congratulations on your nobel prize, you and your agency, that is remarkable, and we are very, very proud of you. the u.s. is a very generous country and has stepped up in the past and is stepping up now. tell us about what that means and then also, how does that help you to pony up the way that they should. >> when i arrived, the united
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states was appropriating about 1.9 billion dollars. many of us in this room had a conversation out of concern the new publican administration with trump would zero out the budget and we would have significant funding problems. it was quite remarkable to see everybody come together. actually on both ends of pennsylvania avenue on this particular issue. our funding went to $3.8 million. because of crisis after crisis, or after war, climate shocks and now ukraine, afghanistan, ethiopia, the knees are going up substantially, so the united states has led the way. i've been able to use that when i go to germany, the e.u., the nordic countries, and say the united states is stepping up because usually the first line of impact is in europe. central america, the first line
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of impact is the united states, but because of what the united states has done, and germany and a few other major donors, particularly during covid, because not many people realize the economic ripple effect that covid had on the portion of the poor countries around the world. had it not been for the united states, the taxpayers of this country, we would've had mass famine, destabilization of many nations and we would've had mass migration. we were able to avert that in the last couple of years because of the generosity of the american taxpayer along with germany and other donors. so here we are again, unfortunately, because covid recycled, and now with ukraine, we've got a crisis within a crisis, that perfect storm. so this appropriation right now, why should i send money down there? i'm like, if you don't, it's
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going to cost you a thousand times more. i don't say that hypothetically or theoretically. we have strategic international aid and food security, it saves taxpayers anywhere from $100 to 1000 times or more. >> we've got all this going on, i'm very active in agriculture right now, the increase in fertilizer cause, the input costs or just through the roof. part of that being fertilizer from belarus and russia and various other countries, seeing this are actually halting their fertilizer. as you mentioned earlier, we will have tremendous commodity increases. these countries are not going to be able to buy as much. the other problem is, senator van hollen mentioned the
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importance of opening the ports and all that. even if that is done, high commodity prices, because of the high inputs, and what i would like for you to talk about is the potential, even if we do all we can, or we looking at shortages? what do you need for us to do? it's not shortages, it's not money. what do we do to coordinate and make it such that we are proactive and see this coming and people like you help us plan as we go into the future? >> senator, before ukraine, i was already declaring to the world, we are facing the worst managed hearing crisis we have seen since world war ii. just when you think it couldn't get any worse, then ukraine, the bread basket of the world -- fuel costs, shipping cost just
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escalated beyond the roof. food commodities was already doubling and tripling in many of the poorest of the poor countries. dean ukraine comes into the scene. what is critical is to get those ports operational, it will not eliminate the problems but at least will diminish some of the problems are going to face. if you look at the droughts taken place around the world, africa and central asia, for example, you are talking about a dynamic impact on food production. compound that with the fertilizer problem. countries are not able to get the fertilizers, or the cost is so high, they can't afford it. so smaller formers -- farmers cannot afford it. they're going to be cutting back on production, and this is not the time we need that. about four weeks ago, the
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foreign affairs minister for france called me and when i went through this scenario, what we were looking at, he literally was just shocked. we brought together the foreign agriculture ministers, and i said the question to you is how quickly you can react to offset not just ukraine, but the crisis we are facing around the world, which has been interesting because the green party in europe and germany have been very open and pragmatic at this stage, which is good to see everybody coming together to understand that we truly have a global crisis coming before us. the next 8-12 months we will have a food pricing problem. the spring involved of next year we could have a food availability problem.
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>> on that question, africa faces 2 million metric tons of shortages. if we don't quickly close that, it means even productivity on existing land will decline. the action set up and taken on that, of called for a meeting of all the global ceos of fertilizer companies, and that meeting is actually tomorrow, to look into how is it that we make sure that africa is not shortchanged this time around. we know what happened with regard to the covid-19 issue with access. we want to make sure the rich companies of the world do not take away all the fertilizers
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and then we have a problem. we are trying to see how we can actually deal with some of these issues. the point on the price of fertilizer, as we are preparing for the annual meetings of the african development bank, the price of fertilizer has gone up on the open market, you can imagine what this will do. so it is a big issue and if we don't solve the fertilizer problem, we cannot solve the food problem. one of the things i want to suggest to the distinguished members of the senate committee is that these facilities are going to be very important to make sure financial institutions can actually lend to the
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fertilizers, importers and the retailers to actually get it out to -- and in particular [indiscernible] on efficiency of the use of the 5 billion dollars. we want to make sure also that we deal with deliberate risk. what are we going to have to subsidize? we have to make sure the subsidies are done in a way that are market friendly, in a way that -- i like to call a growth enhancement support, to boost production and quickly transition to a more market-based system. these are very important if are going to deal with the fertilizer question. >> thank you very much.
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>> i remember our visit and i appreciate your insightful testimony today. i thank david beasley in the world food program. were going to quickly transition to the second panel. we are awaiting notification of when the next vote will be. a number of the members of the committee are holding, waiting for that next vote, but i think we should proceed with the second panel.
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>> i want to thank the witnesses of the second panel that will focus on covid-19 and what investments the united states should be making to assess the future risk associated with this and other future will -- future pandemics. we have three remarkable witnesses, dr. thomas frieden, currently serves as president of resolve to save lives. the assistant administrator for global health at the u.s. agency for international development, and speaking with us remotely today is dr. michael ryan, executive director of world health organization's emergency
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program who will join us remotely from geneva. the second panel is a briefing of the subcommittee for some technical reasons relating to the world health and his agents. if you would please start us off , and if there is a vote that interrupts us, i will inform you, but thank you for your testimony. if you can, keep it concise and that will allow us to have more of a discussion. >> thank you very much, chairman and ranking member and distinguished members of the committee for the opportunity to testify today. here's the bottom line, the u.s. and the world were underprepared for covid, haven't responded well, and we are well on our way to making a deadly mistake of repeating the cycle of panic and neglect. this would leave us avoidable he vulnerable, not only to future covid variants but to future
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health threats. i urge congress to approve the proposed food supply request at least the $5 billion for global control with funding to both usaid in cdc. most of the one million deaths that the u.s. has suffered and most of the nearly 20 million deaths that the world has suffered did not have to happen. pandemics do not stop because of wars. in fact, wars tend to accelerate pandemics. that certainly what happened 100 years ago. the safe and effective vaccines, as well as stunningly effective treatment, we can have the upper hand on covid in this country. however, this is only true as long as a worse variant doesn't emerge. we have to face three dichotomies, and in each of these there is a pool toward one side that would imbalance our response. the first dichotomy is the temptation to spend money on stuff, vaccines, equipment,
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medications, while neglecting the need for staff. to increase vaccination uptake, you need health care workers, you need to focus on vaccinated care workers as well as elderly and immunosuppressed people who are not only most likely to die but most likely to have the emergence of variance if they are infected. we have the support staff on the ground to do this, and i would say in sierra leone, i worked with one of the organizations implementing a tremendous sex -- success story. we approach more than 7000 health care workers because health care workers getting vaccinated is a critical first step to change the narrative on vaccination in many countries. 2% declined vaccination. 90% or double vaccinated an 8% got a single dose. the second dichotomy is a need to focus on both response and
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prevention. it's tempting to focus on putting the fire out, but we have to make our world more resistant to future outbreaks. this is why it is essential to have at least $5 million previously requested and i strongly support fy 23 budget proposal of 80.2 billion dollars over five years to allow targeted interventions and investment in public health and preparedness domestically and around the world, including to support both cdc and usaid for global protection. the third dichotomy is protecting the u.s. versus recognizing it is in our self-interest to suppress covid and other threats around the world. the plain truth is that it saves more lives and cost less money to fight outbreaks at their source than fighting them on our shores. when it comes to access to vaccines and treatment, the
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right thing to do ethically is also the right thing to do epidemiological he, but that's going to require more money from the u.s. and from other countries. the cdc plays a critical role around the world and implementation, vaccine safety monitoring, supporting ministries of health. the cdc has over thousand doctors and other public health specialist who know how to plan vaccine campaigns, both usaid and cvc have indicated they will no longer be able to continue this work unless congress approves additional funding. this funding was cut unfortunately from the recent bipartisan supplemental framework, i urge you to find a way to provide support for global covid control. representative tom cole of oklahoma said at the start of this epidemic, is just a no-brainer to spend millions -- billions on preparedness to save trillions of dollars in costs. he also predicted years before
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covid hit that americans are much more likely to be killed by a pandemic than by a terrorist. he was right then and he is right today. covid has claimed more than a million american lives. that's more than any and all wars over the past 150 years. and yet we spend only about 300 times to 500 times less on our troops defense and we do our military defense. we have to address covid now, be ready for the next variant, and protect against future threats. fiscal responsibility certainly includes cutting direct costs when appropriate, but fiscal responsibility also requires making sound investments to save money and save lives. we can afford not to spend the $5 billion and ideally more to protect the world and protect ourselves through increasing global vaccination. we have to be better prepared for the next threat, and that's
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why the fy 23 proposal is so very important. this really is the make or break year. this is world's teachable moment to prevent the next pandemic. you in congress have the power to provide the essential investments to make this possible. thank you. >> thank you, dr. frieden. >> thank you for the invitation to speak today. i get to co-chair or covid-19 task force. my written testimony output into the record, so i will just try to hit a few of the high points for you. the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic have been horrendous. the first is the first global reduction of life expectancy in the century. it is development in reverse. if it weren't for the bipartisan
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support that you and congress and american taxpayers have provided, these numbers would be far worse. u.s. government is providing more than $19 billion in assistance toward the fight against covid-19. of this, usaid has deployed almost $10 billion. through the present global covid-19 summit last year, and the second one which will take place tomorrow, we have also rally the world to join this fight. in the course of this, we have accomplished a lot. we've donated more than a half billion covid-19 doses to 115 countries in just nine months. that is an historic accomplishment. we launched the global backs effort to ensure we were able to get shots into arms, with 1.7 billion in committed finding, and usaid is also leading the non-vaccine work where we've become the global leader in providing oxygen systems as well as testing and treatment
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supplies. but here we are, we are now at a precipice. as of the first of may, we have approved and/or notified 99.9% of total covid-19 supplemental funds that we received. we have obligated 95% of those funds. when it comes to the american rescue plan act funds, we've obligated 90% of that. we expect to obligate virtually all remaining supplemental funds by july. our work at that point will begin grinding to a halt. and it is clear that the fight against covid is not done. i just want to say the worst may not be behind us. i want us to understand that, the potential outcome scenarios that we face are extremely wide. i am a cancer surgeon, and i tell my patients that we will
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hope for the best, but hope is not a plan. of more than 10 billion back -- vaccine doses administered worldwide, only 1% has been administered in low income countries. we have barely more than 16% of people across africa fully vaccinated. lower income countries face even bigger gaps in access to the arsenal that we now have been able to count on, they barely have access to rapid diagnostic tests, to oxygen capacity, and now the new generation of oral antiviral pills that have been determined to be so effective. that's why the administration requested $5 billion to support the immediate needs of the global covid-19 response. that includes enabling expansion of global banks to get shots into arms and under vaccinated countries. they are requested no money, not
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a dime for new vaccines because we are in a situation of vaccine abundance. we have 1.7 billion dollars in request to enable us to shrink the gap in global access to testing, oxidant capacity and antiviral treatments. and finally, we've requested $750 million to enable humanitarian assistance, as you heard from the prior panel, covid-19 has complicated humanitarian assistance in a number of domains, made disasters worse, in particular increasing food insecurity. we are now facing a cause potentially of an action, if no further funds are appropriated, we will have to end our leadership increasing vaccinations. we will have to give up on fighting dangerous variance, even though each surge of variance has disrupted our supply chain, disrupted the trade we rely on, and driven
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inflationary pressures that are hurting every american. these recurrent cycles of damage have endangered and continue to endanger the health and lives of all americans, as well as people around the world. so i want to emphasize here, stopping global covid-19 funding would be a geopolitical mistake. it would be an ethical mistake. it would be a health security mistake, and it would be an economic mistake of historic proportions. throughout the pandemic, you and congress have done what has had to be done and passed supplemental funding that has saved the lives of millions abroad and protected hundreds of millions here at home. and once again, we are asking you to please come together to continue america's leadership to end the acute phase of this pandemic. i'm grateful for this opportunity to be here today and welcome any questions.
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>> good afternoon, chairman and distinguish members of the subcommittee. thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you today. i am executive director and for 25 years i worked at the front line of epidemics, conflicts and natural disasters all over the world. i just returned from ukraine where i saw firsthand the work of frontline health workers and witness the power of resilience in the face of horror. this is compassion and dedication that we have and continue to witness in our front line workers around the world against covid-19 and the determination to protect communities, save lives and deliver to the last mile. covid-19 has infected billions and killed millions.
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however, every single person on the planet has been impacted by this virus. health we can, loved ones lost, future stolen, and livelihoods destroyed. like a tornado, it remains highly unpredictable in its course and its intensity. while global reported cases are declining, the virus continues to evolve and evade, leaving our -- especially in areas with low vaccination. those with limited access to health systems, continued major disruptions, maternal health and immunization and others threatened decades of progress. intense regulation of virus has resulted in many areas of concern, it each more transmissible than the last. all these variants have emerged outside the united states and
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all have reached the united states. blinding us to the potential -- to potentially dangerous new variants. in a world of intractable problems, covid-19 has solutions. the public health of frontline workers who deliver them, this is in great part due to the leadership of the united states and other countries supporting the global efforts. massive disparities in access to vaccines and other lifesaving tools threatens to undermine all we have achieved in the fight against covid. nearly one billion people in low income countries have not received a single dose of vaccine against covid. that number includes more than two thirds of health care workers in older persons in those countries.
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we can end this emergency phase of the pandemic, but we will not do so unless we deliver these life-saving interventions to everyone, everywhere. it require surveillance, testing, rejected gear and therapeutics, and most of all, effective community engagement and empowerment. he requires that all of these are delivered to the last mile and administered by well trained and equipped workers. it is critical to help get these lifesaving tools to the people who need them everywhere. the response plan details how to achieve these but remains underfunded by a billion dollars. shipping millions of vaccines, test kits and their pdx to lower income countries. 80% of supply to low income countries so far.
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however, there is a nearly $15 billion funding gap. includes treatment for 120 million patients, protective equipment for 1.7 million health workers in 600 million doses of vaccine. in summary, as long as this virus is circulating anywhere in the world, we are all at risk. we have to act now to save lives and enable the global economy to get back on track. we need to track this virus, we need to vaccinate the world and diagnose quickly and early and we need to communicate with and engage our communities deeply. we need the solutions that are so badly needed to in this pandemic. the world has long look to the u.s. for global leadership. a bipartisan effort save the lives of 20 million people from aids. today the leadership of the united states is more vital than
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ever. the finding you're considering today will be a major contribution toward ending this phase of the pandemic and making the world prepared for the next global threat. thank you, sirs. >> thank you, all three of you, for your testimony. you used on settable -- unsettling and memorable phrases about the balance between stuff and staff, about this being a tornado whose force and intensity we cannot predict. let me first ask of all three of you the compound question, what is the risk of the development of a variant that is more deadly as well as more transmissive than what we have seen so far? i'm struggling with my colleagues. one of them said to me, my constituents are done with this pandemic. and i said, sir, with all due
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respect, this pandemic is not done with your constituents. one of our real challenges is one of imagination. most americans and many senators don't appreciate that as long as there are billions who were unvaccinated and whose public health systems in the countries they inhabit our fragile and where testing and monitoring is dropping rapidly, the risk of a new variant emerging that is more deadly and that can get around the vaccine protection we've already deployed, i think is significant. but i would be interested in hearing from all three of you whether there is any real risk of this. second, the timing of money matters. failed to deliver $5 billion when requested months ago. we failed to get it onto the ukraine supplemental likely to pass tomorrow. i don't see that the timing is are the path forward in getting the international covid really funded through this committee and through this congress. a raise it every day, i press it would leadership, with my caucus
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and the other caucus. what difference does it make if we deliver the $5 billion this month, next month, or not until the fall? what will the consequences be domestically and globally? and last, what do you think is the right balance between staff and stuff? between making sure that we are investing in public health system personnel and resources as opposed to delivering more therapeutics, delivering more testing and more vaccines. what is the right balance? if each of the three of you in turn would answer those questions, i would really appreciate it. >> a nobel laureate used to say that microbes outnumber us, trillions to one. our only hope is to outsmart them. the risk of a variant that is deadlier than the delta variant and just as or more infectious than omicron is absolutely present, but it is not
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inevitable and it's not something that we cannot do something about. unlike perhaps a tornado, we are able to reduce the risk of death by tamping down spread, where there are people with immunosuppression which is one theory of how some of the more dangerous variants have emerged. no one can tell you with certainty that it may or may not occur or when it will occur. it might not happen for a month, year, or five years. there is no inevitability about various variants become less efficient. there is an inevitability that variants that are able to spread more. but the virus is only rewarded, if you will, if it spreads faster. whether that is a devastating variant that causes a high batali rate, or as omicron may
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be somewhat less deadly, particularly for people with immunity from either prior vaccination or prior infection. what we are seeing with the new omicron variance is increasingly the virus is learning about our immune systems and learning to get around our immunity, even -- either from prior infection or from vaccination. that's why it's so important that we get these first generation vaccines out as quickly as possible and continue to develop second generation vaccines to ensure that we do have better, broader, longer-lasting vaccines, they are available to the world promptly after they become available so we don't have a repeat of what happened this time around. in terms of the timing, better late than never, the sooner the better. every month that goes by, we have a greater chance of unchecked spread, leading to a more dangerous variant.
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in terms of the balance of stuff versus staff, i think that maybe one way to think about that is to think about the minimum necessary for staff and to protect those fundamental systems. you need systems to detect problems, you need a laboratory network, you need a surveillance and monitoring system and you also need rapid response capacity, so that public health staff can go out and investigate outbreaks when they occur. there are great new tools, i'm very excited about them. genomics, machine learning, but none of them are shortcuts to building a system or someone who feels sick goes to their local health provider who contacts the public health department, there's a prompt and effective investigation and a prompt and effective response. that's what we have promoted with our approach to rapid
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diagnosis and rapid response. >> my staff is telling me were down to very few senators who have not voted and the floor is waiting for me. if i could ask each of the two remaining witnesses, about three minutes and ask her -- answering the question. is there any staff who are aware of any senator who is seeking to come back? in absence of that i will as for the two remaining witnesses to speak and i will close the hearing and return to cast my vote on this. thank you to all three of you for really compelling written testimony and in person testimony. >> i will say quickly, the risk of development of a more deadly disease, who laid out the best case scenario, that we continue to have what we have had thus far, which is a contagious, relatively milder form of the variant that remade venable to
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vaccine effectiveness. it is absolutely a potential outcome. we have to be prepared for the worse case scenario, much as we don't want to think about it. it's just the reality of what we should be preparing to do. time really matters. production lines -- is not unlike before delta, some of the lowest levels of rapid test production we've seen. we have low levels of production on ppe and masks, because the demand for these things have disappeared, and that is going to cost us, so if we wait, we are not leading those supply lines, we are not keeping the workers in place, so it will be weeks to months to get them back online. then add in the antivirals, if we don't have advance market commitments to get production of
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the new oral antivirals that protect us, that is our safeguard so that if a virus develops, a variant develops that evades the vaccines, they may have the oral antivirals to work with. but if production is not happening for the world, we will find our own countries behind. on staff and stuff, i would say we've been very good about buying stuff. it's easier to move out quickly, it is easier to buy. when it comes to making these services happen, whether it's oxygen, antivirals or vaccines, making it possible for the united states and abroad having more commitment to the staff so that we are getting the mobile units out to do the vaccinations or do the treatment or enable the systems to get into place, that's what makes these systems, they are helping is not only for the next variant, it's for the
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next possible outbreak, for making safer birth and it makes for better system of care. >> i am going to want to follow up with you about the therapeutics, something senator murray has been relentlessly pressing her caucus about. >> in terms of more transmissible -- they're emerging on a monthly basis. this is pressure on the virus through transmission and survival. whether more dangerous and lethal variants emerge, it is a random effect. it can happen instantly, or it may never happen. if moving to people are getting infected are not getting well quickly, with long-standing
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infections we don't prevent or treat early, those will produce quantum's more virus because it stays within the human body for longer and can produce more variants and those become much more dangerous. in terms of timing, i've said it before. perfection is the enemy of the good when you're dealing with epidemics. speed beats perfection. we need to act now. we need to reduce the number of people on this planet who are being infected. we need to reduce the number of people who have long-standing severe infections that can go on to infect others in terms of staff versus stuff, to protect communities and to save lives, it is always been we need frontline health workers, frontline ngos, frontline people in systems to deliver the solutions we develop upstream. just having stuff without the
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staff makes no difference in the world. >> thank you. i'm grateful for your testimony today, for your long service to protecting the world and the american people and advancing public health. we will keep this record open for a week until 5:00 p.m. on wednesday, may 18. i look forward to working tirelessly with each of you and with my colleagues to ensure that we do in fact advances desperately needed appropriation to ensure that the world is safer from this pandemic. i look forward to working with you on preparations for the next. thank you, and with that, this hearing is adjourned.
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