Chris Hegarty: We can all help in world hunger fight

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Why, when there’s more than enough food for everyone in the world, doesn’t everyone have enough food?

That’s the simple but penetrating question posed by a major new campaign on global hunger called Enough Food for Everyone… IF, to be debated at Holyrood today.

Despite substantial progress in recent decades one in eight of the world’s people remain hungry. It’s unfair, unacceptable, and totally preventable. The IF campaign already includes around 150 organisations across the UK, making it one of the broadest and potentially most influential campaigns in recent memory.

The aim is to make 2013 the beginning of the end of hunger by calling on the UK Government to address some of the root causes of poverty including multinationals’ tax dodging in developing countries, land grabbing and corporate transparency. There is also an opportunity for the UK to influence the international debate when it hosts the G8 Summit in Enniskillen in June. The G8 mantle has passed from Gleneagles in 2005 to Enniskillen in 2013, but there remain many ways in which people in Scotland can contribut to this campaign.

Firstly, we can make our voices heard at Westminster. IF campaign supporters are lobbying their MPs across Scotland to call on the UK Government to use the forthcoming Budget to keep its promises on aid and to address corporate tax dodging that robs poor countries of much-needed revenue.

In today’s debate the Scottish Government and MSPs from all parties must commit to Scotland playing its part. The IF campaign is calling for increased support for communities whose access to food is being made much harder by climate change.

We believe that in order to be eligible for Scottish public sector contracts, companies should behave ethically and pay fair taxes on any profits made in developing countries.

We can also tap into our experiences of the Highland Clearances to contribute to the global debate on land rights in developing countries, and we must invest in global citizenship education so everyone can understand the complex issue of global hunger and how we can tackle it.

• Chris Hegarty is chair of the Enough Food for Everyone IF coalition in Scotland.