On June 13, 2022, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) Global Impact Forum took place. The USGLC Global Impact Forum 2022 entailed conversations with leading stakeholders and policymakers surrounding the role of the U.S. in the global sphere.
7 Key Discussions of the USGLC Global Impact Forum 2022
- Current Humanitarian Crises in Numbers. Across the globe, as many as 323 million people endure acute hunger and 100 million people have been forcibly displaced. In addition, just 17% of people in low-income nations have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
- Local Impact of Global Events. In simple terms, what happens globally impacts the U.S. domestically. An evident example of this is the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Current spikes in food prices in the U.S. reflect how the pandemic impacts the United States on a national level. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also led to wheat export blocks, causing food shortages in countries in the Middle East and Africa. Famine can create instability and unrest, which can translate into conflict, and while conflict is a problem in itself, it also creates more problems like displacement and forced migration. Rising food prices across the world highlight the interconnectedness of the global food supply chain.
- Vaccines. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) has said “America might be done with the pandemic, but the global pandemic is not done with the world.” With COVID restrictions easing and life gradually going back to normal, it is easy to believe that there are no more obstacles to surpass. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Though the U.S. has committed to supplying roughly 1.2 billion vaccines globally, there remain issues with manufacturing and distribution. Less than 1% of vaccines consumed in Africa are manufactured locally, therefore, vaccine distribution is critical to effectively tackle COVID-19 and future pandemics. Similarly, despite the heavy exports of vaccines, funding is still necessary to facilitate the process of getting doses into people’s arms.
- Food Insecurity. Secretary Tom Vilsack from the U.S. Department of Agriculture simplified the issue of food insecurity into three C’s: “COVID, Climate, Conflict.” Three factors that all contribute to the ongoing food crisis. USAID is actively working across the world to invest in urban agriculture, reduce food waste and increase domestic cropping and production of fertilizers and other inputs. As farmers stand at the center of the food system, they require support to enable the U.S. to keep markets open to supply fertilizers and other goods globally. At the moment, the focus is on the Ukrainian conflict — helping citizens in Ukraine as well as providing support to other countries affected by the reduced production capacity in Ukraine.
- Extreme Weather Patterns. President Biden has called on all federal agencies to also prioritize efforts to tackle extreme weather events. USAID launched a climate strategy in April 2022 that seeks to decrease carbon emissions by 6 billion tonnes and aims to invest $150 billion in climate-smart efforts, among other initiatives. This is critical considering that extreme weather events go hand-in-hand with economic insecurity, habitat destruction, internal and external migration and climate refugees.
- The Importance of Funding. For all the government officials, companies and NGOs present at the forum, the general consensus is that more funding is necessary to tackle the aforementioned global threats. More aid is needed from federal sources but also from the private sector which can benefit from these investments as well.
- Benefits for the U.S. A common misconception among U.S. citizens is that foreign aid solely benefits the recipient, but the USGLC Global Impact Forum 2022 showcased that foreign aid is mutually beneficial. Coca-Cola representative Joanna Price shared that 95% of consumers are based outside of the United States, making it critical to invest in the markets of tomorrow. U.S. companies have to maintain and grow connections globally as this will strengthen the global economy and secure democracy and stability. Domestically, supplying aid should be viewed opportunistically, as it can create a business environment and generate jobs for Americans to help partners abroad.
The USGLC Global Impact Forum reminds the U.S. about the importance of remaining engaged globally and providing adequate foreign aid for those in need.
– Claudia Efemini