An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for your firm and clear declaration to commit the resources of our beloved country, the United States of America, and to lead other countries in the fight to eliminate global poverty and hunger by the year 2030. Your speech to the United Nations (UN) was a very strong statement about the shared principles and responsibilities of the United States and other Member Nations in promoting peace and development throughout the world. We are one world, and all nations are related and interdependent to each other. Like you, I agree that eliminating hunger and poverty and achieving the other Sustainable Development Goals are investments, not charity. By supporting these endeavors, I believe that we are investing in global peace and stability.

The seventeen Millennium Development Goals adopted by 193 countries during this week's United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, if implemented, will greatly benefit all of humanity. With great interest, I noted that eradicating poverty, and reducing hunger and malnutrition ranked first and second on the list of critical global development goals to be achieved within the next fifteen years. It is good and inspiring to witness global commitment to these goals. Hopefully, concrete action will follow.

I strongly agree with this statement made by His Holiness Pope Francis: "Solemn commitments, however, are not enough, even though they are a necessary step toward solutions." He further proclaimed that world leaders must follow through on meeting these goals with "a will which is effective, practical, constant, with concrete steps and immediate measures" in order to protect our environment and end social and economic injustice.

The United States leads by paying our UN assessment and by contributing to the special programs that exist to save the lives of children and families around the world. Additionally, we are proud of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programs designed to assist global development and hunger including: Agriculture and Food Security, Feed the Future, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. Hopefully, funds for these effective programs will not be cut, but increased.

On a more personal note, I have a special commitment to and experience with the Millennium Development Goals, the precursors to the current Sustainable Development Goals, especially those pertaining to eradicating poverty and hunger. After serving in the United States Congress, for three years I served as the Assistant Director-General of the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations where my colleagues and I with many National Alliances worked to halve world poverty and hunger by 2015. We made some progress, but not nearly enough. Hopefully with adequate investment of resources of talents, time and monies from all countries, we may actually achieve the noble goal of eliminating global hunger by the year 2030.

Again, Mr. President, thank you for your compassion and for your leadership in addressing these fundamental human rights issues.