Famines and their eradication
By the beginning of the 21st Century, humanity was still struggling to distribute wealth and income fairly around the nation states of the world. Despite ambitious plans, and countless calls for the improvement of the situation the gap between the rich and poor was continually increasing.
Governments of the developed North, as it was commonly called in the era, simply didn't seem willing to change drastically the very regime that was causing the inequalities with the governments of the undeveloped South.
This situation wasn't very different from the situations on other star systems that had developed capitalist societies that stretched their planetary globes. Many other star systems also experienced for many centuries the problems of famines and unequal distribution of wealth.
The issue remained a pressing political issue right up to the creation of the Organisation for Interstellar Peace. Statistics dating from a century ago recorded well over a hundred star systems reporting large scale problems of malnutrition amongst populations.
Black Thursday 2073
On Earth, the situation continued to worsen well into the 2070s, despite glorious calls for the eradication of poverty politicians had yet to provide a solution that worked quickly enough to eradicate poverty. Still a billion humans lived in continual malnourishment.
Non-governmental organisations united for the first time and declared "War on the Makers of Poverty". For a year, at every meeting of governments such as the World Trade Organisation meetings, meetings of the World Bank and the United Nations' Security Council thousands upon thousands protestors mobilised at the call of NGOs and continually disrupted the work of politicians.
As the confrontations became ever more violent, the masses became mobilised in favour of the NGO position. On Black Thursday (Thursday 17th November 2073), several hundred protestors were killed in front of the United Nations by security forces trying to keep them out of the UN building.
In reaction, a small radical group of environmentalists decided enough was enough. Several hundred of them more successfully entered the UN building precinct whilst the 2073 World Summit was in session. They overpowered UN security guards and deployed military personnel and held hostage hundreds of world leaders.
A day after the hostage situation broke out; a solution had yet to be found. Several world leaders were summarily executed for crimes against the poor and for failing to meet the demands of the hostage takers.
From Black Thursday to Black Week
Realising that the hostage takers were serious, governments created and signed the same day the Global Anti-Poverty Fund. It committed each and every government to set aside 3% of their national GDP to purchase enough food to feed the poor.
Once the hostage situation was completed, however, governments attempted to nullify the validity of the agreement they had just signed. In the week that followed the masses of the world took to the street and riots broke out in all of the major cities of the world.
The Black Week was only ended when the governments of the world agreed to render the Global Anti-Poverty Fund binding on all the governments of the world. Within five years, famine was completely eradicated from the face of the Earth thanks in large part to the Global Anti-Poverty Fund and NGOs continuing pressure over the years that followed Black Thursday and the Black Week.
The hunt for lasting solutions
Famine prevention, however, was never able on Earth and other star systems to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. Famine prevention served only to ensure that no one died because they were too poor to pay for food.
The solutions which were put forward varied greatly amongst the star systems faced by the problem. Some finally adopted provisions to create global funds that aimed at providing a guaranteed form of food provision for the poor.
Others did away with the capitalist system and adopted new economic systems that created global welfare systems that effectively ended the problem of famine.
A number of reticent star systems however refused to see famine as a problem despite the Organisation for Interstellar Peace's Charter on the Rights of Sentient Life stating that the freedom to live a life free from malnutrition was a fundamental right of every sentient being.
The role of non-governmental organisations in combating famine and poverty
Non-governmental organisations, horrified with reports from the neutral worlds about alarming rates of famine amongst those nation states felt echoes from several centuries ago. Their history motivated them to collectively pool their call for greater action at the Organisation for Interstellar Peace.
Intensive lobbying from the social NGOs of the Terran Democratic Republic in particular convinced the TDR Secretary Generals of the importance of linking the project of peace with the fight against famines.
The lobbying proved highly successful. The TDR adopted a hard line against those OIP Member States that wanted the OIP to adopt weak action plans against famine. The Republic convinced the Rosebourg Monarchy of the need to push social issues through the nascent O.I.P. Together, the Republic, the Monarchy and their allies were able to push through tougher legislation at the OIP level.
The OIP's role in eradicating famine in 2570
The Organisation for Interstellar Peace adopted over a hundred mandates in its first ten years of operation all aimed at eradicating famine from the every day lives of sentient beings. The first mandates made the existence of famine an acceptable reason for the OIP to intervene in those star systems where the governments were not doing enough.
Intervention varied from expulsion of recalcitrant members, to military intervention. Armed warships would deliver food to the poor populations of species that were simply unwilling to do so. Overtime, the OIP created its own funds out of the membership fees paid by the governments. These funds continue to serve as the frontline of the interstellar fight against famine.
The OIP's approach has become much more multi-dimensional, more sensitive to cultural differences, but also more effective. Since the OIP projects have begun interstellar famine has been eradicated in more than seventy star systems. It was expected that if OIP projects continued to have the success they did, famine would be eradicated by 2570.
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