More and more people are facing severe food insecurity, and the numbers continue to grow at an alarming rate. They are precarious and in dire need of food aid and livelihood support, making it more urgent than ever to address the root causes of food crises, not just after the crisis. respond. This is the key message of the annual Global Report on Food Crisis released recently. The report is published by the Global Network for Response to Food Crises, a network of UN, EU, government and non-governmental organizations working together to tackle the food crisis. The report focuses on countries and regions that have experienced large-scale and severe food crises, which cannot be dealt with by their own resources and capabilities alone, so the international community must be mobilized.
Severe food insecurity is when a person's life or livelihood is at risk due to insufficient food. The concept draws on internationally recognized standards for measuring extreme hunger, such as the Integrated Food Security Classification and Harmonization Framework. Severe food insecurity differs from chronic hunger data published annually by the United Nations' State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report. Chronic starvation is the inability of a person to eat enough food for a prolonged period of time to maintain a normal and active lifestyle.
Some 193 million people in 53 countries and territories will experience crisis-level or worse food insecurity in 2021 (IPC/CH stages 3-5), the report shows, an increase from the record number in 2020 nearly 40 million people. Of these, 570,000 people in Ethiopia, southern Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen are particularly vulnerable with catastrophic levels of food insecurity (IPC/CH Phase 5), requiring urgent action by the international community to avoid widespread collapse of livelihoods , starvation and death.
With 39 countries and territories appearing in the report each year, the number of local people facing crisis-level or severe food insecurity (IPC/CH stage 3 or above) has nearly doubled between 2016 and 2021, and has since doubled. It has increased every year since 2018.
These disturbing trends are the result of a combination of factors, including conflict, environmental and climate crises, and economic and health crises driven by poverty and inequality. Conflict remains a major cause of food insecurity. The Russia-Ukraine war has exposed the interconnectedness and fragility of the global food system, and global food and nutrition security will be severely affected. The report pointed out that the countries most affected by the war in Eastern Europe are those countries already facing severe hunger, mainly because these countries are highly dependent on the import of food and agricultural production materials, and will bear the brunt of the global food price increase.
The main reasons for the increase in food insecurity in 2021 include:
Conflict (the main cause of severe food insecurity for 139 million people in 24 countries, and about 99 million people in 23 countries in 2020);
Extreme weather (more than 23 million people in 8 countries and 15.7 million people in 15 countries in 2020);
Economic crisis (more than 30 million people in 21 countries and 40 million people in 17 countries in 2020, mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic).
The international community must act to avoid the largest food crisis in history and the social, economic and political upheaval that followed. The EU is committed to addressing all causes of food insecurity: conflict, climate change, poverty and inequality. To save lives and prevent famine, we must provide immediate assistance, but we must also continue to help partner countries make the most of the European Green New Deal and Global Gateway programmes to transform, build sustainable agri-food systems and resilient supply chain. "
There should be no hunger in the 21st century. Yet we see too many people being pushed off the path to prosperity. Today, a clear message resonated: If we want to prevent a major global food crisis, we need to act now, and we need to work together. I think the international community is capable of this task. Through collective action and pooling of resources, global solidarity will be stronger and more far-reaching. The EU leads by example in providing aid funding and combining it with humanitarian-development-peace efforts. The EU remains committed to working with the international community to address this food and nutrition crisis.
The tragic link between conflict and food insecurity has once again been highlighted and alarming. While the international community has bravely responded to the call for urgent action to prevent and alleviate famine, the resources mobilized are still unable to meet the growing demand and effectively address the root causes of the food crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and unrest in global hotspots and the war in Ukraine. This year's global report further demonstrates the need to address acute food insecurity at the global level in a humanitarian, development and peace context.
Severe hunger is soaring to unprecedented levels and the global situation continues to deteriorate. Conflict, the climate crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and soaring food and fuel prices have created a perfect storm, and the subsequent war in Ukraine has made it even worse. Hundreds of millions of people in dozens of countries are pushed to the brink of starvation. We urgently need emergency funding to pull them back and turn this global crisis around before it's too late.
The European Union, FAO and WFP, founding members of the global network, along with USAID and the World Bank, said in a joint statement to be released this week: "The current situation requires large-scale action, a shift to a comprehensive Preventive, predictive and more targeted approaches to sustainably address the root causes of food crises, including structural rural poverty, marginalization, population growth and fragile food systems."
The report concludes that there is a need for greater emphasis on smallholder agricultural production as a frontline humanitarian response when relief channels are blocked and, in the long run, helping to reverse long-term negative trends. In addition, there should be structural reforms in how external aid funds are allocated so that hunger can be fundamentally addressed by gradually reducing reliance on humanitarian aid by investing in long-term economic development. At the same time, we need to work together to make humanitarian aid more effective and sustainable. Likewise, strengthening the coordination and integration of humanitarian, development and peacekeeping efforts to complement each other and ensure that they do not inadvertently lead to further exacerbations of conflict can also contribute to resilience-building and recovery.
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