UN and partners meet to address ‘critical’ state of global food crisis |
Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and ongoing conflicts caused nearly a billion people to go hungry last year, he said.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has warned that the conflict in Ukraine will push 95 million more people into extreme poverty and 50 million into starvation this year.
“Frankly, we had already not reached our food security targets before 2020. However, the situation is now critical,” Shahid said.
“The shocks of multiple global crises have weakened our institutions, our economies and tested our ability to respond effectively.”
He stressed that despite this grim picture, countries cannot give up hope. They must collectively mobilize to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in the world, and also to tackle the factors that cause them.
Mr. Shahid also underscored the need to prioritize food security in the world’s least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, whose citizens “are generally obliged to devote most of their income goes to basic necessities, including food, and are therefore disproportionately affected by rising food prices.
Interdependence, not isolation
These countries must also receive support to achieve a sustainable transformation of their food systems, in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Food Systems Summit held last year.
Shahid said that as countries implement more sustainable and environmentally friendly food practices, they must also address food security as part of a broader multilateral agenda that recognizes both the interconnectedness of current challenges and the futility of trying to solve them unilaterally or in isolation. .
Food systems must be able to deliver healthy, affordable, sustainable and inclusive diets. They must also become a powerful driving force to eradicate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
“Among the actions we need to take immediately are building climate resilience in food systems, strengthening food environments and changing consumer behavior to promote dietary patterns that have positive impacts on human health and the environment. environment,” he said.
“Solving food security also requires us to end conflicts and pandemics that disrupt supply chains; repair our relationship with nature and ensure sustainable agriculture; and strengthen global institutions that fight poverty and hunger.
A “critical moment”
Mr. Shahid hosted the high-level special event alongside the Committee on World Food Security and the UN Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance.
In a video message to the meeting, UN chief António Guterres praised partners for joining forces at what he called “this critical moment”, noting that the number of people in severe food insecurity has doubled in the past two years.
“We face a real risk of multiple famines this year. And next year could be even worse. But we can avert this disaster if we act now,” Mr. Guterres said.
The Secretary-General stressed the need to immediately reintegrate Ukraine’s food production, as well as Russia’s food and fertilizers, into world markets and maintain open world trade.
He also called for addressing the financial crisis in the developing world and urgently releasing resources to improve social protection and help smallholder farmers increase their productivity and self-reliance.
Countries must also transform food systems at all levels to make affordable, healthy and sustainable diets accessible to everyone, everywhere.