Headlines showing a looming food crisis have recently become a constant, from the UN’s recent analysis showing that the number of people facing acute hunger will rise by 47 million to 323 million, to news of 1.2 billion people now living in nations that are experiencing a "perfect storm" of food, energy, and financial crises.
This is as a result of underlying poverty and inequalities, that have been further compounded by COVID-19, climate change, and conflict. Food prices are at an all-time high, and since the invasion of Ukraine, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index — a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities — has recorded some of the greatest one-month jumps in its history.
The resulting effects on low-income households is that they are forced to cut back on nutritious foods, skip meals, and sell off their assets. Global food production is also under threat, and it may be unable to satisfy rising demand due to a lack of adequate fertilizer supply.
Yet a complete meltdown is entirely avoidable, and world leaders have the ability to prevent hundreds of millions from falling into poverty and facing hunger. Financing resilient food systems has never been more critical.
What’s the Solution?
Mounting an adequate response to prevent widespread hunger and malnutrition will require a multilayered approach that pairs immediate humanitarian response with long-term solutions and financial investments that aim to build local and resilient food systems.
The short-term will require a well coordinated multilateral effort that mobilizes billions in sustainable investments and delivers an immediate package of support to relevant UN agencies and civil society actors, ensures the secure release of grain and fertilizer from Ukraine’s port of Odesa, and prevents food related export bans.
In the long-term, investing in resilience will include doubling climate adaptation financing, including support for smallholder producers and financing agricultural research to enable climate resilience and food security.
Together, these will ensure support to the more than 800 million people in the world facing hunger.
What Can the G7 Do?
The G7 must act with urgency on food security and nutrition with immediate, near- and long-term solutions that save lives and prevents future crises by:
- Providing a minimum of several billions in new money at the G7 meetings, to achieve immediate impact and kick-off global mobilization towards the larger resources required. To effectively halt the looming crisis will need the several billions as articulated by the civil society working group on #HungryforAction. It is up to the G7 to take the first step in providing the foundational resources.
- Ensure the most effective coordination across initiatives and agencies, including the UN Global Crisis Response Group (UNGCRG), the International Financial Institution (IFI) Action Plan to Address Food Insecurity, the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM), and the Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS). In the absence of complementarity between the various initiatives, we are faced with an incoherent approach and counterproductive political jockeying. What is needed is a commitment by the G7 to leverage the multiple initiatives, not as discrete entities, but rather as a collective bloc that ensures adequate financial resources and advocates for a policy environment where efforts to curb rising food prices are possible.
- Actively aim to stabilize hiking food prices by preventing export restrictions that have the potential to impact net importing countries and secure future harvests by investing in long term solutions including doubling climate adaptation finance, prioritizing agriculture adaptation, and mobilizing financing for local producers and smallholder farmers.
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