re posted from EIR Daily Alert Service
UN Survey Shows 3 Billion without Reliable Nutrition, More Than 200 Million in Acute Food Emergency
July 13 (EIRNS)—The latest world survey shows hunger increasing from COVID-19 impact, on top of five years of a worsening situation. Heads of a panel of UN agencies released their report at a virtual summit today, also addressed by UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad Bande, UN Ambassador from Nigeria, and UN Secretary General António Guterres, who spoke of his plan for a world “Food Systems Summit” in 2021. Up until 2014, some progress was made in the world picture of hunger, but since then it has worsened every year.
“I said 2020 would be worse than World War II” for a food emergency, said David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP), who stressed that he gave this forewarning, “even before” the locust outbreak in Africa and South Asia, and the pandemic.
Details are given in “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020,” issued by the FAO, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development . The report, which these agencies issue annually and which is also known as SOFI, is available in English and other UN languages.
In brief, as Beasley put it, in the last four to five years, there have been some 777 million people in chronic hunger, which number in 2019 has risen to 821 million, and is now rising much more. He expressed special concern for those thrown into “acute” food insecurity, who are “marching toward the brink.” He thinks that this category “before COVID-19,” was 80 million a few years ago, then reached up to 130 million, and by the end of this year could be 270 million people. In other words, a “scale up by 130-140 million.”
The new survey reports that overall, 3 billion people do not have reliable means to get a nutritious diet. Of that number, 2 billion people do not have safe access to food. And of that, an estimated 144 million children are stunted, and 47 million are suffering wasting.
Beasley called on everyone to “come together” and prevent the crisis now worsening. It is “not a time to retreat on coordination.” He said that, “there is enough wealth in the world to feed every single person in the world.” We have to “prevent a catastrophe in the history of mankind.” The WFP is handling the logistics for emergency food, and humanitarian aid connected to COVID-19, and other purposes as well. He said that “the WFP is the backbone for the humanitarian world.” They are operating in 138 nations in the last few weeks. They are pre-positioning food in certain regions, and have appealed for $2 billion in order to do that. In 2019, the WFP raised and spent $8.4 billion, and in 2020, $10 billion and more.
Most of the three hours of presentations addressed the dimensions of the hunger crisis, with little on the systemic causes—the decades of casino economics, the cartel domination of much of food and farming, and overall the British Empire financial model, now crashing. This was pushed into the background. In fact, Gilbert Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), asserted that the chronic lack of food is not a global agriculture production problem, because there is enough output to feed 10 billion people. In other words, he discounted that “the system,” itself, internationally, must be changed. Many speakers chose to stay in the safe zone of denouncing waste of food, and other real but secondary issues.
The two Food and Agriculture Organization spokesmen came closest to addressing the necessity for a new system that supports farmers and productivity, and which can supply food for all. FAO Director General Qu Dongyu said that we “need an honest design for national development.” Qu’s past experience is in the successful anti-poverty program of his native China. Qu said that, development action should come from nations and their farmers, and there must be cooperation to reverse the “chain of decline.” Otherwise there is no way out. FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero Cullen pointed to the crisis of farmers in many highly productive regions now getting lower prices, because of the drop in demand for their output during the pandemic. They face ruin. “We can’t allow these regions to fail, given that they are huge suppliers to the world.”
Source: EIR Daily Alert Service