New York, 19 May 2022 (TDI): The number of severely food insecure people have doubled in the last two years. Thirty-five million people suffered from food insecurity issues in the pre-pandemic era, while 276 million people are currently exposed to famine.

These statistics were shared in the Ministerial Meeting on global hunger at UN Headquarters by Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

While linking the cause and effect of food insecurity and conflict, Guterres said that hunger levels worldwide are at a new high. He called for action to combat global hunger and promote peace.

Global hunger and Climate Change

According to the IMO Chief, 1.7 billion people have been affected by extreme weather and climate-related disasters over the past decade.

He regarded climate change as another driver of global hunger and suggested promoting financial inclusion to address economic shocks of disruption of global supply chains.

While referring to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on growing inequalities, the Secretary-General underscored that the war in Ukraine is amplifying and accelerating climate change, Covid-19 and inequity.

He said that global food prices have increased by one-third, fertilizer by more than half, and oil prices by two-thirds in the last year. Ukraine and Russia produce one-third of the world’s wheat and half of the sunflower oil.

The war threatens to tip “tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger, and famine, in a crisis that could last for years,” warned the UN Chief.

Devastation faced by the Developing Countries 

While stating the current situation of developing countries, the Secretary-General highlighted the absence of fiscal space to cushion the blow of considerable increases in prices.

“If high fertilizer prices continue, today’s grain and cooking oil crisis could affect many other foods, including rice, impacting billions of people in Asia and the Americas,” he added.

While sharing the outcomes of growing inequalities globally, he underscored that millions of children and women would become malnourished and suffer from stunted growth.

The rate of child marriage will increase, and families’ survival is some of the unprecedented outcomes for the families. “High hunger rates have a devastating impact on individuals, families, and societies,” said the UN Chief.

While outlining urgent steps to resolve the short-term crisis of food insecurity, the UN Chief emphasized ending the Ukraine war to reintegrate it into food production resources.

He underscored that ending hunger is within our reach but requires practical solutions. He also emphasized strengthening social protection systems to ensure cash flow for food, water, sanitation, and nutrition.

He also urged governments to bolster agricultural production, invest in resilient food systems, and protect smallholder farms.

Likewise, the Secretary-General encouraged the humanitarian organizations to provide substantial funding to prevent famine and reduce hunger.

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