Berlin, 25 June 2022 (TDI): The US State Secretary, Antony J. Blinken shared that the US has committed nearly $2.8 billion to emergency food crises for hardest-hit countries, including horns of Africa, Yemen, Haiti, and Lebanon.

In addition, the US has $5.5 billion in new funding for global food security and humanitarian assistance.

Secretary Blinken made these remarks and urged the announcement of additional support for the cause, including the one from the President at the Global food security conference in Berlin, “Uniting for Global Food Security.”

Previously, the UN had reported that nearly 193 million people are struggling with food security worldwide. It listed climate change, Covid-19, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict as the major contributors to this global crisis.

According to World Bank Statistics, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has added 40 million people to the ranks of people suffering from food insecurity.

Sanctions on Russia

While discussing sanctions on Russia, Secretary Blinken said that exceptions are created for agricultural goods, fertilizer, insurance, and shipping necessary to move these products. This is precisely to avoid worsening the food crisis. Also, sanctions aim to cease Russian aggression in Ukraine quickly.

In addition, he said that nothing is preventing food and fertilizers from leaving Russia.

He elaborated that 25 million tons of grains are trapped in Ukrainian silos, which will rot if not exported. Further, he said that the Russian occupation and blockage of seaports in Ukraine are wasting the food supplies. This is triggering a global crisis.

The steps to resolving the crisis

Accordingly, Secretary Blinken proposed seven fundamental steps to address global food insecurity issues.

Contribution from all countries:

Firstly, he emphasized that all the countries must make substantial contributions to meet the humanitarian needs.

He stressed enhancing cooperation with humanitarian organizations like World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to meet the drastic increase in business costs.

Need for accelerated efforts by the UN:

Secondly, he underscored the need for accelerated and consolidated efforts by the UN to end Russia’s blocking of Ukrainian food exports through the Black Sea.

Leveraging the gap between global producers and consumers:

Thirdly, he stressed leveraging the gap between global fertilizer producers and consumers to enhance productivity.

He elaborated on the lack of access to fertilizers due to soring prices reducing access to it, especially in low-income countries.

He said President Biden committed $500 million to boost USA’s fertilizer production. In addition, the president has also launched a global challenge to raise $100 million for research and alternative development.

Discouraging restrictions on exports:

Fourthly, he said that the governments worldwide must resist restrictions on food exports and fertilizers.

Enhancing agricultural capacity:

Fifthly, Blinken underlined substantially enhancing the agricultural capacity and resilience around the world. For this purpose, he suggested improving the capacity building to leverage investments through international financial institutions.

Follow-up on initiatives: 

Sixthly, he underscored follow-up on initiatives within the international financial institutions to provide flexibility to countries for feeding their people.

Global exchange of information:

Lastly, he accentuated the global need for information sharing and coordination to identify needs and efficient ways to meet them. In addition, he said the global information-sharing networks are one of the key drivers behind the Global Alliance for Food Security launched earlier in Berlin.

To conclude, Secretary Blinken said data on growing food insecurity is available. But it is not useful without motivation and adequate resources to meet the pressing challenges.

He thanked his fellow participants for their presence and input in addressing the urgent global crisis and Germany for hosting the event.