World hunger crisis: where is government plan?
1 July 2022
The government does not appear to have a plan to tackle the catastrophic worldwide hunger crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and other factors, MPs on the International Development Committee said today.
A new report by the Committee said nearly 50 million people in 43 countries are on the edge of famine and that food shortages could, without immediate action, lead to an “explosion of child deaths” in the Horn of Africa.
However, the report said, the government’s main long term policy document on this subject - its ‘Development Strategy’, published in May - does not set out how it will provide food assistance to prevent this catastrophe, nor how the UK plans to contribute to averting such a crisis in the future.
The report set out the main factors causing the hunger crisis, including:
- Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports (pre-war, Russia and Ukraine exported 12% of food calories traded worldwide);
- price inflation (world food prices increased by 28% between 2020 and 2021 – and a further 29% between May 2021 and May 2022);
- extreme weather (a recent heat wave in India, for example, and a drought in the Horn of Africa both hit agricultural production); and
- other conflicts that destroyed local markets and restricted delivery of international assistance (for example in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Yemen).
The International Development Committee report made several recommendations for a comprehensive strategy to address food insecurity, including:
- increasing humanitarian funding;
- promoting sustainable agriculture;
- supporting Ukraine to deliver its food produce to internal and external markets; and
- working with international partners to avert famine.
The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said:
“We have not seen disaster on this scale since the Second World War. The government is not responsible for all of this crisis, but as one of the richer nations it is certainly failing to do enough about it.
“We need a comprehensive, workable strategy - not just reactions day by day. We have the resources and the expertise in this country to mount a meaningful plan. But it appears our government is fiddling while the world burns.” “We have not seen disaster on this scale since the Second World War. The government is not responsible for all of this crisis, but as one of the richer nations it is certainly failing to do enough about it.”