As a mother of three, the thought of any child going hungry is deeply saddening for me, so I share your concerns on this important issue.
Unfortunately, food security has been deteriorating in many countries since 2015, due to conflict, climate change, shocks such as locusts, and economic slowdowns. Covid-19 is making this difficult situation much worse and may also drive new hunger hotspots. These challenges have, according to the UN World Food Programme, left 250 million people worldwide likely to face extreme hunger by the end of the year, with parts of Yemen, South Sudan and Burkina Faso on the brink of famine. This exacerbates the already high chronic hunger figure of 690 million world-wide and 2 billion overall moderately or severely food insecure. Without international attention, many more will die from hunger and disease, so we must do what we can to tackle this.
In April, the UK worked closely with other G20 members to agree a statement of the G20 Agriculture Ministers committing to close cooperation and action to safeguard global food security and nutrition. This included the commitment to work together to help ensure that sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious food continues to be available and accessible to all people.
As we host the G7 and COP26 Presidencies, the UK is leading a global call to action to protect the world’s poorest people from famine. In September, a package of £119 million was announced to combat the dual threat of coronavirus and famine. The package is expected to help alleviate extreme hunger for over six million people in Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Central African Republic, the Sahel, South Sudan and Sudan. The Foreign Secretary also appointed Nick Dyer as the UK’s first Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs. This is a welcome appointment which underlines the strength of the UK’s commitment to tackling famine and shows Global Britain leading the way as a force for good in the world.