The Future is Equal

Response to global hunger catastrophically inadequate

Today’s “Global Report on Food Crises” – led by the UN along with 16 partner organisations including Oxfam – says that more than 193 million people across 53 countries are experiencing acute hunger and require urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance. 

Oxfam Global Food Security and Livelihoods expert, Emily Farr, said: 

“It is deeply concerning to find extreme hunger increasing to a magnitude never seen before. 40 million more people have been pushed to extreme hunger, nearly a 25 percent surge since last year, and 80 percent since 2016. But tragically, this comes as no surprise. Even as the alarm bells have been sounding, governments across the globe collectively failed to tackle this mass suffering and deprivation.

“There are no more excuses. All the warnings are there for countries facing famine-like conditions such as Ethiopia, South Sudan and Yemen. The world has the tools that have anticipated this worsening hunger, and yet continues to choose not to act fast or adequately enough.   

“G7 governments and the EU have pledged US$2.6 billion into the UN’s humanitarian appeals to date but these pale in comparison to the promises they made last year to commit $8.5 billion to end famine. To make matters even worse, some rich countries have effectively cut some of their humanitarian aid to countries facing mass hunger, malnutrition and starvation such as Mali and Syria, as they diverted aid to other crises.  

“Global crises, worsened by the economic turmoil of COVID-19 and more recently by the Ukraine conflict, have pushed food prices to an all-time high in March 2022 – up by 12.6 percent over February – which is putting food ever more out of reach for millions of people. 

“Mariam, a Somali girl suffering severe malnutrition, has done nothing to cause a global pandemic, the Ukraine war or the climate crisis. Yet governments responsible for these crises have largely chosen to forget Mariam and millions of children like her.  

“Hunger, in a world of plenty, is an avoidable tragedy. Rich countries can save millions of people if they immediately fund the UN global appeals. They can save lives now. Warring parties can help avert hunger by allowing aid to reach those at risk of dying from food insecurity and malnutrition. 

“G7 nations also must meet their responsibilities to cut their CO2 emissions. They are most responsible for the climate crisis which is causing chaos for farming and agricultural systems, and driving hunger and displacement. They should pay low-income countries for the loss and damage they are suffering, and to help smallholder farmers – especially female farmers – to adapt to climate change. This is not a matter of charity, but rather a question of justice.” 

Notes to the editors 

  • The Global Report for Food Crises is an annual report published by The Global Network for Food Crises which is an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together. 
  • New OECD data shows that overall aid spending from 30 OECD members summed 179 billion dollars in 2021. Rich countries only committed 0.33 percent of their gross national income (GNI) to development aid, the same as 2020, and well below the 0.7 percent they promised back in 1970. In 2021, just 5 countries – Luxembourg, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Denmark – have lived up to this promise. 
  • Recently, Oxfam has expressed concern that some donor governments are already shifting aid budgets to pay for Ukrainian assistance and the costs of hosting more than 4.5 million people who have fled the country recently. Compared to 2020, aid for hosting refugees has not changed and is stabilising at 5.2 percent since its peak in 2016 when it amounted to 11 percent of aid. The current statistics do not take into account 2022 aid which has seen this shift towards aid diversion.