For the first time in more than a decade, the United Nations reported a sharp increase in hunger around the world. Reacting to the news, Oxfam International’s executive director Winnie Byanyima said:
“This is a disgraceful failure of our international leaders and institutions. The ground we’ve painstakingly gained throughout the years can easily be lost; today is proof of that. This is the ugly truth of inequality: hundreds of millions going hungry, while a handful of multi-billionaires gorge more wealth than all combined.”
The UN report largely attributes the increase on “the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks,” and points to the role they played in the famine in South Sudan, as well as the high risk of famine in Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen.
“Hunger is not about a lack of food; we grow more than enough to feed the world. We must find real, lasting solutions to the root problems. This means pushing for peaceful resolutions to violent conflicts; it means curbing carbon emissions and helping communities adapt to the changing climate now; it means investing in women, who are at higher risk of falling into hunger than men.”
“These are not new ideas. For years, the people we work with—small-scale farmers, community leaders, refugees, and others—warned us that this ‘perfect storm’ of climate change, conflict, hunger, and poverty was brewing. Now that it’s here, let’s deal with it. We must not be the generation that admitted defeat against hunger,” said Byanyima.
Notes to editors:
The United Nations report says 815 million people were hungry in 2016, 38 million more than the previous year.
The full report can be found here.