The Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) for 2023 sheds light on the escalating trend of people experiencing acute food insecurity and requiring immediate food and livelihood assistance. The report indicates that over a quarter of a billion people are grappling with acute hunger, with economic shocks and the Ukraine war contributing to the surge. In 2022 around 258 million people across 58 countries and territories confronted acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels (IPC/CH Phase 3-5), up from 193 million people in 53 countries and territories in 2021.
Published by the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) in support of the Global Network against Food Crises (GNAFC), the GRFC 2023 is the reference document for global, regional, and national acute food insecurity in 2022 in GRFC-identified countries. The report is the product of a collaborative effort among 16 partners to attain a consensus-based assessment of acute food insecurity in countries with food crises. It aims to guide humanitarian and development activities with independent, consensus-based evidence and analysis.
In 2022, the world witnessed the worst food crisis in the seven-year Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) history. Five countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Yemen – accounted for over 40% of those in severe food shortage. Seven countries reported extreme food shortages even after resorting to survival strategies.
Malnutrition is also a prominent issue, with over 35 million children under five suffering from wasting in the 42 primary food crisis countries analyzed, of which 9.2 million had severe wasting.
Another growing problem is the number of forcibly displaced individuals in countries experiencing food crises. By mid-2022, the number of globally displaced people, including refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons, had reached 103 million. War, economic crises, climate change, and extreme weather were the main causes of the displacement.
Economic shock and high food prices, exacerbated by high debt, high-interest rates, and currency depreciation, are expected to be the major drivers of acute food insecurity in 2023. The war in Ukraine has also significantly impacted global food systems due to Ukraine and Russia’s significant contributions to the production and trade of fuel, fertilizer, and essential food items like wheat, maize, and sunflower oil.
The Need for Global Dialogue and Collaboration:
In Western countries, sustainability is often a topic of discussion, but the focus is mostly on local or domestic issues. However, the problems highlighted by the GRFC are global and require a broader perspective and collaborative efforts.
The recent Astana International Forum brought delegates from around the world together to discuss the importance of world trade, food, and energy crises and how the global community needs to unite to address these challenges. One of the delegates emphasized that there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone, but distribution could be more efficient and efficient. This needs to be addressed as part of the sustainable solutions.
It is crucial to recognize that food
security is a global issue, and what happens in Africa, Asia, or any other part of the world affects everyone. The crises in these regions should not be regarded as distant issues but as integral components of the global challenge that we all face.
To build a sustainable world, fostering dialogue and cooperation beyond our backyards is imperative. Engaging in a constructive dialogue incorporating the voices of those from regions most affected by food crises, like Africa and Asia, is essential. This would help in understanding the specific challenges these regions face and working together in developing tailor-made solutions.
A global approach to sustainability should encompass equitable food distribution, innovative agricultural practices, investment in renewable energies, and policies that tackle the root causes of displacement and insecurity. Also, supporting fair trade and empowering small-scale farmers, particularly in developing countries, can contribute to building a more resilient and sustainable food system.
Moreover, making the general public in Western countries aware of the challenges developing nations face can help garner support for global initiatives to combat food insecurity. People need to realize that in an increasingly interconnected world, sustainability and security are shared responsibilities.
The GRFC 2023 report calls for a united front in the battle against food crises. It is a rallying cry for governments, organizations, and individuals to unite with dialogue and coordinated action. This should not just be within our borders but should be a global conversation and effort.
In summary, tackling the rising tide of food insecurity necessitates a multifaceted approach that spans continents. We can pave the way towards a more sustainable and food-secure world through collective action, shared responsibilities, and global dialogue.