The New Face of Global Hunger - UN Secretary-General

The price of food is soaring. The threat of hunger and malnutrition is growing. Millions of the world's most vulnerable people are at risk. An effective and urgent response is needed.

The first of the Millennium Development Goals, set by world leaders at the UN summit in 2000, aims to reduce the proportion of hungry people by half by 2015. This was already a major challenge, not least in Africa where many nations have fallen behind. But we now face a perfect storm of new challenges.

The price of basic staples-wheat, corn, rice-are at record highs, up 50 percent or more in the last six months. Global food stocks are at historic lows. The causes range from rising demand in major economies like India and China to climate and weather-related events such as hurricanes, floods and droughts that have devastated harvests in many parts of the world. High oil prices have increased the cost of transporting food and purchasing fertilizer. Some experts say the rise of biofuels has reduced the amount of food available for humans.

The effects are widely seen. Food riots have erupted in countries from West Africa to South Asia. Communities living in countries where food has to be imported to feed hungry populations are rising up to protest the high cost of living. Fragile democracies are feeling the pressure of food insecurity. Many governments have issued export bans and price controls on food, distorting markets and presenting challenges to commerce.

In January, to cite but one example, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai appealed for US$77 million to help provide food for more than 2.5 million people pushed over the edge by rising prices. In doing so he drew attention to an alarming fact: the average Afghan household now spends about 45 percent of income on food, compared with 11 percent in 2006.

This is the new face of hunger, increasingly affecting communities that had previously been protected. And, inevitably, it is the so-called "bottom billion" who are hit hardest: people living on one dollar or less a day.

When people are that poor, and inflation erodes their meager earnings, they generally do one of two things: they buy less food, or they buy cheaper, less nutritious food. The end result is the same-more hunger and less chance

of a healthy future. The UN's World Food Program is seeing families who previously could afford a diverse, nutritious diet dropping to one staple and cutting their meals from three to two or one a day.

Experts believe that high food prices are here to stay. Even so, we have the tools and technology to beat hunger and meet the goals of the MDGs. We know what to do. What is required is political will and resources, directed effectively and efficiently.

First, we must meet urgent humanitarian needs. This year, WFP plans to feed 73 million people globally, including as many as 3 million people each day in Darfur. But to do so, the WFP requires an additional US$500 million simply to cover the rise in food costs. (Note: 80 percent of the agency's purchases are made in the developing world.)

Second, we must strengthen UN programs to help developing countries deal with hunger. This must include support for safety-net programs to provide social protection, in the face of urgent need, while working on longer term solutions. We also need to develop early warning systems to reduce the impact of disasters. School feeding-at a cost of less than 25 cents a day-can be a particularly powerful tool.

Third, we must deal with the increasing consequences of weather-related shocks to local agriculture, as well as the long-term consequences of climate change-for example by building drought and flood defense systems that can help food-insecure communities to cope and adapt.

Lastly, we must boost agricultural production and market efficiency. Roughly a third of food shortages could, to a significant degree, be alleviated by improving local agricultural distribution networks and helping to better connect small farmers to markets. UN agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, meanwhile, are working with the African Union and others to promote a "green revolution" in Africa by introducing vital science and technologies that offer permanent solutions for hunger.

But that is for the future. In the here and now, we must help the world's hungry hit by rising food prices. That means, for starters, recognizing the urgency of the crisis-and acting.

Uzbekistan to connect number of small industrial zones to utility networks
Uzbekistan to connect number of small industrial zones to utility networks
Consumers must protect IoT devices - Fortinet
Consumers must protect IoT devices - Fortinet
Azerbaijan's CBC radio starts broadcasting in Karabakh
Azerbaijan's CBC radio starts broadcasting in Karabakh
Loading Bars
Latest
Forum in New Zealand focuses on New Zealand-China economic cooperation, development opportunities
WHO head claims as global COVID cases drop to 630,000 per day
US Department of Energy retains forecast for Brent oil price at $62.3 per barrel in 2021
Samsung sees pandemic-led appliances boom extending run to rest of year
Next meeting on electoral reform to be held on May 14-16
Central Bank of Azerbaijan allocates funds to support financial literacy
Turkish State Mine Administration opens tender for rental of vehicles
Lending to electricity sector in Azerbaijan increases
Kazakh KazMunayTeniz to buy diesel fuel via tender
Iran's Petropars Company orders equipment from local manufacturers
Turkey reports over 14 400 COVID-19 cases
Some of children may be taken to Moscow for treatment after school shooting in Kazan
UN chief condemns Kazan school shooting
Gaza block collapses after Israeli strike, rocket hits Tel Aviv building
Kazakhstan supports solution of Palestinian-Israel conflict by peaceful means
Georgia likely to receive Novavax and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in July
Kazakhstan’s liquids production down in March - OPEC
COVID-19 cases decrease in 80 provinces in a week
Iran, Afghanistan discuss Afghan peace process
Israeli PM says to increase strikes against Gaza militants
Arab FMs kick off emergency meeting on Jerusalem tensions
Hamas and Israel step up attacks as Jerusalem unrest ignites Gaza
No need to evacuate people injured in Kazan school shooting to Moscow
Сompetition season of 2021 successfully started - European Gymnastics President
Identification of victims in Kazan school shooting completed
26 COVID-19 patients dead allegedly due to oxygen shortage in India's Goa
Japan's COVID-19 patients in "serious condition" hit fresh record high
Azerbaijani president, first lady express condolences to president of Tatarstan
President Aliyev expresses condolences to Russian counterpart
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on May 12
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise in Iran
Foreign investors waiting for decision related to FATF in Iran – official
Azerbaijani journalists view State Border Service's Military Hospital in liberated Gubadly (PHOTO)
Demand for OPEC crude in 2021 revised up
Turkish export of electrical goods to Azerbaijan drops
Shares of Kazakhstan's KAZ Minerals delisted from stock exchange
Export Development Bank of Iran to provide loans to startup companies
Data on cargo shipment through Turkish Kocaeli port over 1Q2021 revealed
Kazakhstan reports increase in new housing prices
Azerbaijan's ADIF continues compensating depositors of closed banks
Turkey sees increase in cement exports to Georgia
Cargo movements in Iran’s Shahid Rajaee port increase
OPEC marks increase in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil exports
Guaranteed wheat purchasing from farmers in Iran continues
Iran to inaugurate new airport in Kurdistan Province
Iran to build new factory at Amirabad port
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s liquids supplies in 2021
Azerbaijan reveals number of vaccinated citizens for May 11
Azerbaijan confirms 514 more COVID-19 cases, 1,306 recoveries
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 11
Iran’s PMO unveils volume of cargo transportation via Abadan Port
Iran shares unemployment data
Georgia export to Germany increased by 40%
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan eye accelerating implementation of roadmap for industrial co-op
FDA to attract funds to support reforms in Uzbekistan
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for spares for gas pumping units
Iran starts mass production of coronavirus vaccine
Russia boosts steel imports from Turkey
Volume of cargo shipment via Turkish Karabiga port in 1Q2021 revealed
Renewables to account for 90% of total global power capacity increases in 2021-2022
Annual renewable capacity additions reach highest level since 1999
Oil dips as pipeline outage fears ease, India weighs
First batch of Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Azerbaijan just a few days ago, more significant shipments expected later this month - Russian FM
Statements reeking of revanchism, are very dangerous, first of all for Armenian side - President Aliyev
Restriction on movement likely to ease in late May in Georgia
Since end of hostilities, we transferred all prisoners of war - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan shows goodwill in matters related to humanitarian issues - President Aliyev
Post-conflict situation, of course, dictates need for closer contacts at all levels - President Aliyev
Heroization of Nazism in all its forms - unacceptable - Azerbaijan FM
Gaza escalation weighs on shekel
Issue of unblocking transport in region must be prioritized - Azerbaijani FM
Humanitarian issues must be resolved as quickly as possible - Russian FM
Russian FM notes key factor in normalizing situation in Karabakh
Russia highly appreciates work of trilateral group of deputy prime ministers of three countries - Russian FM
Azerbaijan committed to fulfilling its obligations under trilateral agreement - Azerbaijani FM
Nine killed in Kazan school shooting
Second batch of Sputnik V vaccine to be delivered to Azerbaijan by late May - Russian FM
FMs of Azerbaijan, Russia sign plan of consultations for 2021-2022 (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan condemns all terror acts - Azerbaijani FM
Uzbekistan reveals number of vaccinated people
Uzbekistan considers attracting French companies to partake in state assets privatization
Uzbekistan signs memorandum of understanding with French Rothschild & Cie
Uzbekistan reveals numbers of companies with dominant position in market
Uzbekistan taking measures to improve availability of public services
Iran and India trade declines due to COVID-19
Azerbaijani president congratulates Azerbaijani people on Ramadan holiday
Armenian railways are owned by Russian railways, therefore, we are discussing issue mainly with Russian side - President Aliyev
Indian Army sets up 100-bedded hospitals in Faridabad, Chandigarh, Patiala
Indian FY22 growth may slip to 8.2%: Crisil
Twitter Donates $15 Million For COVID-19 Relief In India
President Ilham Aliyev criticizes statements of Canada's, France's MFAs: Let them mind their own business
Startups fight COVID-19: How healthtech startup Meddo is helping tackle the hospital bed crisis
Outpouring of support from US for India, Covid-19 help touches USD half a billion
Zangazur corridor must and will be opened - President Aliyev
PFPA-Musavat duo mobilized all their resources to overthrow Heydar Aliyev in Nakhchivan - President Aliyev
This visit to Nakhchivan has great symbolic meaning - President Aliyev
President Aliyev warns revanchists in Armenia: They shouldn’t play with fire
Military equipment available to Nakhchivan Army today probably superior to equipment of some advanced countries - President Aliyev
Russian FM visits tomb of National Leader Heydar Aliyev
There is no territorial unit called Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan - President Aliyev
All news