World Food Day Amid a Global Food Crisis – World

International event highlights urgent need to strengthen social protection

Jack Spehn
Associate, Economic Justice and Rights
@jspehn

Today is World Food Day, which commemorates the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1945. In the midst of a global food crisis, this year’s theme “Leave No One Behind” marks a call to action for governments and UN agencies, private actors and humanitarian organizations to ensure the human right to food.

The prospects for global food security are bleak. The FAO Global Report on Food Crises 2022 estimates that 193 million people in 53 countries were food insecure and in urgent need of assistance in 2021. Millions more people around the world are facing soaring prices for basic foodstuffs caused by Covid-19-related supply chain disruptions, extreme weather events and conflicts such as the war in Ukraine.

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The World Food Program estimates that more than 6 million people, almost a third of the population, are food insecure in Sri Lanka as the country faces an economic crisis that has plunged millions into poverty. In Afghanistan, almost half of the country, almost 19 million people, suffer from high levels of food insecurity. According to the World Health Organization, more than 34,000 children will be hospitalized with severe malnutrition in 2022. The consequences of malnutrition can last a lifetime and include growth retardation, developmental delays and an impaired immune system. It’s also likely that many other children never made it to a hospital.

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Under international human rights law, everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, and the right to be free from hunger.

Governments and the international community must urgently support the most vulnerable by increasing funding for emergency food aid and strengthening social protection systems. Other influential players such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and creditor countries should not exacerbate the crisis by urging countries to implement austerity measures in the Covid-19 stimulus packages.

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Access to adequate food is a basic and essential human right. Increasing funding for social protection and ensuring affordable food is available are key to ensuring that truly no one is left behind.

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