International Cooperation Needed to Confront Food Crisis

  • 12 July 2009

Although talk about the “global food crisis”‬ has recently subsided there could be an intensification of the crisis with passing time. There has been a recent escalation in warnings over possible aggravation of the problem in the future, if the world does not take requisite pre-emptive action. Maybe the global financial crisis, followed by the “swine flu” outbreak which recently turned into a global pandemic, seems to have diverted attention of the world from other important crises facing the world, still the severity of the food crises and the associated threat of mass starvation does not merit this fall in interest as international estimates point to an intensification of the crisis with passing time. According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Report issued last June, over a billion people currently face starvation. This unprecedented number is far more than last year’s estimate, which was reached when the “global food crises” had peaked.

The FAO’s recent warning and the Group of Eight (G8) pledge during their recent summit in Italy to allocate $20 billion over three years to “eradicate hunger” underscores the severity of the crisis. The huge allocation of funds that goes into agricultural investment in developing and underdeveloped countries cannot be immune from the current “global financial crisis” and its ongoing fallout. The growing number of malnourished, due to falling income levels and rising unemployment, is a direct consequence of the global financial crisis. As the number of poor increases, more people are unable to access food across different regions?  UN estimates indicate that victims of starvation this year registered a dramatic increase of 11%, as a consequence of the “global financial crisis.” Despite major international efforts to combat starvation around the world, the crisis is showing no signs of abating. On the contrary, if the global financial crisis persists, it is feared other related crises might worsen. It is anticipated that starvation around the world would increase in the next 10 years, especially in the developing and underdeveloped countries. According to UN reports their numbers could rise to 642 million in Asia-Pacific region, to 265 millions in Africa, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean and 42 million in the Middle East and North Africa.

‮‬ As ‬ the global food crisis ‬ is inseparable from other crises currently besetting the world, we need a global program that tackles these crises collectively, while also taking into account the interests of all communities and their special circumstances.