On this World Food Day, food systems and global food security are at a critical moment. The compounded impacts from a global pandemic, growing pressures from the climate crisis, high energy and fertilizer prices, and armed conflicts, including Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, have disrupted production and supply chains and dramatically increased global food insecurity, especially for the most vulnerable.
The human impact is staggering. At the outset of 2022, more than 190 million people had been driven into acute food insecurity. The war in Ukraine could add an additional 70 million people on top of that. Millions are facing hunger and malnutrition.
Conflicts are driving unconscionable levels of hunger as violence stops food from getting to the neediest. Pandemic disruptions to supply chains have destabilized food systems. High prices and availability issues are reducing fertilizer use. From the droughts in the Horn of Africa to the floods in Pakistan, we are also seeing how climate change poses a critical threat to our food supply. Parts of Somalia are at risk of famine for the second time in just over a decade.
The work before us is clear. Only by working together can we overcome the global food security challenges we face. Earlier this year, the United States chaired a Food Security Summit at the United Nations, which launched the Roadmap for Global Food Security. At that meeting, we reaffirmed the commitment for world leaders to act with urgency and at scale to respond to the pressing global food crises and avert extreme hunger for hundreds of millions of people around the world. More than 100 countries have signed on to the initiative that calls on them to take seven actions, which include increasing fertilizer production and investing in climate-resilient agriculture.
The United States is leading the way. Last month, at the United Nations General Assembly, President Biden announced over $2.9 billion in new assistance to address global food insecurity. That announcement builds on the $6.9 billion in U.S. assistance to support global food security already committed this year. This assistance will save lives through emergency interventions and invest in medium to long-term food security assistance to protect the world’s most vulnerable population, often women and children, from the escalating global food security crisis.
There is no longer any doubt that food security is an issue of acute global urgency. So, on this World Food Day, let us be true to its theme – Leave No One Behind – because the health, the stability, and the wellbeing of all our people depends on the food security that we build together.