“Today, despite all the modern tools we have at our disposal, we’re experiencing the worst global food security crisis I have ever seen,” said U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield. “In Africa, one out of every five people [is] undernourished – one in five.”
“Food insecurity means families are not able to provide for their children. It means children not getting the nutrition they need to succeed at school. And in the worst cases, it means famine. And famine means death.”
“That’s why we have to be determined to stamp out hunger.”
To do that, she said, we must look at what is driving food insecurity in the first place.
“I see four clear causes: what I call the “E” and the three “C’s”. Energy. Climate. COVID. And Conflict.”
“Energy prices have gone up in the past year.” And because energy is indispensable in food production, high energy prices mean more expensive food.
The first “C” stands for climate change.
“The climate crisis is a crisis of natural disasters, of floods and storms and heatwaves. But it also directly leads to a food security crisis.”
The second “C” is COVID.
“COVID-19 gave us an immediate and additional shock to the system,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “Before COVID, 100 million people were food insecure. Three years later, just in three years, that number jumped to over 190 million people.”
“Then there is the third “C,” which I believe is the most insidious source of hunger,” said Ambassador Thomas Greenfield. “That is hunger caused by conflict. Hunger that is caused intentionally. Hunger used as a weapon of war.”
“All of these problems – energy, climate, COVID, and conflict – combine into a complex cocktail that has led to the worst hunger crisis of our lifetimes,” said Ambassador Thomas Greenfield.
Finally, because conflicts can weaponize hunger and force people to leave their homes, which puts strains on the food systems of surrounding countries, Ambassador Thomas Greenfield announced more than $127 million in additional humanitarian assistance “to support refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and persecuted people across Africa.”
“Now is the moment to work together across governments, across countries, between people, to end hunger,” she said. “Now is the moment to forge partnerships with civil society, the private sector, to galvanize the diaspora, to take advantage of new technologies and better techniques, to build the food systems and the structures of the future.”