Tuesday, 21 November 2017

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The launch of the 2017 Global Report on Food Crises

Launch of the Global Report on Food Crises, Brussels, March 2017

The Global Report on Food Crises was officially launched at the Brussels Museum of Natural Sciences on March 31 by the The European Commission DG-DEVCO and DG-ECHO, in collaboration with FAO and WFP.

Since 2014, the European Commission has requested a yearly scientific report from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), in order to highlight food crisis hotspots.

In May 2016, during the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul, the EC along with its main global partners WFP, FAO and JRC, agreed to launch the Global Network against Food Crises.

In that occasion, EU Commissioners Mimica and Stylianides proposed a consensus-building and coordination platform to combat food insecurity from both humanitarian and development perspectives, and tackle the root causes of these crises.

The Global Network was then enriched thanks to the involvement of additional partners, such as other UN agencies, single EU Member States, and regional economic organizations.

The results of all these joint efforts are embodied by the first Global Report on Food Crises, which provides a transparent, coordinated and inclusive response to the tackling of hunger.

The presentation panel was chaired by Roberto Ridolfi, Director of the EU Commission for Sustainable Growth and Development at the Department for International Cooperation and Development.

The other participants included Ms. Marjeta Jager (DG – DEVCO DDG), Androulla Kaminara (DG-ECHO, Director C), Daniel Gustafson (FAO DDG), James Harvey (Assistant Executive Director and Chief of Staff, WFP), Lev Turner (USAID Food Security and Humanitarian Affairs Advisor at the US Mission to the EU-USAID), a Representative of the JRC, speaking on behalf of David Wilkinson (Director D, Sustainable Resources).

The panel highlighted how issues of food insecurity are particularly severe today, given the increasingly alarming situations in Somalia, Lake Chad, Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria. The call for action and the scope of the Report could not be more timely.

Famine is an extreme situation, yet after six years when it had seemed forgotten, it now looms dauntingly in the above-mentioned countries.

Before declaring famine, three conditions have to be satisfied: more than 40% of the population has no access to food, more than 30% of children are malnourished, and the death rate is double the standard.

The reasons for such grave food crisis, again, could be three: a production shock, an economic shock, and the inability to respond.

In the above-mentioned countries, the situation is worsened by the fact that there are places hardly accessible by humanitarian and food aid.

The availability of food aid is also worrying, as there is an unprecedented gap between the humanitarian need and the obtainable aid; the European Commission, in fact, updated its funding for aid, but much is still needed.

For all these reasons, therefore, it is crucial that Global Reports can provide coordinated and analytical data that allow for a calibrated decision and actions that aim at the core of the problems, both for an immediate response to help those in need and also for long-term investments to prevent the collapse of those still standing.

The panel finally invoked earlier and more realistic actions, under the guide of the Report findings, as well as increased awareness, in order to safeguard the future, make improvements and avoid deteriorations. It also wished for further engagements with more EU Member States so that solutions and analyses would have an even wider base.. 

 

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