On October 16, 2022 a media meeting was held by the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment, in cooperation with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai, to mark World Food Day.
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, said that the crises and challenges facing our world today no longer distinguishes between developed and developing countries, and has put the health and lives of millions of people at risk.
“What we are witnessing is an accelerating aggravation of the consequences of climate change, conflict and unrest in many regions, which has directly affected the availability of food and the resilience and continuity of supply chains, threatening everyone with the impact of food insecurity,” she stated.
The Minister called on everyone to join forces in order to fast track efforts to achieve food security through initiatives and programs that take into account the requirements of environmental and climate action. She noted that the UAE has adopted the National Food Security Strategy that aims to strengthen the country’s food security, at a local level. Globally, in addition to helping many countries address hunger and food scarcity, it launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) in partnership with the US, which aims to raise investments worth US$8 billion in sustainable and climate-smart agrifood systems based on modern technologies.
David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, in his report, emphasized, “We are facing an unprecedented global food crisis and all signs suggest we have not yet seen the worst. For the last three years hunger numbers have repeatedly hit new peaks. Let me be clear: things can and will get worse unless there is a large scale and coordinated effort to address the root causes of this crisis. We cannot have another year of record hunger.”
The report also stated that the global food crisis is a result of several competing crises – caused by climate shocks, conflict, and economic pressures – that has pushed the number of hungry people around the world from 282 million to 345 million in just the first months of 2022. WFP scaled up food assistance targets to reach a record 153 million people in 2022, and by mid-year the organization had already delivered assistance to 111.2 million people.
WFP and humanitarian partners are holding back famine in five countries – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
Global conflicts have led to communication disruptions, restrictions to humanitarian access, and have displaced communities, consequently drivin the most vulnerable layers of the population into catastrophic hunger. The conflict in Ukraine is one example of disrupted global trade that has led to severe consequences reverberating around the world.
Another important factor includes climate shocks, which are increasing in frequency and intensity, leaving those affected no time to recover between disasters. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) are particularly worst hit by the climate crisis. The MENA region is also warming at twice the global average exacerbating pressure on resources in the food systems cycle affecting approximately 40 million people in the region.
WFP reported on its operational plan for 2022. The plan prioritises action to prevent millions of people from dying of hunger while working to stabilise – and where possible build – resilient national food systems and supply chains.
WFP also continues to diversify its supplier base, including boosting local and regional procurement: so far in 2022, 47 percent of the food WFP has purchased is from countries where the organization operates – a value of US$1.2 billion. WFP has also expanded the use of cash-based transfers to deliver food assistance in the most efficient and cost-effective way in the face of these rising costs. Cash transfers now represent 35 percent of WFP's emergency food assistance.
WFP has secured US$655 million in contributions and service provision agreements from international financial institutions to support national social protection systems. Similar efforts are underway to expand innovative climate financing partnerships. WFP continues to support governments with supply chain services, such as the procurement and transport of food commodities to replenish national grain reserves to support national safety net programmes.
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