Humanitarian needs and acute food insecurity are on the rise. Agricultural activities that save livelihoods are crucial and urgently require large-scale funding – FAO Director-General
Stockholm / Rome – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) seeks $ 1.5 billion in 2022 to save the lives and livelihoods of some of the most insecure people food in the world, while acute hunger accelerates its march across the world. The announcement was made as part of the Large-scale United Nations humanitarian appeal launched today.
With less than 4 percent of the $ 41 billion required for all appeals for 2022, FAO aims to provide livelihood assistance to around 50 million people.
The intensification and spread of conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies, climate extremes and the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – compounded by the multiple impacts of the climate crisis – have pushed more and more people to extremes of poverty. hunger. As of September, 161 million people were acutely high food insecure, of which 45 million were at imminent risk of famine – a sharp increase from 155 million for all of 2020.
Rural people are on the front line. Two-thirds of those who suffer from acute hunger live in rural areas, depend on agriculture for their food and daily income, and their livelihoods are threatened.
Speaking at a high-level panel discussion at the launch of the Global Humanitarian Snapshot 2022, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu stressed that the only way to stop and reverse acute hunger is reallocate financial support to the agricultural sector, which currently receives only 8 percent of allocated humanitarian resources.
“The arc of acute food insecurity continues to climb, despite a parallel trend of increasing humanitarian funding for the food sector,” he said, stressing that agriculture is crucial to emerge from protracted food crises and that are getting worse and must be a fundamental part. immediate emergency humanitarian response.
Strategic agricultural aid, but underfunded
In 2021, humanitarian appeals linked to the agricultural sector were massively underfunded despite being among the most cost-effective frontline humanitarian interventions.
For example, in Afghanistan, where four in five acutely and highly hungry people live in rural areas, a $ 157 wheat-growing assistance program can provide a family of seven with enough basic food. for a full year.
Likewise, keeping livestock alive and protected from disease costs little but offers enormous benefits. For a family on the brink, just one cup of milk a day can mean the difference between life and death. In Yemen, for example, with just $ 8, FAO can vaccinate and deworm an average herd of five sheep or goats, protecting assets worth $ 500 in the local market.
To this end, the Director-General of FAO called on the humanitarian sector to be more strategic in the allocation of resources, helping vulnerable people to produce food where it is most needed. This requires providing farmers with seeds and fertilizers in time for the planting season, as well as better access to water and other resources, Qu noted.
Conflict and climate have an impact on the main drivers of acute food insecurity
The overall theme of the Global Humanitarian Snapshot 2022 – a global analysis of humanitarian needs released annually by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – focused on climate change and humanitarian action.
While conflict remains the primary driver of acute hunger, the climate crisis acts as a risk multiplier, affecting the socio-economic conditions, livelihoods and natural resources of people around the world and increasingly eroding their lives. capacities to cope with it. It also exacerbates tensions between communities.
Smallholders and rural communities as a whole bear a disproportionate burden of the impact of climate change, climate extremes and conflict. As the climate crisis worsens, the livelihoods of 2.5 billion smallholder farmers, fishermen, foresters and pastoralists are at increasing risk. In fact, in 2020, 15 major food crises were caused mainly by extreme weather events.
Act before the onset of crises
FAO stressed today that in addition to humanitarian interventions on livelihoods, there is a need to continue efforts to build resilience and scale up disaster risk reduction at the community level in order to avoid and minimize disaster. ‘impact of inevitable climatic extremes on food production and availability. It is also essential to increase resources for anticipatory actions related to early warning.
In 2020/21, FAO invested $ 250 million in anticipatory actions and, with the help of partners, the Organization aims to devote at least 20 percent of its emergency funding to emergency actions. anticipation by 2025.
Today’s event in Stockholm is one of six sequential launches to showcase the Global Humanitarian Snapshot (GHO) 2022 taking place in various global capitals. This event was co-organized by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.