Global Food Security Call to Action Meeting

Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, has chaired a “Global Food Security Call to Action” meeting of foreign ministers from around 30 countries with the aim of reviewing the urgent development and humanitarian needs and identifying steps to address the challenges of global nutrition, food security, and resilience. This meeting has been held days after India decided to ban wheat exports so that skyrocketing prices in the country due to shortages can be checked.

What were the appeals made at this meeting?

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General underlined during the meeting that hunger levels across the world are at an all-time high and the nations must join together to overcome the surges in global food insecurity. In the world, the number of severely food insecure people has increased to 276 million from 135 million in the past two years. Around half a million are also facing famine conditions which is an increase of over 500 per cent since 2016. Appeals have been made at this meeting for global cooperation to mitigate the challenges that are being faced.

How are climate change, COVID-19 and the war between Russia and Ukraine affecting global food security?

Due to the ever-increasing climate emergency global hunger is skyrocketing. Across the world, 1.7 billion people have been affected by climate-related and extreme weather disasters over the past decade.

Along with this, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to economic shock that has affected the food insecurity as incomes got reduced and supply chains were disrupted. The developing states are falling into debt due to economic shocks.

Also, Ukraine and Russia account for around a third of the world’s barley and wheat and half of the total sunflower oil. Belarus and Russia are also the number two and three producers of potash across the world. Due to the war, this supply chain has been disrupted pushing millions of people toward food insecurity, mass hunger, malnutrition, and famine.

Who represented India in this meeting?

V Muraleedharan, Union Minister of State for External Affairs represented India at this ministerial meeting in New York. He expressed concern regarding the growing global food insecurity. The impacts on global food security due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have impacted the developing countries across the globe. The rise in prices of commodity and energy products along with global chain disruptions are affecting the developing countries severely. 139 million people across the planet have suffered due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict-induced food insecurity. He also highlighted that this situation must be addressed and it cannot be neglected any further.

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