The Strategist

UN names causes of global food shortages

07/27/2021 - 08:51

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called climate change and political conflict both a consequence and a major cause of poverty, income inequality and high food prices around the world, the Associated Press quoted the Portuguese politician as saying.

Guterres said three a healthy diet is currently unaffordable to one billion people. In July, the UN reported that 161 million more people will face hunger in 2020 than the year before - likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Secretary General pointed out that the global food system is responsible for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions and 80 per cent of biodiversity loss.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN agency that helps smallholder farmers, called on governments to "correct the flaws in food systems" that keep hundreds of millions of people poor and hungry. Fixing the situation will help produce food more ecosystem-friendly and increase wages for food workers.

Guterres said the preparatory meeting ahead of the summit on food systems could spur authorities in many countries to fight for an equitable and sustainable post-pandemic recovery. However, such efforts will require significant investments of money.

Maximo Torrero, chief economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said it would cost $14 billion a year to lift 100 million people out of chronic malnutrition. And to completely eliminate hunger by 2030, the annual amount would need to be tripled. The UN predicts that the goal will not be met - 660 million hungry people will be left in the next decade, 30 million of whom will be affected by the "long-term effects of the pandemic".