CHESTERFIELD, Virginia — The United Nations General Assembly functions as the policymaking sector of the United Nations where leaders analyze specific issues in hopes of reaching and implementing solutions. The 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly met September 13-27, 2022, in New York City. During the 14-day period, the Assembly addressed issues on global food security with the Global Food Security Summit clarifying which nations are currently facing extreme hunger and what caused this hunger. Soon after the Global Food Security Summit, President Joseph Biden revealed that the U.S. government will provide $2.9 billion in additional funding to fight global hunger.
Issues on Global Hunger
In 2021, 828 million people globally suffered from extreme hunger, which is more than 9.3% of the world’s population. Compared to 2015, these numbers spiked during the 2020 pandemic and continued on an incline into 2021. These numbers severely affect the next generation with 45 million children suffering from the deadliest form of malnutrition, and 149 million children experiencing stunted growth from lack of nutrients in their diets. In response, the United States, the African Union, and Spain met on September 20, 2022, during the Global Food Security Summit, which connects with the 77th Session of the United States General Assembly, to dissect the causes of increasing global hunger. Climate crises such as floods, droughts, wildfires and storms seem to affect global food security the most as these crises hinder agricultural production, cause unemployment and disrupt supply chains.
The Horn of Africa fell victim to climate catastrophes with 18 million people facing severe hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, the worst it has been in nearly 40 years. With low rainfall for four consecutive years, these countries face severe drought, leading to the death of millions of livestock and a drop in food production. About 420,000 Ethiopians and 800,000 Somalians have experienced displacement, seeking refuge elsewhere as the drought worsens.
In addition to climate issues, high fertilizer prices correlate with global hunger. Touched on at the Global Food Security Summit, fertilizer prices rose by 300% in areas such as Africa, leaving the continent to lack 2 million metric tons of fertilizer. Predictions show that Africa’s food production decline could lead to the continent losing more than $11 billion in food production value. The less food production, the less food there is to feed the growing populations.
President Biden’s Response
The day following the Global Food Security Summit, September 21, 2022, President Biden added to his previous $6.9 billion of aid given earlier in 2022 by providing an additional $2.9 billion to various programs fighting to mitigate global hunger:
- The USAID, a humanitarian organization working to advance global food security, received $2 billion to implement emergency food programs in countries suffering from rising food prices and supply chain disruptions. The money will also go to provide food and nutrition assistance, health care, clean drinking water and protection to these countries as well.
- Feed the Future, a program working to develop global agriculture and break endless hunger cycles, received $140 million for its new Accelerated Innovation Delivery Initiative. The initiative benefits smallholder producers and systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The goal is to accelerate the delivery of tools, technologies, and techniques to farmers to boost productivity and combat disrupted supply chains.
- The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, a program that links education and child development to agricultural performance, has received $220 million to reduce hunger while simultaneously bettering literacy rates, especially for young girls. Approximately 1 million children in Africa and East Asia will benefit from the eight new school feeding projects.
- Food for Progress, a program that modernizes agriculture in developing countries, received $178 million to develop seven development projects on four different continents, including Central America. The program partners with non-governmental organizations to optimize agricultural systems and boost trade capacity in these countries.
- The Millennium Challenge Corporation will later receive $245 million through the upcoming Malawi compact to support the new Accelerated Growth Corridors Project, which works to reduce transportation costs and connect goods, farms and people to shopping centers.
- The Global Agricultural and Food Security Program received $150 million, revamping the Call for Proposals since the start of the coronavirus pandemic nearly two years ago. Contributions serve to encourage other donors, both governmental and philanthropic, to donate towards GRASP’s mission.
A Step to a Better Future
As global hunger grows, so do programs and funding working to end it. The aid provided during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly is a step toward alleviating the issues presented on September 20, 2022, at the Global Food Security Summit. The U.S. continues to fight global hunger through its Roadmap for Global Food Security-Call for Action commitment, which works to provide quick humanitarian assistance, protection, and food systems to countries suffering from extreme hunger, and through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the United States Agency for International Development. All aid has the goal of lowering the rising rates of global hunger.
– Blanly Rodriguez