Feeding to survive is what many people try to do.
At the international level, there is a constellation of organizations whose mission is to fight hunger, including the world food program (PAM), I’Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
But despite these international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) striving to eradicate world hunger, the current situation is dramatic. World hunger rising steadily for the sixth consecutive year.
Member of the Human Rights Observatory of the Center for International Studies and Research of the University of Montreal (USED TO BE) and PhD candidate in political science, my research interests focus on climate justice, human rights and energy transition.
Millions affected by famine
According to WFP projectionsat least 345 million people will be food insecure by 2023. This is double the number registered in 2020. Currently we are talking about 43.3 million people whose life is seriously threatened by famine. This is ten times faster growth than five years ago.
One of the countries most affected by famine is Afghanistan, whose 90% of the population lives below the poverty line. Close behind are Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Nor should we forget Haiti, Honduras, Lebanon and Sri Lanka.
More generally these are about 828 million people, almost one in nine people who have no idea when their next meal will be. And children are far from spared from this crisis. At least UNICEF estimates so 40 million of them are malnourished in only 15 countries. They don’t get the bare minimum of a diverse diet needed to grow and develop. Moreover, in 2020 almost 149 million children under the age of five all over the world were hindered.
Human rights are not respected
The main causes of hunger in the world are known, and the list of the most affected countries confirms this: conflicts, inequalities and climate change. The war in Ukraine, one of the main wheat exporting countries, is also affecting supplies in many countries. Harvests have fallen by 50% in 2022.
In this context, there is unfortunately no doubt that the fundamental rights of these populations are being violated. Exactly 75 years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not honored. For example, Article 3 states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. However, starvation can lead to serious health problems and even death. The freedom of individuals struggling to survive is severely restricted.
Then Article 25 states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, particularly as regards food, clothing, housing […] Unfortunately, there is no doubt that millions of people have a standard of living that is clearly insufficient to ensure their overall health because their food is severely limited. This deficiency is likely to exacerbate several other health problems.
Finally, notwithstanding Article 28, it cannot be said that everyone benefits from an orderly environment, socially and internationally, such as the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration.
The the international community has nevertheless committed itself end world hunger by 2030, less than eight years from now. The main objective could not be clearer and more precise : to ensure that everyone, especially people living in poverty and vulnerability, including babies, has access to safe and sufficient food throughout the year.
However, international aid is currently insufficient to meet all food needs. Meanwhile, supermarket shelves in North America and Europe are stocked with food. While the third of all food produced on earth is wasted or lost.
In the same vein, only 47% of the funding for the fight against hunger through the UN humanitarian system. In other words, less than half of the funding is reached. The latter is mainly from the United States, Germany, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada. Private donors are also an important source of funding. It should be noted that WFP is funded entirely by voluntary donations, which will total nearly $14 billion. However, the lack of financial resources exacerbates other problems such as homelessness, poverty, major health problems and malnutrition.
Fortunately, solutions exist. In addition to a massive reinvestment in the World Food Programme, funds should be allocated to the owners of small agricultural and vegetable farms. The latter provide jobs, income and food. Thus, financial and material support would allow them to exploit the full potential of their culture. Moreover, targeted regional investments should also aim at preventing soil degradation, supporting sustainable agriculture and resilience of agricultural developments.
Secondly, setting up a universal school meal program should be a priority 370 million children all over the world come to school hungry. It would also be fully justified to impose a tax on the profits of large G7 companies, as suggested by Oxfam. Experts suggest so too each country allocates 1% of their gross domestic product (GDP). the food system and food-related research. Developing countries could receive assistance to meet the target.
Today we can only observe that the international system fails to preserve the dignity of individuals and guarantee their basic needs. The structures that the international community has put in place to deal with the problems are not able to cope with the current challenges.