Country: United Kingdom
Delegate Name: David Liu
United Nations Development Programme
Food Instability and Political Crises
The United Kingdom
David Liu, Forest Hills Northern High School
In the decade leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world saw an increase in our collective food security. As a result, more lives were saved, more children received an education, and quality of life improved. Once the pandemic hit, all our efforts capsized as food prices soared to unprecedented levels, leading to rising food instability. Just under 924 million people are affected by food insecurity at severe levels, an increase of 207 million since 2019. In addition, the number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared from 135 million to 345 million, and 49 million people in 43 countries are on the edge of famine. Even in the UK, our hunger levels have doubled since January, with nearly 10 million adults and 4 million children unable to eat regular meals. With the recent war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as other political unrest, the world has found itself in an alarming crisis, and the UK acknowledges that action must be taken to limit the effects of food insecurity before more damage is done.
As a widely recognized influencer of global markets, the UK stands in a position to assist other countries in their own respective food shortages. We developed a new aid strategy in May that addressed the underlying causes of humanitarian crises, including food insecurity. Between 2021-2022, the FCDO budgeted £198 million for food assistance aid. Further funding has been pledged this year, including an additional £372 million for countries affected by rising global food prices. In June, we also pledged £130 million to the World Food Program, a tremendous increase from £130 million in 2019. Regarding the UK itself, because we’ve been struggling through a cost of living crisis since 2021, we published a food strategy for England, which includes a couple of key points: first, we want to take measures to help farmers and food producers to manage input costs; second, we want to help businesses access more diverse supply chains; and third, we want to work with industry to create plans to raise the resilience of critical inputs such as carbon dioxide and fertilizer.
During this time of hardship, it is as important as ever to bind together and fight through this as one body. We believe that although each country is afflicted with its own economic burdens, this man-made global crisis requires a collective, global response. As stated by our Ambassador Barbara Woodward, “We have the food and the means to help the most vulnerable, but we must act now.”
We also want to pursue accountability for those using starvation as a weapon of war or as a method of control. In order to quickly send help to those most affected by this crisis, the international community must enable the free movement of food. If support is barred from being sent, it won’t matter how much money we pour into producing food, help won’t be able to reach those who need it.
Lastly, we urge Russia to end this war. This conflict between two countries has created a global shock that is impacting the world’s poorest. We urge that peace can once again be restored and that our world can collectively work towards improvement. The UK looks forward to offering our support to the global community. We stand in solidarity with vulnerable or afflicted countries and will play our part.