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G7 nations pledge additional $4.5 billion for food aid

Up to 323 million people worldwide are at risk of starvation due to the pandemic, climate change, global economic woes and warfare including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said the leaders of the world’s leading democracies. The Group of Seven committed an additional $4.5 billion on Tuesday “to protect the most vulnerable from hunger and malnutrition.”

The G7 Statement on Global Food Security, issued on the final day of the annual summit meeting, also called on Russia to end its blockage of Urkrainian ports on the Black Sea and to remove its restrictions on export of Russian grain and fertilizer. Russia and Ukraine are among the leading wheat exporters of the world and Russia is the largest fertilizer exporter.

senior administration official said the United States would provide half of the new funding, to be distributed to more than four dozen countries and regional organizations. The U.S. aid would include $2 billion “to help save lives through direct humanitarian interventions.” The rest would be spent on enhancing resilience and productivity of food systems around the world.

With the new funding, G7 nations would devote more than $14 billion toward global food security this year, said the statement.

“The $4.5 billion announced is a fraction of what is needed,” said Oxfam International. “We need at least $28.5 billion more from the G7 to finance food and agriculture investments to end hunger and fill the huge gap in UN humanitarian appeals.”

The 323 million people who were acutely food insecure or at risk of becoming acutely insecure was a record high, said the G7. According to an international aid alliance, acute food insecurity occurs “when a person’s inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger.” The World Food Program says up to 811 million people, more than 10 percent of the world population, “go to bed hungry each night,” a broader gauge of food shortages.

The charity Save the Children said the $4.5 billion in additional aid was welcome,”but this was a lost opportunity to come up with the kind of comprehensive package of support which was needed.” The G7 has no long-term plan to avert or mitigate the predictable cycle of crises that threaten food supplies for tens of millions of people, it said.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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