Press release | Date: 04/10/2022 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The world is facing the worst global food crisis in modern history. According to the UN, 50 million people in 45 countries are on the brink of famine. This week, Norway is providing NOK 55 million for efforts to combat hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and DR Congo.
The hunger crises affecting many parts of the world have largely been caused by a growing number of armed conflicts and extreme weather due to climate change. The economic ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic and the dramatic increase in prices for food, fertiliser and fuel in recent months as a result of the war in Ukraine are further compounding the situation.
‘Food security and the fight against hunger is a priority area in Norway’s humanitarian efforts. The work being carried out by the UN, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other humanitarian organisations is crucial to save lives,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
According to the UN, 828 million people worldwide are affected by hunger, while 345 million people in 82 countries are facing acute food insecurity. Despite record-high humanitarian aid budgets, the funding gaps for the UN’s humanitarian operations and for the activities of the humanitarian organisations are growing. The World Food Programme faces a shortfall in funding of over NOK 150 billion for the implementation of its food distribution programme over the next six months.
‘However, what is most alarming is that as many as 50 million people in 45 countries are on the brink of famine. We cannot sit idly by and watch this happen,’ said Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.
In light of the current situation, the Norwegian Government is planning to launch a new strategy on food security this autumn. The aim is to enhance food security at the local and national level by targeting efforts towards supporting small-scale food producers and their value chains, and promoting climate resilience.
‘The war in Ukraine could not have come at a worse time. Even before the war, food prices in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen were soaring and a huge number of people did not have secure access to food. It has now become much more expensive to buy and transport food. I am very concerned about the future of millions of people,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
Norway’s humanitarian budget for 2022 amounts to a total of NOK 7.8 billion. This includes the first additional allocation of funding to Ukraine. Norway’s efforts are focused on countries where there are widespread unmet humanitarian needs, and are based on the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. The protection of civilians from violence and abuse is a key priority.
‘It is vital to ensure that humanitarian support to Ukraine is not provided at the expense of efforts to alleviate humanitarian crises in other parts of the world. The war in Ukraine is exacerbating many humanitarian crises across the globe. We have therefore made sure that the level of humanitarian aid to other crises is maintained,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.