29 January 2018: The majority of the 815 million people affected by hunger worldwide live in conflict zones and their situation continues to worsen. According to an update to the UN Security Council provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), in half of the countries monitored, more than a quarter of the population faces emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity.
The Security Council update was based on the publication titled ‘Monitoring Food Security in Countries with Conflict Situations,’ which tracks food security in 16 countries affected by conflict using the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) scale. The IPC scale evaluates current or projected conditions using five levels ranging from “minimal” disruption of food security to “stressed,” “crisis,” “emergency” and “famine.” According to the publication, the proportion of the population facing crises and emergency situations in most of the countries monitored is increasing.
The report covers the following countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon regarding the Syrian refugees, Liberia, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and Yemen, as well as the transboundary Lake Chad Basin area.
The situation is most alarming in Yemen, were 17 million people accounting for 60% of the population are affected. In South Sudan, 45% of the population (4.8 million) faces crises and emergency levels of food insecurity, followed by Syria, Lebanon and the Central African Republic where one third of the population is affected. In Afghanistan, Somalia and Ukraine conflict is pushing one quarter of the population into food insecurity. While in other countries smaller parts of the population are affected, the report raises concerns about intensifying conflicts that lead to a rapid deterioration of the food security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lake Chad Basin and Sudan.
In all countries monitored, conflict is the main driver of food insecurity. According to a FAO press release, these data support the findings of previous reports that show that sustainable development requires peace building and conflict resolution efforts in addition to development, food security and nutrition goals.
The release of the Monitoring Food Security report coincided with the 30th Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU), which included a high-level event titled ‘Renewed Partnership to End Hunger in Africa by 2025 – Five Years Later: Taking Stock of Progress and Lessons in Light of the SDGs.’ Participants discussed the importance of inclusive agricultural growth for food security as well as the linkages between food security and climatic shocks, environmental degradation, crop and livestock prices, and conflict. Delegates adopted a communique outlining an 11-point action plan to renew the commitment of AU Member States to ending hunger in Africa by 2025, including investing in sustainable agriculture and social protection programmes. [FAO Press Release on Monitoring Food Security] [Monitoring Food Security in Countries with Conflict Situations] [WFP Press Release] [FAO Press Release on the AU Session] [UN Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on AU Session]
References: International Institute for Sustainable Development. 2018. Retrieved from http://sdg.iisd.org/news/conflict-continues-to-drive-hunger/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2018-02-06%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE&utm_content=2018-02-06%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE+CID_6d45e1b29a77180993f8274027c7d01c&utm_source=cm&utm_term=Conflict%20Continues%20to%20Drive%20Hunger