Hunger rates remain high amid conflict, climate shocks, warns UN food security report
According to the Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, issued Monday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the need for external food assistance in 37 countries – either affected by conflict or adverse climate shocks – remains unchanged compared to the situation three months back.
“Civil war and insecurity are direct reasons for high hunger rates in 16 of those countries, ranging from Burundi to Yemen,” said FAO in a news release announcing the findings.
“Conflict is displacing millions of people, hampering agricultural activities and, in many cases, also driving basic food prices up sharply,” it added.
At the same time, inadequate and erratic rainfall is also posing a growing threat to food security in southern and eastern Africa, where many rural households have suffered from four consecutive drought-affected agricultural seasons.
In Somalia, aggregated cereal production for the country’s “deyr” rainy season is estimated at 20 per cent below average, and similar pattern in rainfall and yields has been observed in north-eastern Tanzania.
Furthermore, prices of staple cereals such as wheat, millet or sorghum continued to remain high as a result of removal of subsidies, increased demand, and weakening of currencies.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, inflation pushed prices to more than double in 2017 to a 42 percent annual rate.
Another factor driving up prices was the disruption of traditional trade routes due to violence, such as in and around the Sahel, as a result of which countries dependent on these routes (such as Libya) witnessed much higher prices as well as facing food shortages.
The FAO report lists the following 37 countries as currently in need of external food assistance: Afghanistan; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Guinea; Haiti; Iraq; Kenya; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Myanmar; Niger; Nigeria; Pakistan; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Syria; Uganda; Yemen; and Zimbabwe.
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UN chief appoints former New York Mayor as Special Envoy for Climate Action
“[Mr. Bloomberg’s actions have] has made an enormous difference, and makes us believe that we will soon be running faster than climate change, that we will soon be starting to defeat climate change, that the Paris Agreement [on climate change] can be fully implemented but with an enhanced ambition,” Secretary-General Guterres told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.
“We need that enhanced ambition in order to make sure that we reach the end of the century with an increase in temperature of about 1.5 and below 2 [degrees Celsius],” he added, referring to the central aim of the three-year-old Paris Accord, which set the stage for all countries to take ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.
According the UN chief’s spokesperson, Mr. Bloomberg – who earlier served as the UN Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change – will support the Secretary-General’s climate strategy and efforts toward the planned 2019 Climate Summit at UN Headquarters, which seeks to mobilize stronger and more ambitious action towards 2020 climate targets.
The Special Envoy will leverage efforts in key areas of the Climate Summit to encourage rapid and enhanced implementation of the Paris Agreement in the context of sustainable development.
The note further stated that Secretary-General will be engaging and inviting leaders from Governments, businesses, finance and civil society organizations with a view to bending the emissions curve by 2020 and accelerating the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
“The Secretary-General and Mr. Bloomberg share the perspective that the emissions gap needs to be closed soon to limit global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius. Climate Action, including those by cities and sub-national actors, play an essential role in driving ambition on climate change,” it added.
In addition to having served as the former UN Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change, Mr. Bloomberg was appointed by the Chair of the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
The Task Force – which has finished its work – has developed voluntary, climate-related financial disclosures for use by companies in providing information to lenders, insurers, investors and other stakeholders.
From 2002-2013, Mr. Bloomberg served as the 108th Mayor of the City of New York. He began his career in 1966 at Salomon Brothers, and launched the financial news and information company Bloomberg LP in 1981.
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UN launches new global data collection tool to help reduce disaster, losses taking ‘a huge toll’
Today’s young people are more connected, dynamic and engaged than ever and the Global Goals can’t happen without them, speakers told an annual United Nations forum, where young leaders called on the Organization keep its promise to ‘leave no one behind’ on the road to creating a prosperous wolrd for everyone on a clean planet.
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