We have to state it clearly: we are facing a global hunger crisis of huge dimensions. The figures are inconceivable and cruel: up to 828 million people were malnourished in 2021. That is around ten times the population of Germany.
It is therefore all the more critical that Russia is using the food crisis as a geopolitical weapon. Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is one of the main causes of the acute international food crisis. The fact that Ukraine is continuing to export grain to the world despite Russia’s attack is lowering global food prices and making a direct contribution towards alleviating hunger in many places. In contrast to Putin, Ukraine and we are not looking the other way when the impact of Russia’s war of aggression hits the poorest and weakest around the world. Together with France and the World Food Programme, we are sending two freighters full of wheat – donated by Ukraine – to the Horn of Africa, where people are currently at particular risk. This will provide food for several millions of people for at least one month. However, it is vitally important that the grain deal between the United Nations, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia is extended: Russia’s withdrawal would be reckless and would have dramatic consequences, especially for people on the African continent.
But these numbers should prompt each and every one of us to take urgent action. The fight against hunger is a priority of Germany’s humanitarian assistance. It would therefore be irresponsible to cut funding in this sphere in future. However, we also have to implement structural improvements, for example by doing more to resolve conflicts and combat climate change, and by investing more sustainably in agriculture. Germany’s G7 Presidency has made significant progress here. But we must back up this ambition even more explicitly both in terms of financing and political will.