Statement by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on the decision to provide an additional one billion euro to tackle the global food crisis
The world finds itself in the midst of a food crisis of historic proportions. At present, 828 million people around the globe are malnourished – that is more people than live in the whole of Europe. Russia has aggravated this situation further with its war of aggression against Ukraine. Especially for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, this is therefore quite literally a matter of life and death.
It is not only our responsibility but also in our interest not to abandon these people to their fate – not least to prevent further instability in our neighbourhood. The German Government will therefore mobilise an additional billion euro before the end of this year to tackle this acute crisis. The Federal Foreign Office will use just under half of this sum to increase its humanitarian assistance, thus providing millions of people in need with basic foodstuffs within a short space of time. These include people in Pakistan, large parts of which are still flooded. They include families in the Horn of Africa, who no longer know what to feed their children after the fifth consecutive failed rainy season. And they include people in the parts of Ukraine devastated by Russia, who are now facing a hard winter. With this “billion against hunger”, Germany is sending a message of hope, and I call on all states able to help to join us in this effort.
However, these funds must not remain a drop in the ever-rising ocean. That is why we need concrete pledges at the ongoing COP27 on reaching the Paris climate targets. For the climate crisis is one of the biggest drivers of hunger around the world. Ever more severe and ever more frequent storms, flooding and droughts are depriving people around the globe of their livelihoods. They wash away entire tracts of land, destroy harvests, cause herds to die and dry out fields. If humanity wants to have a future, we have to limit global warming. Every tenth of a degree counts.
Some 828 million people around the world are suffering from hunger or malnourishment. The primary drivers behind the rise in global hardship are climate change, armed conflicts and the impact of the pandemic. In particular, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has had dramatic consequences. It has plunged millions of people in Ukraine into hardship and has indirectly aggravated the global food crisis by pushing up food prices.
Germany has massively expanded its humanitarian engagement during the last ten years: from around 270 million euro in 2012 to 2.77 billion euro this year. The additional payment of 495 million euro will take German humanitarian assistance to a new high of 3.265 billion euro. This year, therefore, Germany will remain the second largest donor behind the United States.
The additional funding will mitigate the current global crisis in food security. The World Food Programme (WFP), for example, has received 207 million euro, almost half of the amount, to supply food to people in need. This will allow WFP to provide food to people in the Horn of Africa, who have been hit especially hard by climate change. People in Pakistan, many of whom have lost their harvest due to the flooding, will also be given further support by WFP to the tune of 10 million euro.