As the world reels from the effects of Covid 19 wherein, a report stated the risk to food security. Indian Prime Minister urged Global Financial leaders to focus on the “most vulnerable citizens.” He inaugurated the G-20 meeting on Friday, when the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukrainian War took place.
As the economy of the world continues to improve from scars done to the financial system due to the pandemic, Food security is now on the agenda as the recent hotspots report by the World Food Program suggests that the number of people succumbing to Famine or famine-like conditions is at an all-time high.
There is also a threat of Famine, with over 49 million in 46 countries under the ire; therefore, as India has taken the pedestal of the G20 Summit, We at inpac times shall delve into what Food Security is and why that becomes a moot issue in the Summit at the helm of world affairs by identifying specific areas of the world where concerns need to be addressed.
Defining Food Security
A term with much flexibility; there have been attempts, but most had to be tethered to suit various research or policy usages. However, they’re a more implicit definition for the world to follow.
However, at the World Food Summit in 1996, the definition of food security was defined as
“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” (Uribe, Álvarez et al., 2010).
It has four significant dimensions Physical Availability of Food, which states the “supply side” determined by food production, stock levels and net trade. Then we have Economic and Physical Access to food. This refers to the supply of food at the International or National level, and then we have food Utilization referring to how the body makes most of the various nutrients of the food. And finally, the four dimensions are the stability of access to food.
Food Insecurity Hotspot Regions based on the IPC (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) report
Acute Food Insecurity Classification: Africa
Food Insecurity Hotspot region: Central African Republic
In this Map of the Central African Republic, Three Provincial areas are at Phase 4 of the Acute Malnutrition Classification, which indicates it to be Very Critical; the statistics do suggest that nearly 214,000 children under the age of five and more than 98,000 pregnant or lactating women will likely suffer from acute malnutrition. About 67,000 children are probably severely malnourished and require urgent care.
Food Insecurity Hotspot Region: South Sudan
In this Map, South Sudan probably suffers the worst food insecurity, with many provinces having phase 4 acute malnutrition. Between July 2022 and June 2023, an estimated 1.4 million children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition based on analysis and estimations from the results of the SMART nutrition surveys.
Food Insecurity Hotspot Region: Somalia
Probably the worst country that suffers from Food Insecurity is Somalia. Almost all administrative regions baring, three administrative areas, are at Phase 4 criticality of Acute Malnutrition.
Based on the results from 25 integrated food security, nutrition and mortality surveys conducted by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and partners in June and July 2022 and subsequent IPC acute malnutrition analysis conducted in August, the total acute malnutrition burden for Somalia from July 2022 to June 2023 is estimated at approximately 1.8 million children (about twice the population of Delaware) under the age of five years (total acute malnutrition burden), representing 54.5 per cent of the total population of children, face acute malnutrition through the mid-2023, including 513 550 who are likely to be severely malnourished.
Acute Food Insecurity in Asia
Food Insecurity Hotspot Region: Afghanistan
In the maps, phase 4 criticality for Acute Malnutrition is observed in Afghanistan for the provinces of Badakhshan and Paktika are Critical, but several other provinces in Afghanistan, including. Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Jawzjan, Kabul Rural, Kabul Urban, Kandahar, Kapisa, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Panjshir, Parwan, Uruzgan, and Zabul provinces are on the verge of being critical as per the projections till April 2023 this as the Taliban are governing Afghanistan for the second year in running, some concerning statistics are nearly 3.2 Million cases of Children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished in need of treatment and 875,227 severely malnourished in that age group.
Even more concerning is that 804,365 pregnant or lactating women are acutely malnourished and need treatment.45-55% of households in these critical regions suffer from poor food consumed by children.
Food Insecurity Hotspot Region: Yemen
About 17 million people in Yemen are likely to experience acute levels of food insecurity. About 4.3 million people in Yemen are internally displaced due to the ongoing conflict.
The Importance of GFSI (Global Food Security Index)
The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) considers food affordability, availability, quality and safety, sustainability, and adaptation across 113 countries. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model constructed from 68 unique indicators that measure food security drivers across developing and developed countries (The Economist Group, 2022).
However, according to the GFSI report, Global Food Environment has deteriorated for the third year, threatening food security.
According to the report conducted by the Economist (The Economist Group, 2022), the world made gains in Food Security, but due to structural issues and COVID -19 the growth rate has reversed.
The Food security gap is widening in Scandinavian nations like Finland, Ireland, and Norway, with Japan with a high GFSI Index. What compounds the woes is that affordability, Food Safety, and quality had a massive decline. We shall investigate the below maps in detail to assess the state of GFSI.
Food Security the Agenda at the G-20
The discussions at this G20 will be focused on adhering to the sustainable development goals (SDG2), which have an agenda for the United Nations Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. During the Russia-Ukraine war, inflation remains an issue, with food prices soaring worldwide and the cost price increasing exponentially. With Hunger and malnutrition being more pronounced, G20 leaders would look at sustainable food systems to respond and mitigate shocks for the most vulnerable and build consensus towards designing resilient food systems with, for and by the people.