Open Letter to UN Member States on the Global Food Crisis

Economic & Social Rights

We, the undersigned 238 non-governmental organisations working with the most vulnerable communities and witnessing the catastrophic effects of the unprecedented global food crisis unfolding, urgently request that you act immediately to prevent more unnecessary suffering.

From Somalia to Haiti, South Sudan to Yemen, Afghanistan to Nigeria, people’s lives in the most fragile contexts are being devastated by a global food crisis, fuelled by a deadly mix of conflict, climate change, rising costs and economic crises, exacerbated by COVID-19 and the Ukraine conflict.

Fifty million people are now just one step away from starvation. Over 345 million more are bowing under the crushing weight of hunger, struggling to feed their families and at risk of death.

Behind these statistics are real people and lack of action has horrific, real life and death consequences. For the woman who fled her country to escape the violence of war and now has her food ration halved or suspended completely. For the hungry child forced to drop out of school to work so their family can eat. For the young girl forced into marriage, where she faces sexual exploitation and abuse. And for the caregiver who makes the long journey to seek treatment for a severely malnourished toddler only to find the health clinic is closed due to funding shortages.

The international community and national governments are failing to meet their duty and have prioritised political and economic interests over the wellbeing of the world’s most vulnerable children, families and communities. While political leaders have made many promises, in the cities, towns, villages, and refugee and internal displacement camps where millions of lives hang in the balance, far too little has changed.

In a world of plenty, leaving people to starve is a policy choice. We call on you as world leaders to take urgent action to stem this crisis and prevent future ones. You must immediately deliver the funding needed to reach 50 million people on the edge of starvation to save lives NOW. You must also support vulnerable countries and communities to build resilience NOW. And you must take action to anticipate, prevent and prepare for subsequent crises to secure the future, including by delivering much needed climate finance, reallocated Special Drawing Rights, and meaningful debt relief.

We repeatedly miss the opportunity to prevent hunger and hardship from happening in the first place by not responding quickly enough to early warnings to save lives, build resilience, and make the smart investments needed to sustainably address hunger crises in the long term. If the pandemic taught us anything it is that prevention is more humane and much less expensive than waiting to respond. The lack of political will and institutional failure to act quickly before the worst-case hits means people are being left to lurch from crisis to crisis. People are not starving; they are being starved.

Accompanying this letter, we outline a set of specific recommendations to help address the current hunger crisis and prevent future crises, endorsed by NGOs across the world.*

We have already lost far too much time – the families we work with every day need action NOW. The lives of millions of girls, boys, women, and men depend on the bold and courageous actions you, the United Nations Member States, take – or fail to take – when you gather at the UN General Assembly in the coming weeks. We must not let people starve to death on our watch. There is no place for famine in the 21st century.

*To read the full policy recommendations and the list of signatories which includes EuroMed Rights, please visit the dedicated campaign page.