The global hunger call to action
The world is facing a hunger and malnutrition crisis. Despite decades of increasing global food production, nearly 1 billion people experience severe levels of food insecurity. The numbers of people experiencing acute food insecurity are estimated by WFP to be 345 million. Malnutrition is also on the rise. More than one in three people globally cannot afford a healthy diet, with women and girls worst affected. The number of children under five suffering from acute malnutrition is estimated to have risen to 60 million last year, and this preventable, life-threatening condition remains the single biggest contributor to childhood deaths. The UN has raised the alarm that SDG Goal 2, to achieve zero hunger and end all forms of malnutrition, is off track and will not be achieved by 2030. Action is needed now, to reverse this trend.
Food insecurity is being driven by multiple, long-term factors: entrenched conflicts, the intensifying effects of climate change, long-term economic disruptions and rising debt, and impacts of Covid-19, exacerbated by geopolitical events, including Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, its attacks on supply chains and impact on global food markets. Food production, agriculture and related land use, in turn, cause extensive nature loss and greenhouse gas emissions in different contexts. As populations grow and move, and diets change, pressure is mounting across the world to urgently develop more resilient food systems that benefit people, planet and prosperity.
The UK’s Global Food Security Summit
The Summit is co-partnered with Somalia and UAE as COP28 Presidency. It is developed with and sponsored by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
It will focus international attention on the deepening global food security crisis and help boost efforts to achieve Zero Hunger and end malnutrition (SDG 2). It will galvanise support for lasting solutions that turn the tide and prevent famine, wider food insecurity and malnutrition. Seeking to shift the dial on progress across four action pillars (below), it will shine a particular spotlight on UK-funded cutting-edge science and innovation. For a UK domestic audience, the Summit will showcase practical action achieving real, lasting improvements in people’s lives, delivered by UK expertise, partnerships and science.
The UK’s event explicitly builds from the UN Food Systems Summit and its follow-up Summit, Africa Food Systems Forum, September’s UNGA and SDG Summit, the CFS and the World Food Forum, and it also builds to COP 28 in UAE. It supports G7 and G20 food security-related work strands and complements Ukraine’s Food Security Summit later in November. Summit discussions will shape the UK’s continued campaign towards SDG2.
New partnerships for a food secure future
The UK Prime Minister will welcome 200 representatives of actors committed to ending hunger and malnutrition: selected health, agriculture and development ministers, heads of international agencies, senior policy experts, scientists and innovators, civil society representatives, and the private sector. The Summit will build bridges, across diverse countries, the often-separate agrifood, nutrition and climate communities, and the humanitarian-development continuum, bringing together a range of perspectives as well as more traditional and emerging partnerships.
The UK’s Summit will focus on four action pillars for food security and nutrition:
1. New approaches to ending preventable deaths of children
This strand focuses attention on childhood malnutrition – that is life-threatening, limits potential, and is preventable. It will galvanise support for new ways of saving lives, preventing malnutrition and prioritising investment in maternal and child nutrition, including the reform of systems and institutions. Co-chaired by the UK and UNICEF, this discussion will focus on the overarching questions of:
- How do we shift the dial from treatment to prevention of malnutrition?
- What should we do differently to bring down the caseload and make lasting progress?
- How can we close the finance gap and optimise funding for greater impact?
2. Science and technology to accelerate progress towards food security and nutrition
Agricultural innovation has the potential to unlock substantive growth in the Global South, reduce global food prices, tackle hunger and enable healthier diets. It is also essential for tackling climate change and nature loss. This strand will showcase collaborative science and research partnerships that accelerate progress towards greater food security and nutrition, including cutting edge British science and leadership. This discussion will focus on:
- What are examples of best practice in evidence and innovation for food and nutrition?
- Where should we look for next big opportunities to accelerate progress on hunger prevention? How can we make the most of the technological advances and innovations in genetic engineering, digital/AI and nature-based solutions?
- How can we deepen collaborative science partnerships to accelerate action?
3. Anticipating and preventing famine and food security crises
Some 50% of humanitarian crises are predictable yet only 1% of humanitarian funding globally is allocated ahead of these crises to mitigate and prevent the worst impacts. Conflict has become the predominant factor causing acute food insecurity, while climate-related disasters are driving increased levels of risks. This discussion will explore multidimensional approaches to tackling these challenges with particular focus on:
- What can we learn from, and what good practices can be adopted, to anticipate and act early to prevent food insecurity in conflict settings, while supporting resilience?
- How can access to climate adaptation finance & shock responsive social protection be improved to support anticipatory action and resilience building in states most at risk?
- How can we strengthen compliance with International Humanitarian Law in preventing hunger, how can UN SC Resolution 2417 on conflict & hunger be better implemented?
4. Building a climate-resilient and sustainable food system
Sustainable agriculture is key to food security, healthy diets, livelihoods, and national incomes. It provides jobs for 27% of the global workforce and added US$3.5tn to the global economy in 2019. Yet, these benefits are increasingly undermined by climate change and environmental degradation, causing extreme vulnerability particularly in countries contributing least to climate change. In collaboration with the UAE COP28 Presidency, this discussion will focus on:
- What policy action and investments are countries and other actors taking to drive their transition to climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture and food systems?
- How do we build international commitment and effective partnerships for wider food systems transformation that delivers for people, planet and prosperity?
- How can we learn from ongoing initiatives that catalyse and leverage greater ambition and private sector investment for sustainable agriculture and food security?