From Changing Lives to Saving Lives Developing Countries Must Grow More Food
The pressure of climate change and population growth is causing the pendulum to swing again –from changing lives to saving lives. As our planet continues to heat up, extreme weather has affected many of us. From the west coast of North America across Europe, the Middle East and Asia to Pakistan and New Zealand, wildfires and flash floods have destroyed homes and property and disrupted the daily lives of millions. Developing countries must grow more food instead of just depending on their import, such as from Ukraine. Only then will the world move significantly towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.
By Trevor Page: The World Food Program (WFP) warns that 345 million people are already affected by acute food insecurity in 82 countries. And with the global population set to hit at least 10 billion by 2050, the effect of climate change on agriculture will compound the growing problem. There is a desperate need for the developing world to grow more food…
In the early-60s when WFP started out, and for it’s first 20 years of operation, around 70% of its budget was spent on development projects, many of them designed to grow more food…
Why is WFP no longer helping developing countries build major irrigation networks designed to grow more food? Because its focus changed in the early 90s to emergencies or saving lives as WFP calls it today.
That was when WFP took over the responsibility from the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR to feed the world’s 25 million refugees on its books as well as the 50-odd million who sort refuge elsewhere in their own country as internally displaced people, or IDPs.
But the pressure of climate change and population growth is causing the pendulum to swing again. At WFP’s last Executive Board (EB) meeting in June, WFP’s Changing Lives Transformation Fund (CLTF) was introduced.
While there was general agreement that WFP’s dual mandate – emergencies and development – must be respected and that humanitarian aid alone is not enough, cash-strapped main donor EB members insisted that saving lives must always take priority over changing lives.
Not surprisingly, most EB members from the developing world wanted WFP to help more with changing lives through stepped-up development assistance. After much debate, which went to closed night sessions, the compromise was a $55 million fund over 5 years, or upto $1.2 million for around 10-15 countries as seed money for projects aimed at supporting national food security.
While this is a start, the amounts earmarked seem like half-hearted steps for the organization that the world set up to help governments prevent mass hunger and starvation...
Acknowledging “the present and future danger” of the global food crisis, Volli Carucci, Director of WFP’s Resilience and Food Systems Service emphasized that greater awareness of WFP’s current resilience initiatives and its development successes of the past is needed…
South/South Cooperation provides a channel to transfer the organizational management and technical expertise of these countries to less developed countries with agricultural potential. Projects like these would also provide employment for the growing hordes of unskilled labor looking for work.
Irrigating and developing more farmland could also help with the integration IDPs into new communities to make them productive citizens instead of living off handouts year after year. It could also help stem the flow of migration to the more-developed countries.
Involving cooperating partners such as UNDP, FAO, World Bank, NGOs and other multilaterals like the EU will be crucial right from the planning stage.
Of course, saving lives will always be the priority of the day. But unless governments act now to ensure that future generations have enough food to eat, parts of the planet run the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the hungry poor.
WFP can and must do more to help countries along the path towards food security, as its mandate dictates. Only then will the world move significantly towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger. (Read the full article)
Honorary contributors to DesPardes: Adil Khan, Ajaz Ahmed, Ammar Jafri, Anwar Abbas, Arif Mirza, Aziz Ahmed, Bawar Tawfik, Dr. Razzak Ladha, Dr. Syed M. Ali, G. R. Baloch, Hasham Saddique, Jamil Usman, Jawed Ahmed, Ishaq Saqi, Khalid Sharif, Majid Ahmed, Masroor Ali, Md. Ahmed, Md. Najibullah, Mustafa Jivanjee, Nusrat Jamshed, Shahbaz Ali, Shahid Hamza, Shahid Nayeem, Syed Hamza Gilani, Syed Hasan Javed, Syed M. Ali, Tahir Sohail