Thank you for contacting me about global food security.
With the increasing impact of climate change and conflicts across Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, food security is now rightly at the top of the agenda, and I share your concern for all those threatened by food crises. Indeed, I was deeply concerned to learn that the Global Report on Food Crises has indicated that, by September 2022, over 201 million people were in 'crisis or worse' phases of acute food insecurity across 45 countries.
Amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s decision to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2023, which got nearly 33 million tonnes of grain into world markets, has led to an increase in food prices, impacting the poorest hardest, particularly in East Africa. The UK Government, therefore, calls on Russia to rejoin the Black Sea Grain Initiative immediately.
Even before the war, however, millions of people around the world were suffering from food insecurity and different forms of malnutrition. It was therefore right that, under our G7 Presidency, the UK secured the first-ever famine prevention compact. I am delighted that the two consecutive G7 summits have reaffirmed this with a collective commitment of $4.5 billion being announced in Germany in 2022 to mitigate the scale of the global food security crisis and reassurance that G7 leaders will continue to work together to respond to the worsening global food security crisis.
With international partners, the UK has also secured the largest ever World Bank commitment to low-income countries, releasing $170 billion of support over the next 15 months, including $30 billion for food security. This complements the commitment from over 50 WTO members to keeping food markets open, predictable, and transparent.
In addition, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has a comprehensive action plan to address food insecurity, key elements of which are: supporting fertiliser availability; expanding disaster risk finance to help protect against future droughts; lobbying key countries to lift trade restrictions and encouraging others not to impose restrictions; and mobilising investments in food and agriculture productivity and resilience.
Going forward, I am assured that Ministers will continue to work across international fora, including the newly created Global Alliance for Food Security, to seek joint solutions to those problems worsened by the overlapping crises of war, pandemic and inflation, and enhance the coherence of the international response.