Horn of Africa

43 Million People Need Lifesaving Assistance

In recent weeks there were two opportunities for the G7 and other wealthy nations to step up to end the global food crisis: but once again  world leaders failed to meet the moment. Just days after  G7 leaders met in Hiroshima, Japan, and committed to strengthen global food security and nutrition, a May 24th pledging conference held at the United Nations raised only a fraction of the funds needed in 2023 to save lives and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa.

The G7 Leaders’ Communiqué underscored the urgency to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and to work together to tackle the interconnected climate, food and debt crises. They restated their commitment to the 0.7% ODA target but also recognized the urgency to mobilize financing at scale, including through their support for the reform of the MDBs, to leverage private finance and recycling Special Drawing Rights. They also committed to providing $21 billion in humanitarian assistance in 2023, a larger sum than last year’s disbursement of USD$14.9 billion for global food security but still less than half of the OCHA appeal for this year. In the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security, G7 leaders reiterated that “resilient global food security and nutrition for all is our shared goal for a better future for each human being.” The strong commitments on nutrition and food systems transformation, reaffirmation that access to  affordable and nutritious food as a basic human need; the importance of working together to respond to worsening global food security crisis and the highest risk of famine seen in a generation; and the urgent need to invest in more resilient, sustainable and inclusive agriculture and food systems are important and welcome.

The Hiroshima Action Statement looks across the short, medium and long-term time horizons to identify key actions that would both respond to the current global food crisis as well as build resilience to future shocks. These actions closely echoed some of Hungry for Actions demandsstrengthening coordination across donors, UN agencies, international financial institutions, multilateral development banks and other stakeholders for a more concerted response, supporting the implementation of the World Bank’s Food Security Crisis Preparedness Plans and other crisis preparedness strategies as well as scaling investment in smallholder farmers, particularly women and youth.

But, as campaigners but most importantly those on the frontlines know – we need actions not words and whilst these commitments are welcome, the proof now is whether leaders really step up and deliver.


And the signs so far aren’t great. The statement made specific reference to the dire humanitarian crisis across the Horn of Africa where 43.4 million people are in need of life saving assistance across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Despite contributing less than 0.1% to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, decades-long droughts and more recently flash floods – fueled by climate change – have created one of the world’s worst climate emergencies. The G7 statement commits to working together to address urgent food insecurity with “multisectoral humanitarian assistance to countries experiencing crisis and emergency levels of acute food insecurity, such as in the Horn of Africa”. However, when G7 countries had the chance to turn words into action at this week’s Horn of Africa Conference, they collectively failed to step up or persuade other wealthy countries to fill the gap. A total of USD $2.4 billion was pledged in humanitarian funding for Horn of Africa in 2023 at the conference. This falls well short of the United Nations’ humanitarian ask of $7 bln to save lives in affected communities as well as invest in long-term solutions to build resilience and adapt to the changing climate. The United States continues to be the single largest country donor of humanitarian assistance to the region but its capacity to continue to maintain this level of funding will be more difficult this year.

So what next? World leaders will next gather in June at the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact where we’re joining campaigners across the world to call for the financial reforms and actions needed to secure a better future for people and the planet. This could be a turning point but only if leaders really step up. The Hungry for Action campaign will be keeping the pressure up on leaders to step up to save lives now, build resilience and secure the future.

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