European Interest

MEPs alarmed that world is highly unlikely to achieve global nutrition targets

European Parliament
"The Russian invasion of Ukraine will further exacerbate existing food insecurity and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Beata Kempa.

MEPs call attention to the global food security crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, demanding the EU prioritise hunger and nutrition in development policy.

The text, adopted by MEPs on Wednesday 6 July by 602 votes in favour, 15 against with 20 abstentions, focuses on the EU’s role in supporting developing countries in addressing food security challenges.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

In the report, MEPs highlight the crucial role both Ukraine and Russia play in the global food system, with many developing countries relying on them for food imports. As a result, they say, the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have a massive impact on the wider global food system, and will further exacerbate the situation of food insecurity in many countries. What’s more, the war is weakening an already-precarious global food system that has been battered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed its vulnerabilities and has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable.

Lack of progress on global targets

Alarmed by the lack of progress the world has made towards global nutrition targets, MEPs note that, rather than coming closer to the internationally-agreed commitment to end hunger by 2030, instead hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity are again increasing across the world. To remedy this, MEPs urge the EU to safeguard the right to food of developing countries, and call for ending hunger and malnutrition to be recognised as priorities across all EU policy areas.

EU investment and action needed

The EU should, MEPs say, orient its policies to better link urgent relief to longer-term solutions, and they call on the European Commission and member states to increase their contributions to the World Food Programme. More urgently, they want the EU and member states to immediately cover the funding gap in the 2022 UN Humanitarian appeals for East Africa and the Middle East, where the need for additional support is acute.

EU policies on nutrition and food security need also to recognise that the right to food is a human right and, alongside the right to food sovereignty, essential in securing food security for all. MEPs say the EU should prioritise food and sustainable agriculture in its international development assistance, support sustainable and smallholder farming, agro-ecology, agroforestry and crop diversification, and prioritise food production over crop-based biofuel production.

“This report is particularly important given the war in Ukraine and its implications for global food security. The Russian invasion of Ukraine will further exacerbate existing food insecurity and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said rapporteur Beata Kempa (ECR, PL). “This report gives recommendations on how the EU can support developing countries in absorbing conflict-induced shocks and remain resilient. The EU should continue to be the world leader in food assistance for developing countries, and it should prioritise food security in its humanitarian and development actions,” she added.

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