Campaign lights a path for Australia to help prevent famine

Campaigns and Advocacy, Foreign aid, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 15 Nov 2022

Australian scientific expertise and diplomacy should be at the centre of a new push to climate and conflict-proof the global food system at the G20 summit.

A discussion paper released today marks the start of the summit and highlights a path to ending devastating widespread hunger. It is being released by Help Fight Famine – a coalition of Australia’s leading development and aid groups.

About 50 million people in 45 countries are threatened by severe hunger and a famine is imminent in parts of drought-stricken Somalia threatening 300,000 lives. Escalating conflict and a rise in climate change-induced extreme weather events are driving a massive global food emergency.

The discussion paper’s key recommendations for the Australian Government include:

  • Investing in a long-term Global Food Strategy which tackles the root causes of the hunger crisis, and funding the Global Humanitarian Response Plan through fast-track mechanisms
  • Enhancing the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research to harness the nation’s valuable knowledge of extreme weather such as bushfire, drought, floods and cyclones to help developing countries adapt farming practices and make a lasting difference on the world’s food system
  •  Significantly increasing its climate finance commitment and re-engaging with the Green Climate Fund. Ending fossil fuel subsidies and redirecting the funds towards better aid and climate finance
  • Heeding the recommendation from the Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child to adopt a child rights-based approach to trade agreements and development aid policy and programs
  •  Encouraging like-minded partner nations to take steps to conflict and climate-proof food systems
  •  Calling on parties in conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and allow unfettered humanitarian access so that critical services and supplies can reach those in need
  •  Advocating to United Nations Security Council members to improve monitoring and reporting of conflict and hunger, including the use of starvation as a weapon of war

Help Fight Famine has also been pushing the Australian Government to make a $150 million commitment to provide immediate relief to the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa and to commit $200 million annually over three years to address the root causes of hunger.

Help Fight Famine spokesperson and Save the Children Australia CEO, Mat Tinkler said:

“As leaders from the world’s major economies descend on Bali for the G20 summit, Australia can be a champion for developing nations by advocating for solutions to end hunger for all.

“The world’s poorest and most vulnerable are malnourished and dying yet there is capacity to feed everyone. To achieve that, we need the will and diplomacy of wealthier nations.

“The hunger crisis needs urgent funding now, but we also need to look at tackling the conditions that allow millions of people to starve.”

Help Fight Famine spokesperson and Oxfam Australia Chief Executive, Lyn Morgain said:

“There are concrete actions Australia can take to help end catastrophic food crises, such as the one that is unfolding around the world right now.

“Australia’s unique diplomatic and scientific expertise can be a game-changer for the global food system.

“It’s time to play our part to bolster the world’s food system against conflict and climate shocks.”