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G7 must fight global hunger
May. 20, 2023 6:00 am
Leaders at the G7 Summit this weekend in Japan (May 19-21) must take action to fight global hunger and jumpstart nuclear disarmament. The G7 includes the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
Russia must be urged to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative with Ukraine that is so essential for feeding the world's hungry. Russia's agreement with Ukraine allows precious wheat and other foods to be shipped from Ukrainian ports to feed millions of starving people worldwide.
Ukraine is a breadbasket and Russia’s invasion has put that food supply at constant risk. The U.N. World Food Program depends on this food to prevent famine in Somalia, Yemen and other countries. The Black Sea Grain Initiative is life-saving and must continue without the threat of termination.
Hunger emergencies are getting worse and the G7 needs to increase funding for global food aid. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) warns that 345 million people are facing high levels of hunger globally. There are about 43 million people on the very brink of famine.
Adding to this tragedy is that WFP does not have enough funding to reach everyone in need. According to a press release "WFP has recently been forced to cut food rations in operations in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Palestine as needs outpace available funding. More cuts are looming in Somalia and Chad."
Cuts to food aid programs in Somalia would be devastating, but the world can easily prevent this from happening by increasing funding. Cuts to food aid in Chad would be a tragedy for the African nation and for refugees from Sudan who are fleeing there for safety.
It gets even worse. WFP director Cindy McCain warns that hunger emergencies "like Sudan and Haiti are adding fuel to the fire." The recent escalation of conflict in Sudan is worsening hunger in the already impoverished country. WFP warns a record 19 million in Sudan may face severe hunger. Likewise Haiti is also seeing record levels of hunger.
Funding to fight global hunger must increase to keep up with the crisis.
The G7 must also call for reducing nuclear weapons with the U.S. and Russia leading the way, lowering their arsenals from thousands to hundreds. Other nuclear powers should make relative reductions in nukes.
The summit takes place in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb was dropped at the end of World War II. Bold action is needed to ensure nukes are never used again. Group likes the Arms Control Association are urging President Biden and other world leaders to demonstrate commitment to nuclear disarmament in Hiroshima.
There is a peace plan that can emerge from the G7 summit. Russia should withdraw its troops from Ukraine and commit to building security through nuclear disarmament. Every nation would benefit from reducing nuclear spending.
The savings from nuclear disarmament can go toward fighting hunger similar to a plan President Dwight Eisenhower proposed back in 1953.
This G7 Summit must be a powerful voice for peace in a world desperate for relief from the suffering of war and hunger.
William Lambers is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Program on the book “Ending World Hunger."
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