UK aid pledge ‘far from enough’ to tackle hunger crisis, charities say
Boris Johnson’s commitment to helping developing countries facing an unprecedented hunger crisis is “nowhere near enough”, a coalition of leading charities has said.
The UN has warned that 49 million people are now at risk of starvation as a Russian blockade of grain from Ukraine drives up prices around the world.
The Prime Minister, who was attending the G7 summit in Germany this week, announced a £372million support package to help countries hardest hit by soaring food prices and fertilizer shortages.
Bond, an umbrella group representing 70 UK charities, said the pledge was not enough, pointing to recent government cuts to the aid budget.
Stephanie Draper, Bond’s chief executive, said it was “far short of what is needed”, adding that the package “must be the seed of a larger plan to tackle the causes and consequences of the crisis. world food”.
It comes as Oxfam called on the G7 to step up aid and deliver on pledges to tackle global hunger made at last year’s summit ahead of further talks on food security in Bavaria on Monday.
Oxfam GB also highlighted the recent sweeping cuts to the government’s international aid budget following Mr Johnson’s pledge.
The charity said deep cuts meant UK aid to the four African countries hardest hit by hunger – Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan – was just 288 million pounds, only about a third of the sum provided during the last major hunger crisis in the region.
“The UK’s failure to step in and help people in East Africa and around the world who don’t have enough to eat is not just a broken promise, it’s a dereliction of duty. “said Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB.
Oxfam has called on G7 leaders to give more debt relief to developing economies and tax corporations on excess profits, amid growing numbers of strikes and worker protests around the world.
The charity said the wealthy group must double the amount of aid it provides for agriculture, food security and nutrition, which is an additional £11billion a year.
“This is not just a standalone crisis – it follows a horrific pandemic that has fueled rising inequality around the world,” said Matt Grainger, inequality policy manager at Oxfam. “I think we will see more and more protests.”
Aid charities have pointed to a global shortfall of £30billion in money pledged for appeals with large parts of East Africa, West Africa, the Middle East and Latin America suffering from a rapid increase in the number of hungry people.
Today’s G7 talks in Germany are expected to focus on ways to get the grain out of Ukraine. Around 25 million tonnes of corn and wheat cannot be exported and are currently at risk of rotting in silos.
Mr Johnson’s government will pledge £10m to help rebuild Ukraine’s railways in a bid to use trains to export grain trapped by Putin’s blockade in the Black Sea.
The prime minister said the UN plan to involve Turkey in talks with Russia is a “failure” because Putin will continue to use food supplies as a bargaining chip to ease sanctions.
The Prime Minister has argued that the allies must now consider plan B, as he has pledged British expertise to help clear the Black Sea and upgrade rail infrastructure.
Mr Johnson and US President Joe Biden remain at odds over a plane to cut green fuel production in a bid to free up land for food production.
Britain is backed by Germany – which is also pushing for a temporary waiver of its biofuel commitments – but the United States and Canada oppose it.
US officials said Mr Biden would block the plan in a bid to protect the lucrative US ethanol and biodiesel market and the country’s climate change commitments.