NARRATIVE REPORT ON FOOD ASSISTANCE BY MEMBERS OF THE
FOOD ASSISTANCE CONVENTION
Global emergency hunger remained at its highest level in 2018. This persistence of food crises was due in large part to multiple, ongoing humanitarian crises linked to violent conflicts, often exacerbated by drought and economic instability, increasingly exposing millions of people to hunger. The Global Report on Food Crises 2019 indicated that more than 113 million people in 53 countries faced crisis levels of hunger in 20181 . In particular, rural people continued to face a multi-faceted crisis as they struggled with food insecurity, persistent poverty, and degraded land and water. In 2018, the worst food crises occurred in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, and northern Nigeria. Tragically, the increase in serious and large-scale crises that occurred simultaneously in 2018 emphasizes the continued relevance of the Food Assistance Convention (FAC).
The FAC represents a continued commitment by its Parties2 to contribute to global food security and to improve the ability of the international community to respond to emergency food situations and other food needs of developing countries to save lives, reduce hunger and improve the nutritional status of the most vulnerable populations. To achieve these goals, all members fulfilled their obligations of USD 3.15 billion, with Parties substantially exceeding their commitments up to roughly USD 5 billion to contribute to global food security. Key responses were carried out by the United Nations (UN), International Organisations and National NonGovernmental Organisations (INGOs) to support people in need in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR) the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ethiopia, Indonesia/Sulawesi, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, the Kirgiz Republic, Sahel and Lake Chad Basin countries, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, Occupied Palestine Territories (OPT), Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda, Venezuela, and Yemen.
Main events in 2018 included the field mission to Uganda (June) conducted under the chairmanship of Japan, the FAC Committee Meeting in December hosted by France, and the conference call of the Working Group on Coordinated Responses for Yemen. The European Union (EU) initiated this first conference call to discuss the worsened humanitarian situation in Yemen and to identify gaps for increased commitments in humanitarian response. Consequently, members also made considerable efforts to facilitate information sharing and to raise attention at the political level for a strengthened cooperation. To ensure the alignment with existing humanitarian coordination mechanisms, the Parties linked up with the World Bank’s efforts to set up the Famine Action Mechanisms (FAM). In the second half of 2018, due to the still alarming levels of crises affected food insecure people, the FAC Member States were involved in International Pledging Conferences to mobilize further resources and to raise for instance awareness towards the crises in Syria and its neighbouring countries; exacerbated by human disease outbreaks, additional funding was required for the crisis in DRC. To ensure UN OCHA’s continued relevance and benefit to the humanitarian system and its financial sustainability, the FAC Parties supported the Change Management Process of UN OCHA which resulted in a new strategic plan for 2018 – 2021 to operate at optimum efficiency and effectiveness. Best practices of the year 2018 included the contributions to WFP’s Immediate Response Account (IRA), and commitments to the Disaster Response and Emergency Fund (DREF) of the Red Cross family. Furthermore, multi-year funding for Food Security, Nutrition and Growth was key to improving the capacity of local organisations to allow for more predictable assistance to affected communities. The Parties underscored the importance of respecting the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), humanitarian principles and humanitarian space. Inclusion was generally recognized as a thematic priority in all humanitarian assistance with cross-cutting themes such as disaster risk reduction and climate sustainability, protection, gender equality, the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and accountability to affected populations that informed new policies with a potential to transform the sector.
1 Security Information Network (FSIN): Global Report on Food Crises 2019
2 Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Unites States of America