The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine is not only a danger for those directly affected, it also exacerbates hunger in the world.
Due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine fall almost 30% of the wheat traded worldwide is gone. This is because in Ukraine, the harvest cannot be harvested and new seeds cannot be brought to the fields. Putin is using hunger as a weapon of war, and the conflict is already having a strong impact on the entire world and the food security of large populations.
Due to prolonged crises and climate change, more and more people are suffering from hunger; in addition, the Corona pandemic has further 141 million people driven into acute hunger. The executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasly, has told us in the Development Committee at the end of June about his latest findings and developments. He states quite clearly that we are currently in the midst of an unprecedented food crisis that can only be mitigated through the joint efforts of all relevant stakeholders. Among other things, David Beasly is currently working with the G7 to find a solution for the transport of wheat from Ukraine. In this context, he also emphasized that the loss of supplies from Ukraine and Russia would exacerbate the situation in Lebanon in particular.
Lebanon: My impressions on the ground
At the end of February, I led a delegation of five other members of parliament to Lebanon. The aim of the trip was to gain a concrete overview of the current situation in the country. The socio-economic crisis in Lebanon has continued to worsen – there is still a lack of sufficient access to medical care, electricity, water and food, 74% of people live in poverty.
The crises in Lebanon have really accumulated in recent years. The country is sinking into corruption and poverty. The war in Ukraine is further exacerbating the situation in Lebanon. Lebanon draws 80% of his wheat from Ukraine. Expert:inside assume that within a very short time the country will no longer have enough food for its population. Since the explosion in the port in 2020, the granary has been missing and has not been rebuilt to this day.
What the EU does
At the beginning of April this year, the EU adopted the so-called "Food and Resilience FacilityThe European Union has launched the "Lebanon for hunger" initiative to support our southern neighbors in their fight against hunger. The EU will provide a total of €225 million for this purpose, of which €25 million has been earmarked for Lebanon. The aim is to cushion the consequences of rising global food prices as far as possible.
In the short term, the initiative aims to respond to emergencies of commodity shortages, help stabilize the balance of payments, and support local social protection and social safety nets facing an additional acute crisis.
In the medium to longer term, the initiative aims to help sustain local agricultural systems and support the development of less input-intensive and more climate-smart agricultural practices. The initiative also aims to contribute to the sustainability of local agrifood systems and help southern neighboring countries diversify and move away from their overdependence on imported grains, including by shifting to less water-intensive varieties, crops, and agricultural practices.