Happy Easter. On Sunday, following the first full moon of spring, we celebrate the mystery of life, the blessing of rebirth and the victory of light over darkness. For many communities and families in places where work exists and it is possible to take time off, at least for a couple of days, it is a time of great celebration. But it is also an occasion to remember one of life’s vital premises – to give everyone on the planet access to healthy and nutritious food. It is the first right of man, alongside that of providing drinking water. It is a sign of civilisation from which we are still structurally distant, as shown by recent FAO, WFP, WHO, UN and UNESCO reports.
FAO, WFP and WHO reports. 1 billion crosses
Emergency 113. 113 million human beings in 53 countries suffer acute food insecurity, ie they are starving, and another 143 million human beings in other 42 nations are soon to join them. Acute food insecurity ‘occurs when the inability of a person to consume enough food puts him and his means of livelihood in immediate danger’. Political wars, conflicts and instability remain the primary causes of acute hunger in 21 countries between Africa, the Middle East, Western Asia, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Climate and natural disasters take second place, and in 2018, a predominance of this took place in Africa.
In fact, 3.7% of the world’s population in 49% of the states joining the United Nations are now suffering from ‘acute hunger that urgently requires food and nutrition‘. This is what emerged from the Global Report on Food Crisis presented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP) and the European Union in April 2019. (1) The Global Network Against Food Crises, to which these organisations participate, is clearly unable to ‘combat’ any food crisis. It merely accepts data, by using an ‘Integrated Food Security Phase Classification’, which indicates that the acute food crisis is in third place out of a total of five, after emergency and famine.
‘An end to world conflicts, women’s empowerment, nutrition and education for children, the improvement of rural infrastructure and the strengthening of social security networks are essential for a resilient and stable world without hunger‘ (FAO, Global Report on Food Crisis, 2019).
1 billion crosses. To the 256 million people living in emergency or close to nutritional emergency we can add 821 million people who are suffering from chronic malnutrition.This being intended not as a psychological disorder but as the physical unavailability of food necessary for life. This involves, among other things, delays and deficits in the development of the systems and functions of the human body. This is according to another FAO report entitled ‘Food Security & Nutrition around the World‘, that was most recently updated in September 2018. (2)
The Empire of Darkness
At least 15.4% of the world’s population– according to the above reported data, which however does not consider victims of embargoes dictated by the USA (eg Venezuela, the People’s Republic of Korea) – is therefore currently exposed to hunger and malnutrition. Two-thirds of the starving in 2018 are found in just eight countries, where the western industries of war and colonialism are still active. Syria and Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan and Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia,Nigeria.
“Conflict and insecurity, climate shocks and economic turbulence – the main factors of food insecurity – have continued to erode livelihoods and destroy human lives,” repeats the FAO study. Whether it be 2019 or 1999, it is the same thing, nothing changes on the western quadrant from which everything moves. Production and sale of weapons, political and military support to warring factions, priceless damage and then loans for reconstruction. First the bombs and then the ‘aid’, all the evil that global finance needs in order to burn fictitious capital and re-finance itself. (3)
These are stable forecasts. In 2019, political conflicts and instability will remain the principal driving force of food (and humanitarian) crises. The number of people displaced both internally and externally will increase, food insecurity for refugees and their host communities will worsen. Climate change and extreme weather events will have a major impact on agricultural and livestock production in various regions of the world, including those that are already facing a food crisis. And economic instability will hold its weight in terms of rising prices in food, fuel, medicine and other essential goods. Clean water and sanitary infrastructures in turn are lacking for 29% of the global population, in 1 health facility out of 4, according to the latest UNESCO data. (4)
‘Zero Hunger’, Agenda ONU 2030 and WFP
‘Zero Hunger‘ is the second of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations Assembly in 2015. Each of the 193 UN member states committed themselves to improving the lives of all individuals on the planet, by 2030. And Objective 2, ‘Zero Hunger’, is a commitment to end hunger, to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture: this is the priority of the World Food Program.‘ 5)
WFP Executive Director, David Muldrow Beasley, calls for accountability from political decision makers. “To truly overcome hunger, we must tackle the root causes: conflicts, instability, the impact of climate shocks. To achieve the Zero Hunger goal, boys and girls need to be well fed and to receive a good education, women must be truly emancipated and rural infrastructure must be strengthened. Programmes that make communities resilient and more stable will reduce hunger numbers. And we need world leaders to do something else: to take their responsibilities and help resolve these conflicts now.
Mr. Beasley’s lecture to his colleagues running the wheels of the world sounds like a broken record. It is worth remembering his cv, a former Democratic candidate and then Republican governor of South Carolina, before taking the path of this billionaire albeit ineffective partnership. (6) When remembering the WFP (World Food Program), it is sufficient to recall the fact that it is an institution financed by 60 governments, as well as a plethora of NGOs.
Resources may not be lacking, but it is doubtful that the interests of the WFP’s private lenders coincide with the public good as understood in terms of human solidarity which should animate international cooperation. Without going into the merits of high finance, the Rockefeller and ‘Bill & Melinda Gates‘ foundations (for which we may remember the GMO experiments and zootechnical cathedrals that were abandoned in the deserts of Africa), the giants that hold the global monopoly on seeds and pesticides also come to mind. Added to these the palmocrats, the exploiters of child labour in the production of cocoa and some of the “10 great sisters” of food. (7)
‘ZeroHunger’, FAO and UN
José Graziano da Silva is an agronomist who has always been dedicated to the problems of “food security“. Before being elected general manager of the FAO (from 1.1.2012, with a renewal of his mandate in 2015 that will expire on 31.7.2019) he was able to emancipate 28 million Brazilian citizens from food insecurity. In just two years, 2003-2004, as special Minister for food security of the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva government, he successfully implemented the “ZeroHunger” programme. At the heart of the “Bolsa Familia” programme, it was the redistribution of economic resources in favour of the most disadvantaged groups. With innovative and effective public policies to combat extreme poverty. However, the providential hands of Graziano da Silva were tied both by those within the Lula government and those at the UN agency. And so his role passed from being an actor of the revolution of Good to that of being an observer.
“From the Global Report it is clear that, despite a slight decrease compared to 2017 values, the number of people affected by acute food insecurity – the most extreme form of hunger – is still too high. We must act on a large scale along the connection of humanitarian-political interventions for the development, evolvement-construction of peace in order to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations. To save lives, we must also safeguard our means of support‘ (Graziano da Silva, FAO, general manager).
The FAO still remains a UN agency, and it is precisely at the “mother house” that action must be taken in order to resolve an intolerable and criminal crisis. Already back in 2000, the United Nations Assembly defined a goal to “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger“. It was right at the top of the 8 “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs) to be implemented by 2015. (8) But the deadline was missed by all UN member states, apart from the People’s Republic of China. And no one raised any objections, no one imposed the adoption of remedies, except to agree on an ‘examination of repair‘ with a postponed 15 year deadline, from 2015 to 2030. At acost of billions of human lives that UN agencies and Member States blatantly neglected to consider.
The UN statute indicates the maintenance of peace and international security as the first objective of the international organisation. This followed by a solution of international disputes and the development of friendly relations between nations on a basis of respect for the principle of equality between states and the self-determination of peoples. Economic and social cooperation, respect for human rights for the benefit of all individuals. The emergency of hunger, which is renewed every day in half of its member countries, finds instead a primary cause in the wars that some of the founding states continue to stir up, finance or otherwise tolerate. Syria, Yemen, enough!
The systematic and continuous reduction of resources made available for humanitarian aid is tolerated. Instead of prescribing the introduction of a “humanitarian” contribution as a minimum measure, proportionate to that of the value of each Member State’s military expenses. Where a “1 × 1000″ would at least be enough to solve this scourge of our civilisation.
Hunger is not a disgrace, it is the crime of accomplices and the indifferent.
(1) FAO, WFP, (2019). ‘Global Report on Food Crisis’,
(2) FAO, ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’, dated 2005-2017 and forecasts for 2030. See also the FAO-WHO report (2019), ‘The future of food safety’,
(3) See Gianfranco Bellini, “The dollar bubble, or rather the days that will upset the world” (ed. Odradek, Rome, 2013)
(4) UNESCO, “World Water Development Report 2019 – Leaving No One Behind“. Moreover, this report does not consider the ongoing water crisis in Venezuela. Nor the emergencies in places like Mozambique, where over 6,000 newborns in the coming months will face the risks of cholera and malaria following Cyclone Idai
(7) See https://www1.wfp.org/private-sector. Again in2018, takingfirst place among the participants in the WFP’s Annual Partnership Consultation, we can find ACDI/VOCA, financed among others by Syngenta (one of the Big 4, the four biggest global seed and pesticide monopolists), OLAM International ( at the centre of numerous accusations of land grabbing), theWorld Cocoa Foundation and some of its protagonists (eg Nestlé, Mars), Kellogg’s
(9) See UN Statute, Articles 1 and 2