Berlin (dpa) – German Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called on the international community to resolutely combat the worsening hunger crisis in the world. “More than 44 billion euros are needed this year and to date financing has only been forthcoming for half of that,” the politician for the Greens stated in Berlin on Friday. The situation is highly dramatic, she said, with a total of 345 million women, children, and men are threatened by food shortages worldwide. “It is a hunger crisis that is rising up swiftly before us like a wave that threatens to crush all before it.” Not all of the reasons for the pending famine are new, she continued, and can be traced to climate change and the impact of the Corona pandemic, for example. “However, it was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that turned the wave into a tsunami,” Baerbock remarked. “Russia is deliberately weaponising hunger and is taking the whole world hostage in the process.”
The Foreign Minister, together with Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens), made the comments speaking to an international conference on food security in Berlin. About 50 delegations agreed at short notice to participate, and about 40 ministers had come, said Baerbock. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also travelled to Berlin to attend.
Schulze explained that around 400 million people worldwide are normally supplied with food from Ukraine. Many countries were now no longer receiving these supplies, and even more countries were suffering from the high global market prices as a result of the war in Ukraine. “As always, it is the poorest who suffer most.” These people are often left facing famine, Schulze said. The German Federal government will be committing a total of around four billion euros this year to fight hunger worldwide. She went on to say that it is also crucial to emphasize sustainability in order to avoid the next food crisis and the one after that. More climate-adapted varieties need to be cultivated, such as millet, in developing countries, more local storage capacities put in place and more regional trade established, Schulze stressed.
Özdemir spoke of Russian President Vladimir Putin engaging “multi-dimensional warfare”. He said the latter wanted to defeat Ukraine militarily, was waging a war of hunger against the Global South and an energy war against the European Union. “This is why the message today is also that we will not let ourselves be intimidated by Putin. Now it is also a question of showing our mettle.”