Providing food

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) one in five people in the developing world is chronically undernourished. Chronic food shortages are increasing as a result of a combination of factors that that include complex post-Cold War changes, rapid population growth, environmental degradation and climate change. These factors have contributed to give rise to a considerable increase in needy refugees on top of recurring domestic or regional food shortages, and their resulting implications of starving people. There is wide agreement that the international community will need to assert greater effort to cope with global food shortages currently and in the coming years.
In 1993, the World Food Programme (WFP) directly benefited 47 million people, of which 29 million people were disaster victims, (displaced people and refugees rose from 14 million the previous year to 27 million), and 18 million were beneficiaries of WFP assisted development projects. The WFP reached an estimated one third of the world's refugee population in 1993, and also more than 80% of the estimated number of displaced people. Most of these people were women and children, but also included hungry poor people such as landless agricultural workers and the urban poor. About 60% of WFP development assistance beneficiaries obtained family rations by participating in labour-intensive programmes. The WFP assisted 237 development projects at the end of 1993 with a total WFP commitment of US$2,800 million and 3.1 million tonnes of food.

A massive relief operation averted the potential famine and starvation of 18 million people in the 1992/1993 southern Africa drought, brought on by one of the worst droughts of the century. The success is due to the early warning system instituted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and supported by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the rapid response by the UN system and the international community to the declaration of national emergency situations, the existence of a well advanced logistic network, including transportational and warehousing facilities, the high degree of multi-lateral coordination, and the central role played by WFP in coordinating activities. More than six million tonnes of commodities were imported into ten countries.

The FAO's Nutrition and Food Quality Programme covers a broad range of nutrition related activities aimed at assuring access by all to adequate supplies of good quality and safe food at affordable prices. In 1993, the FAO helped over 40 member governments follow through on their pledge to revise or establish national plans of action for nutrition.

Food insecurity
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies