COVID19 and Impacts on Food Security in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS
The COVID-19 pandemic and its enormous impacts – on a scale we have never seen before – have drawn attention to the deep and fragile interconnections between people, planet and prosperity.
Today, while one third of food produced is wasted, some 820 million people suffer from hunger, of whom more than 100 million are already in food crisis. Even before the crisis, two billion people suffered from micronutrient deficiency and two billion are overweight or obese. These malnourished are the people most vulnerable to pandemic and economic dislocation.
COVID-19 has added another layer of complexity to the state of agri-food systems. Measures to contain the pandemic threaten to disrupt supply chains and bring about an increase in food insecurity.
As the pandemic and the accompanying economic shocks spread southward around the globe, they will inevitably come to the rural areas, where the vast majority of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people live and where the public resources and institutional supports of public health and social protection are much weaker.
LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS often are highly dependent on food imports, rely on international markets to secure food and other essential needs, are dependent on high-value agricultural exports and have a large share of the population is involved in agriculture and food production, processing, transportation, and distribution, making them especially vulnerable to the pandemic. Food prices remain a concern in countries that are dependent on food imports that are further inflated by higher transport and transit costs such as LLDCs. The introduction of export restrictions and prohibitions on foodstuffs further increases the vulnerability of these countries. Preserving and improving the food economy must be an essential part of the socio-economic response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Against this backdrop, a virtual conversation is being organised on 7May 2020 to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 emergency and its impacts on food systems and to identify urgent and coordinated actions to avoid the most disruptive consequences. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to look at the prospects of the international action on food security and nutrition in the recovery phase and how to deliver in the framework of the Decade for Action and in preparation of the 2021 UN Food System Summit.
To participate, please register here.
Photo: Farmer in Nukua'lofa, Tonga. Tom Perry / World Bank