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FAO sounds alarm on emergencies where support for agricultural livelihoods is urgently needed
by Food and Agriculture Organization
20 September 2018
Conflicts and climatic shocks aggravate current food insecurity in many countries - Some 39 countries in need of food assistance
Persistent conflicts and climate-related shocks are currently driving high levels of severe food insecurity, particularly in Southern African and Near East countries, which continue to require humanitarian assistance, according to a new report published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today.
Some 39 countries, 31 of which are in Africa, seven in Asia and one in the Caribbean (Haiti), are in need of external food assistance - unchanged from three months ago, according to the Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. FAO stresses that protracted conflicts, extreme weather events and displacement continue hampering food access for millions of vulnerable people.
Civil conflicts and population displacement remain the key drivers of food insecurity in East Africa and the Near East, whereas dry-weather conditions reduced cereal outputs in Southern Africa, according to the report.
Lower global cereal production forecast
FAO''s latest forecast for global cereal production in 2018 is pegged at 2 587 million tonnes, a three-year low and 2.4 percent below last year''s record high level.
Cereal production in the 52 Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) is projected this year at around 490 million tonnes, about 19 million above the past five-year average. The unchanged aggregate output reflects weather-reduced outputs in Southern Africa, Central Asia and the Near East that are foreseen to be offset by production gains in Far East Asia and East Africa.
Conflicts and displacement take toll on food security
Civil conflicts, often coupled with climate-related extreme events, have taken their toll on food security of vulnerable populations in Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen among others.
In Yemen, due to ongoing conflict, an estimated 17,8 million people are food insecure and require urgent humanitarian assistance, a five percent increase from 2017.
In the Central African Republic, about 2 million people, or 43 percent of the total population, are estimated to be in need of urgent assistance for food due to the civil conflicts, several consecutive years of reduced agricultural production and poorly functioning markets, especially for displaced populations, host families and returnees, fueled by violent clashes and inter-communal tensions.
Dry weather hits cereal production in Southern Africa, Near East and South America
Poor rains in Southern Africa at key cropping stages curbed this year''s cereal production, with the largest reductions reported in Malawi and Zimbabwe.
In Malawi, with this year''s cereal output estimated to be below average, the number of food insecure people in 2018 could more than double from last year to reach 3.3 million people.
In Zimbabwe, 2.4 million people are estimated to be food insecure in 2018 as a result of a reduced cereal output and food access constraints stemming from low incomes and liquidity problems of vulnerable households.
The Near East region has also suffered from insufficient rains that have reduced cereal output particularly in Afghanistan and Syria. In Syria, around 6.5 million people are estimated to be food insecure and another 4 million people are at risk of food insecurity, according to the report.
Dry weather conditions in South America have lowered cereal output in 2018 from last year''s record, particularly for maize. In Central America and the Caribbean, unfavourable rains also curtailed this year''s maize production, except in Mexico.
* The 39 countries currently in need of external food assistance are: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People''s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini (former Swaziland), Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
August 2018
FAO sounds alarm on emergencies where support for agricultural livelihoods is urgently needed.
A new FAO report sounds the alarm on some of the world''s most severely underfunded crises, which in the wake of new shocks require an urgent humanitarian response and emergency agricultural assistance.
Without adequate funding, new challenges such as droughts, floods, lean seasons or conflicts could push millions of people into acute hunger and food insecurity, jeopardizing their well-being, lives and future, the UN agency warned.
These emergencies include: Afghanistan, Sudan and Syria hit by drought, Bangladesh affected by a severe monsoon season, a resurgence of violence in the Central African Republic, the upcoming hurricane season in Haiti, and lean seasons in Iraq, Myanmar and the Sahel.
Without urgent support to the agriculture-based livelihoods, there is a real risk of the situation further deteriorating in these affected areas in the second half of 2018, with rising hunger and humanitarian needs. In some of these countries, funding received for livelihoods-based humanitarian action has not come close to matching needs.
For these critically underfunded crises, FAO urgently requires $120 million to reach 3.6 million people in the remainder of the year.
Overall, FAO has received less than 30 percent of the $1 billion requested at the beginning of the year to meet the urgent needs of 33 million people worldwide. For some crises, FAO has received as little as 6 percent of requirements, leaving millions at risk of acute hunger.
"We want to highlight critical needs in these underfunded crises where our resources to act are currently extremely limited," said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO''s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Strategic Programme Leader - Resilience.
"We must ensure that no one is left behind. We need to act now to provide urgent food security and livelihood interventions to save people''s lives, safeguard livelihoods and strengthen their resilience in the face of future crises. With the support of our resource partners, we can help to avert a further deterioration of food security in some of the most neglected crises in 2018," he added.
Worsening crises
In Syria, for example, the latest indications are that drought in some parts of the country could exacerbate the impact of years of conflict and displacement, threatening to further undermine food production. Despite significant challenges, the agriculture sector continues to sustain almost half the food supply in the country, serving as a lifeline for millions of vulnerable people.
Pastoral populations in the Sahel are particularly struggling to cope with the effects of last year''s drought in addition to ongoing conflict and insecurity in the region. They require urgent assistance to protect their herds and address rising hunger.
Humanitarian needs also remain high in the Sudan, driven by a combination of high food prices, the upcoming lean season, displacement, the breakdown of livelihoods, underlying poverty and the impact of natural hazards such as drought.
FAO''s emergency response in the affected countries will include provision of crop and vegetable seeds, farming tools and feed for animals, rehabilitation of water infrastructure and water points, animal vaccination campaigns and animal health treatment, improved soil and water management, cash transfers and cash for work.
* July Emergency Appeal update (20pp):
* Early Warning Early Action report on food security and agriculture July – September 2018:

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In 22 countries surveyed at least 207 land activists were killed, making 2017 the deadliest year
by Reuters, Global Witness, Walk Free Foundation
24 July 2018
Four land and environmental activists were killed each week last year, murdered for opposing large-scale agriculture and mining projects in the deadliest year on record, a campaign group said on Tuesday.
In 22 countries surveyed by U.K.-based Global Witness, at least 207 activists were killed, making 2017 the deadliest year since 2002 when the human rights organization started collecting data.
Latin America fared worst, accounting for three in every five murders with the highest recorded death toll in any country reported in Brazil with 57 deaths, followed by 24 in Colombia and 15 in Mexico, the campaign group said in its annual report.
In Brazil, rural communities and indigenous people living in the Amazon rainforest are hardest hit by violence, the report said.
In the fight for land and the environment, communities around the world are locked in deadly struggles against governments, companies and criminal gangs exploiting land, Global Witness said.
Rising conflicts over large-scale agricultural projects from cattle ranching to sugar cane and palm oil plantations led to more deaths of activists than any other sector, overtaking mining for the first time since 2002, the report said.
"There has been an increase in consumer demand for cheap products, particularly food stuffs but also toiletries and other household products that contain things such as palm oil," Ben Leather, senior campaigner at Global Witness, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"And as businesses have tried to meet this demand they have effectively prioritized quick profit over human life with the complicity of governments who have facilitated their entry in their countries," said Leather, the report''s author.
The Philippines reported more killings in 2017 than ever recorded in an Asian country with 48 deaths, accounting for a 71 percent rise in the past year.
Of the 19 killings of activists reported across Africa, 12 were in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with most murdered while defending protected areas against poachers and illegal miners, the report said.
Opposition to mining and oil projects, along with logging were also to blame for the growing violence against campaigners.
July 2018
Walk Free Foundation releases Global Slavery Index 2018
Walk Free Foundation has published the Global Slavery Index 2018. The Index provides a country by country ranking of the number of people in modern slavery, an analysis of the actions governments are taking to respond, and the factors that make people vulnerable.
The number of people falling victim to modern slavery in developed countries is far higher than previously thought, shifting pressure on those countries to step up their efforts to combat the problem, a landmark report shows.
The 2018 Global Slavery Index shows 403,000 people are living in modern slavery in the US, or 1 in 800 Americans, seven-times higher than previous estimates. The prevalence of modern slavery in the UK is almost 12-times higher than previous figures.
The data highlights the truly global nature of forced labour, forced marriage and forced sexual exploitation, and the role many rich countries play in exploiting the most vulnerable. The improved measures of modern slavery draw from the largest survey of its kind ever conducted, covering nearly twice the number of countries surveyed previously.
Face to face interviews with over 70,000 respondents revealed that while surveys were conducted in 48 countries, men, women, and children were exploited in 79 countries, including high rates of exploitation in many developed countries.
“The responsibility that developed countries have for modern slavery, revealed by this new data, is a huge wakeup call. The pressure to respond to this appalling human crime must shift from poorer countries to richer nations that have the resources and institutions to do much better. It is flourishing right under our noses. It’s widely accepted that most crimes go unreported and unrecorded, because the victims are marginalised and vulnerable, and the black economy thrives where accountability is absent.
This report demonstrates, straight from the mouths of some of the 40.3 million victims of modern slavery, that these deplorable crimes continue happening out of sight, and at a tragic scale.
We cannot sit back while millions of women, girls, men and boys around the world are having their lives destroyed and their potential extinguished by criminals seeking a quick profit''.
The 2018 GSI also reveals developed countries are heavily exposed to the risk of slavery within their supply chains. G20 countries annually import over $US354bn ‘at risk’ products, produced from sectors in countries where people are subjected to forced labour.
19 July 2018
The United Nations open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights has released a working Draft of the legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises. It will form the basis of negotiations at the October 2018 session, see draft:

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