Ending conflict vital to food security: UN

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Rome, May 15 (IANS/AKI) Ending violent conflict, bolstering peace and stability and preventing future strife are all are crucial to combating rising levels of chronic hunger in the world, the UN has said in a new report.

“Ending conflict is vital,” said the UN World Food Programme’s Chief of Food Systems Steven Were Omamo who masterminded the report.

“But preventing food crises also requires long-term investment in education, infrastructure and economic growth,” Were Omamo said.

While increases in per capita income help countries limit the scale of food crises, even low-income countries can prevent crises by making such long-term investments, he said.

Bringing lasting peace to conflict zones could cut annual food assistance costs by up to 50 percent, the newly released “World Food Assistance: Preventing Food Crises” report found.

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A one-point increase in peace and stability on the World Bank’s measure of these conditions – known as the Index of Political Stability and Absence of Violence – could result in a saving of nearly $3 billion (based on 2016 data), according to the report.

In real terms, this would mean WFP would save $300 million a year in Syria, $205 million annually in Yemen and $85 million each year in Somalia, the report said.

WFP said it would spend over $5 billion less per year worldwide if all the causes of famine were tackled: not only conflicts but climate change, chronic hunger and malnutrition, poorly functioning food systems and flawed political, social and economic structures.

This vast amount of money saved could be spent on longer-term development initiatives to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations, WFP underlined.

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WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future through sustainable development.

–IANS/AKI

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