Biden-Harris Administration is Driving a Multi-Pronged Response to Global Food Security Crisis
President Biden and G7 leaders will announce that they will contribute over $4.5 billion to address global food security, over half of which will come from the United States. President Biden will announce $2.76 billion in additional US Government funding commitments to help protect the world’s most vulnerable populations and mitigate the impacts of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine on growing food insecurity and malnutrition. These new investments will support efforts in over 47 countries and regional organizations, to support regional plans to address increasing needs.
Vladimir Putin’s actions have strangled food and agriculture production and have used food as a weapon of war, including through the destruction of agricultural storage, processing, and testing facilities; theft of grain and farm equipment; and the effective blockade of Black Sea ports Russia’s choice to attack food supplies and production have an impact on markets, storage, production, and ultimately negatively impact consumers around the globe. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, combined with the impacts from COVID-19, increasing conflict, high prices for fuel and fertilizer, have combined to devastate already fragile global food security and nutrition. Millions of people living far from the conflict face an increased risk of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition as a result of Putin’s war. Estimates suggest that up to 40 million more people could be pushed into poverty in 2022 as a result of Putin’s war in Ukraine and its secondary effects.
While the entire globe will continue to be affected by Russia’s actions, the most immediate needs will present in the Horn of Africa, the most immediate humanitarian assistance related to food security crisis is in the Horn of Africa, as it experiences a record-setting fourth straight season of drought, that may lead to famine. As many as 20 million people may face the threat of starvation by the end of the year. The prolonged drought is also having dire nutrition impacts, putting children at severe risk of malnutrition and in need of treatment.
To address and mitigate further impacts on global food security, the US Government will continuing life-saving food assistance to address these growing needs and leverage additional financial commitments. Of the newly announced commitment of an additional $2.76 billion in humanitarian and economic assistance appropriated in May, $2 billion will be to help save lives through emergency interventions and $760 million will be for sustainable near-term food assistance to help mitigate further increases in poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in vulnerable countries impacted by high prices of food, fertilizer, and fuel.
The US government’s multi-pronged response to combat global food insecurity includes:
Global Humanitarian Assistance
Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the United States has provided $2.8 billion to scale up emergency food operations in countries impacted by the food security crisis. In addition to this funding, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is committing another $2 billion in international disaster assistance (IDA) funds for emergency humanitarian needs over the next three months. These funds include direct food assistance, as well as related health, nutrition, protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene services, in countries with high levels of acute food insecurity, reliance on Russian or Ukrainian imports, and vulnerability to price shocks, and will support countries hosting refugee populations.
Global Development Assistance
As we continue to address acute humanitarian needs, the US government will continue to strengthen food systems and mitigate medium-term impacts on food security. The US Government is investing $760 million to combat the effects of high food, fuel, and fertilizer prices – now being driven up by Putin’s war – in those countries that need it most.
- The United States, through USAID, will program $640 million to support bilateral targeted agriculture and food security programs to strengthen agricultural capacity and resilience in more than 40 of the most vulnerable countries – Ukraine, as well as across 24 countries and regions in Africa, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries and regional presence in Latin American and the Caribbean, and 6 countries in the Middle East. These investments will tackle urgent global fertilizer shortages, purchase resilient seeds, mitigate price shortages for fertilizer, scale-up social safety nets for families suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and avert food and humanitarian crises in the most vulnerable countries. These solutions will be tailored to mitigate specific needs within specific contexts, driven by local solutions that can be scaled for maximum impact.
- The United States will also undertake multilateral efforts to protect livelihoods and nutrition and help vulnerable countries build their resilience to shocks, including food price volatility, supply chain issues, climate impacts, and other stresses beyond the immediate term. Specifically, in working with Congress, the United States will provide $120 million to the following efforts:
- Support for the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) African Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF) to increase the production of climate-adapted wheat, corn, rice, and soybeans over the next four growing seasons in Africa.
- Support for the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) Crisis Response Initiative (CRI) to help protect livelihoods and build resilience in rural communities.
- Support for the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) to develop a pipeline of bankable projects in Africa, to leverage private equity.
- Support for the Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) Africa Disaster Risk Financing Program (ADRiFi) to help African governments to respond to food system shocks by increasing access to risk insurance products.
- A fertilizer efficiency and innovation program to enhance the efficiency of fertilizer use in countries where fertilizer tends to be overapplied.
- Support for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will fund soil mapping spanning multiple countries to provide information allowing for wiser water usage, greater fertilizer conservation, and improved climate resilience impacts.
Expansion of Feed the Future
Feed the Future (FTF), the US government’s flagship global food security initiative led by USAID, is expanding its global footprint in eight new target countries from 12 to 20 target countries, in Africa that were also most vulnerable to the impacts of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The new target countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia. This expansion of Feed the Future countries delivers on President Biden’s $5 billion commitment in September 2021 to end global hunger, malnutrition and build sustainable, resilient food systems abroad.
The US government currently invests $2 billion per year through Feed the Future, which builds on existing technical expertise, programs and partners in more than 35 countries. In these countries, the US government investments pave the way for further investments from the private sector, donors and local governments.
Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP)
The United States through the US Treasury, continues to exercise leadership in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) – a $2 billion multilateral financing mechanism that has helped the world’s poorest countries increase investments in agriculture and food security. The United States is contributing $155 million to support projects that raise agricultural productivity, link farmers to markets, improve livelihoods, reduce vulnerability, and enhance resilience to shocks. The United States is also newly serving as Co-Chair of the GAFSP Steering Committee. In this leadership position, the United States will help deepen and accelerate GAFSP’s response to the food security crisis.
USG Leadership in Driving Global Action
From the beginning, the United States has been at the forefront of global efforts to confront this crisis.
- The Department of the Treasury is also providing $500 million to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which will help support the EBRD’s Resilience and Livelihood Framework. This package of investments, expected to reach €2 billion over the next two years, will support businesses and public services across all sectors affected by the war in Ukraine and neighboring countries. The funding will support Ukraine’s energy and food security needs; investing in improvements in municipal infrastructure to provide energy, water and wastewater services, and other needs, and supporting internally displaced persons. The United States contribution is helping to mobilize an additional $500 million in support from other donors.
- In April, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and USAID took the extraordinary step to draw down the full balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) as part of an effort to provide $670 million in food assistance to countries in need as a result of Putin’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine. USDA will provide $388 million in additional funding through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to cover ocean freight transportation, inland transport, internal transport, shipping and handling, and other associated costs. USAID will use the BEHT’s $282 million to procure US food commodities to bolster existing emergency food operations in six countries facing severe food insecurity: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen.
- In May, the United States chaired a Global Food Security Call to Action Ministerial and launched the Roadmap for Global Food Security – endorsed by 94 countries – which affirms a commitment to act with urgency, at scale, and in concert to respond to the urgent food security and nutrition needs of millions of people in vulnerable situations around the world. Ninety-four countries have endorsed the Roadmap and committed to provide immediate humanitarian assistance, build resilience of those in vulnerable situations, support social protection and safety nets, and strengthen sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food systems in line with the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, and the objectives of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. The United States also convened the UN Security Council during its May presidency to underscore the intersection of food insecurity and conflict, particularly in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine, and to urge the international community to action.
- In June, the United States, in coordination with partners, raised awareness of growing food insecurity at the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference. Key outcomes included: a Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity, in which WTO Members committed to take concrete steps to facilitate trade and improve the functioning and long-term resilience of global markets for food and agriculture; and a Ministerial Decision in which Members agreed to exempt World Food Program food purchases from export restrictions and prohibitions.