LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Ahead of a Global Food Security Summit taking place in London on Nov. 20, Scottish Catholics have called on citizens to push the British government to battle the world’s hunger crisis.
Members of SCIAF – the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund – delivered the appeal to the door of the British prime minister.
“Back in August we asked for your help to put pressure on Rishi Sunak’s government as millions of people around the world continue to face the grim reality of famine. And you did not disappoint. 1,500 of you, covering every constituency in Scotland signed a letter with three simple asks around food security,” the group said in a statement.
“And [on Nov. 16] we took that message – loud and clear – to the steps of number 10, asking the UK government to serve up change for millions around the world,” SCIAF said.
The British government says nearly a billion people worldwide experience severe levels of food insecurity and regularly do not have enough food to eat, while around 345 million people are acutely food insecure, in need of humanitarian assistance to survive and save their livelihoods.
The government says the Nov. 20 summit will focus on new approaches to tackle preventable deaths of children, building a climate-resilient and sustainable food system, supporting early action to prevent and reduce the impact of humanitarian crises, and using science and technology to boost food security.
The aim of the summit is “to demonstrate and interrogate the huge contribution that science, research and British academic institutions are making to the global problem of starvation and malnutrition,” UK development minister Andrew Mitchell told The Guardian.
UNICEF issued a joint statement from the Action Review Panel (ARP) on Child Wasting ahead of the London summit.
“Today, rising global hunger and malnutrition pose one of the greatest threats to children’s futures. The youngest, poorest and most marginalized children are victims of a perfect storm of increasing conflict, poverty and climate shocks, which risks reversing the remarkable progress made on child survival and nutrition,” the statement said.
“The Global Food Security Summit in the UK is an important moment for stakeholders to come together and commit to take the necessary actions required to protect the lives and futures of the world’s most vulnerable children,” it continued.
During SCIAF’S presentation to the British prime minister, Anne Callaghan – Policy and Public Affairs Officer for the Catholic group – was joined by London-based SCIAF supporter Amber Morris.
“There are many factors contributing to the global food crisis – but it remains the case that there is enough food on earth to go round – it’s just the system that’s broken,” Callaghan said.
“It’s wrong that while so many people across the world go hungry, others have too much food. We asked SCIAF supporters to add their name to our letter which calls for three things – more food aid for East Africa, reversing the overseas aid budget cuts and an overall system change to promote sustainable forms of agriculture across the world,” she continued.
“Thanks for standing with us against food justice, and for standing in solidarity with people facing the global hunger crisis. It’s time for action on global hunger. It’s time to serve up change,” she said.
“It is vital that this summit delivers the real change we need to see in the world and puts the needs of the poorest front and center. This petition shows that people across Scotland support the government to do all it can to help our brothers and sisters around the world,” Callaghan said.