Statement from the WFP Executive Director David Beasley for the BCSC 2020

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"Hi, I am David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme and it is a pleasure to be part of the Berlin Climate and Security Conference. Even before Covid-19 virus turned our world upside down, we were facing the perfect storm already with unprecedented humanitarian needs in 2020. Today, we are not only dealing with a global health crisis but we are also facing a hunger pandemic.

135 million people are already marching towards the brink of starvation. Over half of these people are being pushed to the brink by conflict. While, 34 million live in countries where extreme weather is the main culprit and economic shocks account for the rest. But Covid-19 is forcing many more vulnerable communities and families to the edge. WFP Projections suggest that 265 million people will be acutely food insecure by the end of this year.

We have to act and we have to act now to stop this crisis becoming a humanitarian catastrophy. It´s all hands on deck, literally as we speak. And the solution lies in coordinated action to tackle all the main-drivers of hunger, working together. Which includes building resilience to climate change.

In the field, we see every day how climate change leads to instability and social tension. Take Afghanistan for example, where communities are forced to compete over scarce water sources and fertile land, just to survive. If we allow this to continue, the consequences could be severe. Worldwide by 2050 the number of people forced to migrate because of a changing climate, extreme weather shocks, could very well reach a 140 million people.

That's why WFP is working with governments around the world to help communities adapt to become more resilient as the climate changes. Together, we restored degraded land, and build irrigation wells, holding ponds and water reservoirs to protect agricultural lively-hoods. We protect the most vulnerable with safety-nets. For example, in the Sahel Region in Western Africa, where more than one million people are being supported with climate risk insurance. And we work with weather forecasts and early warning systems – so countries can act before climate disasters happen.

For example, in Bangladesh, that´s were we use advanced warning systems for example of the monsoon floods that are about to hit, in what ensures that we can transfer cash to families before they hit. And there is still much more to do to help vulnerable communities around the world adapt to climate extremes and weather shocks. But the support of governments such as Germany allows WFP to save lives and change lives every day. Together we can. Thank you."
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