International Food Assistance, Food Security, and National Security (Speaker: Phil Thomas)

Phil Thomas

Food Insecurity is one of the most critical problems confronting the global community in the Twenty-First Century. Despite numerous national and international efforts over the past 60 years, its elimination remains elusive due to a complex array of environmental and human factors. Despite the existence an adequate supply of food to feed the global population at this time, the absence of effective governance and political will at a national and global level is perhaps the most significant obstacle to achieving resilient, sustainable, and environmentally appropriate food security for the entire global population. Today over 800 million people are chronically malnourished while millions more are suffering from acute malnutrition. A growing number of national conflicts, COVID-19, and an escalating climate crisis have created a perfect storm and placed global food insecurity at a crucial tipping point. Hunger is number one on the list of global society’s top 10 health risks. It kills more people than AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis combined. Missing out on essential nutrients in 1000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday translates into irreversible damage to cognitive and physical development. The intensifying global food security crisis significantly affects the poor, elderly, racial minorities, and small farmers throughout the globe who are on the verge of starvation daily. Elimination of global hunger demands improving national and global governance by making it more inclusive, participatory, transparent, and accountable. Dedicated leadership, multi-institution and grass roots commitment, and broad based political will are crucial to eliminating global hunger and ultimately achieving the UN goal of zero hunger in our lifetime. In the final analysis, without food security there is no national security.

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