Hunger and food scarcity can create conflict. In turn, they can also be created or, more often than not, exacerbated by conflict. Conflict and severe hunger are the two largest trends on the rise in international policy. Several global human institutions like the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) are all working to draw attention to these issues in the hope that this will lead to change.
The United Nations estimates that 80 percent of its humanitarian funding needs derive form conflict. Conflict can aggravate hunger and climate disasters add more instability to the mix. This is a continuous cycle that human institutions attempt to address daily and have done so for many decades.
While wars are violent and extremely life altering, they also have the tendency to cause hunger, food insecurity, and starvation. “Warring parties may plunder an enemy’s food supply, deliberately destroying farms, livestock, and other civilian infrastructure” (Hunger and War, 2020). Populations are often removed from their homes and away from their natural resources, causing them to starve or struggle to find other sources of food. War is most likely to cause severe issues with supply chain and the distribution of food. This is one of the main side effects of war.
In 2018, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning the use of food insecurity and starvation as a tactic of war. While this is a great step towards discouraging this type of action, there must also be legitimate prosecution of those who do use food insecurity as a tactic of war.
The goal of the United Nations resolution condemning the use of food insecurity as a tactic of war was to encourage these actors to allow humanitarian efforts to intervene. If humanitarian efforts are banned, then the actor would face consequences for engaging in that war tactic. This resolution does offer a more concrete and readily available solution, but there is a need for a more permanent and official condemnation that specifically addresses inappropriate and inhumane war tactics that cause food insecurity.
Leaders of these human institutions stress that those struggling with hunger do not have time to spare. Their lives depend on this issue being addressed. The leaders thus highlight the urgency and priority that this issue should take. The United Nations adopted their Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. These goals include, among other priorities, ending hunger and extreme food insecurity.
The main efforts to treat this problem have been focused on investments in agriculture and climate resilience. Organization do believe that this issue can be solved by alleviating other societal issues. They strongly advocate for minimizing conflict, political solutions, and general peace between state and non-state actors.
Back to the root causes of war: food shortages. (2019, March9). doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30018-2
Brown, K. (2018, March 27). Conflict and Hunger: A Worsening Trend. Retrieved from United Nations Foundation: https://unfoundation.org/blog/post/conflict-hunger-worsening-trend/
Hunger and War. (2020, January 15). Retrieved from Notional Geographic: Society:https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/hunger-and-war/#:~:text=Conflict%20can%20cause%20food%20shortages,their%20food%20supplies%20and%20livelihoods.
War: Conflict feed hunger, hunger feeds conflicts. (2021,September 15). Retrieved from The Green Political Foundation :https://www.boell.de/en/war-conflicts-feed-hunger