G7 Failure To Tackle Hunger Crisis Will Cause More Hunger, Oxfam International Says

The Group of Seven’s (G7) pledge to collectively stand up against the world’s hunger crisis, which has been progressively worse, is simply not sufficient and fails to set things into motion, Oxfam International states in late June. “Faced with the worst hunger crisis in a generation, the G7 have simply failed to take the action that is needed. […] Instead of doing what is needed, the G7 are leaving millions to starve and cooking the planet,” Oxfam’s Head of Inequality asserts.

Ministers of the world’s biggest and richest democratic powers came together in Germany with the aspiration to take measures about climate change, energy prices and dependency on Russian fossil fuels. The established plans seem highly promising. The nations promised to decarbonize energy sectors by 2035, stop subsidizing polluting fuels by 2025 and make electric car sales dominant by 2030. These G7 targets would inspire the G20, other economic powers that together hold about 80 percent of world trade and 80 percent of emissions, to follow up.

Climate- and other organizations have increasingly put pressure on the G7 over the years, accusing them of purposely looking away from problems that cannot be looked away from. Greenpeace made a statement last year that G7 countries needed more forceful measures to tackle both the COVID- and climate crises. “Everyone is being hit by COVID-19 and worsening climate impacts, but it is the most vulnerable who are faring the worst due to G7 leaders sleeping on the job,” Executive Director Greenpeace International Jennifer Morgan said. Greenpeace UK director, John Sauven, adds that “there’s a new commitment to ending overseas investment in coal, which is their piece de resistance. But without agreeing to end all new fossil fuel projects – something that must be delivered this year if we are to limit dangerous rises in global temperature – this plan falls very short.”

Thus, as the Berlin plans of this year do seem to be more optimistic, activists are not content. Thousands of protesters congregated in Southern Germany, where the yearly G7 meeting would officialize its plans. Many diverse organizations and individuals were present, but the bottom line of the demonstrators’ demands is more clarity and more commitment. An Oxfam International spokesperson stated that “we need concrete action to cope with multiple crises of our time. That means that the G7 have to act immediately.”

To Oxfam, the common factor to fight all these crises is global equality. Almost half of humanity today, 3.3 billion people, live below the poverty line of $5.50 a day in 2022, with the COVID-19 pandemic having already taken over 20 million lives and millions of jobs. At the same time, wealthy corporations and individuals, especially in food and energy sectors, have become tremendously richer. “COVID-19 has fed off and increased inequalities of wealth, income, gender and race, diving an inequality explosion,” Oxfam claims in a report published June 24th.

The report follows up with a synopsis of recommendations on how the G7 can properly act. The summit focuses on finance, climate, global health, gender, and hunger issues. Actions include cancelling unpayable debts to poorer countries, introducing windfall excess profit taxes to have multinationals pay for costs of damage, and increasing life-saving emergency aid to poorer countries. They insist a better devotion to the Paris Agreement, as none of the G7 countries are likely to meet the installments. They plead for vaccine equality, which could be achieved by compelling pharmaceutical corporations to contribute to policies that allow poorer countries to fabricate cheaper vaccines, tests and treatments themselves. Preparedness and response to pandemics, and investments in public health systems and health care must be scaled up. Approaching gender equality is an absolute necessity, for “women were disproportionately pushed out of employment” and “increased unpaid care work has barred millions of women from rejoining labor markets”. Oxfam therefore calls for better representation of diversity, investments in women majority sectors, closing of the pay gap and better access to social protection. Lastly, the global food crisis, skyrocketed by the Ukraine war, must be properly handled, because “the world already produces enough food for everyone. Hunger, malnutrition and famine are not caused by inadequate amounts of food but by the political failures that restrict people’s access to it.”

The G7 has a responsibility to do everything and anything they can to put an end to these crises, because they have the money and power to do so. If they don’t, it will have ravaging consequences for the world’s hunger.