In 2021 hunger surpassed all previous records as reported by the Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC). The GRFC published in May 2022 (covering the year 2021)1 indicated that around 193 million people in 53 countries were in crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) by the end of 2021, with an increase of nearly 40 million people since 2020. The magnitude and severity of food crises in 2021 were mainly driven by protracted conflict and insecurity, economic shocks – related to the COVID-19 pandemic - and weather extremes which exacerbated pre-existing fragilities. Malnutrition remained at critical levels, driven by several factors, including low physical availability and economic and physical access to food, poor child-feeding practices, a high prevalence of childhood illnesses, poor maternal dietary practices during pregnancy and low access to sanitation, drinking water and health care.
The increase in serious and large-scale crises that occurred simultaneously in 2021 and the food crisis that are expected to worsen in 2022 due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, conflicts and low rains in many parts of Africa, emphasises the continued relevance of the Food Assistance Convention (FAC). The FAC represents a commitment by its Parties2 to contribute to global food security and to improve the ability of the international community to respond to emergency food crises, to save and change lives, to reduce hunger, to improve levels of nutrition, to create livelihoods, and to strengthen the resilience and self-sufficiency of the most vulnerable populations. This 2021 FAC Annual Report presents a summary of the Parties’ contributions towards these objectives, as per their individual financial and narrative reports for the year.
In 2021, all Parties fulfilled or substantially exceeded their commitments by collectively contributing over 6,791 million US dollars to the improvement of worldwide food security. Cash-based transfer programming (CBT) continued to receive increased support as the transfer modality for multi-purpose assistance by FAC Parties. The vast majority of total contributions were provided fully in grant form, with a substantial part consisting of earmarked or lightly earmarked contributions, predominately at country or activity level. Multi-year funding and un-earmarked contributions were mainly provided to WFP, and to a lesser extent through the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and to country-based pooled funds (CBPFs). Key responses were supported in collaboration with various agencies and programmes of the United Nations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, national governments in the developing world, and civil-society organizations. Geographically, food assistance was provided in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pacific region.
In 2021, the top 10 FAC Recipient Countries were Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
Compared to the top 10 counties with most people in Crisis, only Pakistan and Haiti (number 9 and 10 respectively) are not included in the top 10 FAC recipient countries.
Andreas Papaconstantinou, Director at the European Commission, and European Union Chair of the FAC in 2022, expressed concern about the high levels of food insecurity, which have kept increasing in 2022, exacerbated by the ripple effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He wishes to thank the FAC members for their contributions to fight global hunger, and emphasises the need to step-up efforts, as the situation is likely to remain critical in the immediate future.