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Global Hunger Is About to Get a Lot Worse — We Need to Get on Top of It | GZERO World

Food emergency: what to do when people are hungry now

On global issues, the international community must walk and chew gum at the same time. It needs to learn to deal with simultaneous crises that play off each other, says UN Foundation President Elizabeth Cousens.

That's why we dropped the ball on hunger.

Now the needs are huge and growing. We haven't seen a lot of images of starvation yet, but they are coming, Cousens tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Podcast: Salvaging the world we leave our kids with innovative philanthropy

Listen: Global inequality has reached a level we haven’t seen in our lifetimes and recent geopolitical convulsions have only made things worse. The rich have gotten richer while extreme poverty has exploded. UN Foundation President Elizabeth Cousens thinks it's the perfect time for institutions backed by the 1% to step up. She speaks with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast about the key role that innovative philanthropy could play to address problems exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, economic fallout from the COVID pandemic, and a warming planet.

Why now? The stakes are so high and the crises so urgent that Cousens sees a window of opportunity for philanthropy to take swift action instead of their traditional long-term approach. When it comes to immediate and deadly problems like famine and flooding, an influx of money could start making a huge difference very quickly.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform, to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

War in Ukraine puts 280 million at risk of hunger

War in Ukraine puts 280 million at risk of hunger

The war in Ukraine has been dominating headlines since Russia’s unprovoked invasion on February 24. Of all the implications of the conflict, the most important is also one of the least well-covered: its impact on global food systems.

Three months in, the war has jolted agricultural markets, leading to soaring food prices and growing global hunger. The FAO’s Cereal Price Index was up 21% between January and April, while the Vegetable Oils Index was up 28% in the same period. Before the war started, there were nearly 1.2 billion people globally facing food insecurity, of which 780 million lived in extreme poverty and almost 39 million were at risk of famine. Fast forward to today, and the ranks of people facing food-related distress have swelled to 1.6 billion, 1.1 billion, and 49 million, respectively.

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Ian Explains: What Happened at Davos | GZERO World

What happened at Davos

The tiny alpine village of Davos in Switzerland used to be the place to be for some of the world's most powerful people to talk about very important stuff at the annual World Economic Forum.

Indeed, the name “Davos” had become code for a globalist agenda that promotes things like liberal democracy and encourages cooperation on big issues such as climate change to fix the world's problems.

For a long time, it worked. People became more connected, and poverty declined. But not anymore, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

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Danger to the Acutely Hungry: Lack of Access, or Lack of Money | GZERO World

Danger to the acutely hungry: lack of access, or lack of money

Where will the war make most people go hungry?

The pandemic pushed some 275 million people into acute hunger around the world. How many more will struggle to find their next meal due to the war in Ukraine?

About double that amount, estimates Ertharin Cousin, former head of the UN World Food Programme.

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Ian Explains: Russia's War in Ukraine is Starving the World | GZERO World

Russia's war in Ukraine is starving the world

Ukraine is an agricultural powerhouse. But so is Russia. Between the two they account for almost a third of the world's wheat exports.

The Russian invasion has disrupted planting and harvesting in Ukraine. Sanctions against Moscow, for their part, have restricted shipping — further limiting food supplies.

Who's most at risk? Countries in the Middle East and North Africa that depend on these grain imports, like Egypt.

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Conundrum: Russian Food Can Prevent Starvation by the World’s Poor | GZERO World

Conundrum: Russian food can prevent starvation by the world's poor

Russia's war in Ukraine has put the international community in a tough spot.

Sanctions against Russia that affect global food commodities will make people go hungry, especially in the Global South. But then the Russians will continue to profit from selling all that food.

So, who should make that call? Ertharin Cousin, who knows a thing or two about the United Nations because she used to run its World Food Programme, says it's time for the UN Security Council to step in.

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A Perfect Storm of Food Insecurity: A Problem for All of Us | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

A perfect storm of food insecurity: a problem for all of us

Russia and Ukraine are agricultural powerhouses. But the war and sanctions have crippled their ability to feed the world.

Who's most at risk? Developing countries that rely on those imports. What will the impact be? The disruptions could double the number of people currently suffering from acute food insecurity (some 275 million) due to the pandemic.

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to Ertharin Cousin, who knows a thing or two about food security as the former executive director of the UN World Food Programme

Cousin says the war has created a perfect storm that'll led to a global food price and supply crisis. Everyone will be affected because we're talking about global commodities, and the worst might be yet to come since agriculture is a seasonal business.

The conflict, she says, has put the international community in a tough spot. Sanctions will cause hunger, but otherwise, Russia will continue to profit from selling food to the world.

And there's a growing divide between the West and non-aligned developing countries that can't afford to not import Russian food. Conflict-affected nations are the most vulnerable, but many low-income nations will also struggle because they can't afford subsidies to feed their people.

As a bonus, battle over borscht! What’s the back story, and why is the soup such an important part of Ukraine’s national identity? We spoke with a chef, a historian, and a Ukrainian emigré couple to learn more.

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