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First ship leaves the port of Odesa, Ukraine: The Black Sea agreement is just the start to addressing the global hunger crisis

CARE International welcomes the news that the first shipment of blockaded grain has officially left the port of Odesa, following an agreement between Ukraine and Russia known as the Black Sea Initiative. We strongly urge all parties to uphold their commitments in the agreement, ensure the safety of personnel, commodities, and infrastructure, and to continue to build towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

The re-opening of supply routes is an important step towards mitigating hunger for an estimated 50 million people worldwide on the brink of famine. However, the current global hunger crisis did not start with the conflict in Ukraine, and nor will it end with the Black Sea Initiative.

Today, most of the world's hungry people live in conflict-affected areas. Globally, underlying inequalities affecting women and girls, disabled people, indigenous communities, and minority groups mean that these groups are disproportionately impacted by hunger. However, by investing in gender-equitable, localized, and sustainable systems change, the international community can ensure there is no place for famine in the 21st century.

CARE calls on the international community to commit to policy measures to ensure conflict does not exacerbate hunger by taking the following four concrete actions outlined in the May 2022 Call to Action signed by 40 international NGOs:

  1. prioritize diplomacy to address the root causes of food insecurity and protect people's ability to access food and livelihoods;
  2. increase funding to respond to the short, medium, and long-term impacts of the food security crisis;
  3. tailor food assistance modalities to each context;
  4. implement UN Security Council Resolutions 2417 (2018) and 2573 (2021) to ensure that conflict does not compromise humanitarian access, the safe functioning of civilian sites such as agricultural production, and markets and above all that food and hunger are never used as weapons of war.

The international community must act now if we are to stave off famine. By committing resources and political will to the global hunger, we can prevent further crisis, and forge lasting solutions to food insecurity for millions.