UN World Food Programme

How Solving Hunger Builds A More Secure World

In the first part of our series on Hunger, we argued that this issue is the World’s Greatest Solvable Problem. In part two, we explained why solving hunger is critical for the next generation. In this third part, we look at how solving hunger would also have a positive impact on peace and security in the world.

Congo: “We fought for food”

John Kikandi was enlisted by an armed group at the age of 15 and he became a child soldier. He quickly realized that, whatever his masters might say about their political goals, they were really fighting for food - nothing else. Last year his group disbanded and, with help from WFP, John began the transition to normal adolescent life. Read More

ROME – All political leaders know that hunger can lead to civil unrest and conflict. The old saying “a hungry man is an angry man’ has been demonstrated time and again.

One of history’s most famous examples is the spate of food riots that ignited the French Revolution in 1789. But there are much more recent examples too. The overthrow of the Haitian government in 2008 followed street protests over high food prices.

In fact, from 2007-2009 the U.S. State Department estimates more than 60 food-related riots happened worldwide as a result of higher food prices and food insecurity. Food prices were also one of the sources of unrest which formed the backdrop to the 'Arab Spring' of 2011.

The flipside of the 'hunger-instability' equation is that, in times of trouble, food assistance helps to promote peace and stability. In the face of volatility, meeting a fundamental human need brings calm.

This is not a new idea. Indeed, it has often been voiced by people leading the fight against hunger. You can see some of their quotes below. Why not help spread the idea by tweeting one of them?
 

US President Barack Obama
“Reducing malnutrition and hunger around the world advances international peace and security -- and that includes the national security of the United States.” May 2012

 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
“Zero hunger would boost economic growth, reduce poverty and safeguard the environment.It would foster peace and stability.” June 2012 

 

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil
Where there is hunger there is no hope….Hunger nurtures violence and fanaticism. A world where people starve will never be safeSeptember 2006 

 

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, Former Ambassador Against Hunger
“A dollar invested in ending hunger, is a dollar invested in peace.”  October 2011 

 

European Commissioner for International Cooperation Kristalina Georgieva
“Hunger… impedes countries' economic development, perpetuating a cycle of more hunger, more poverty and more instability. To solve this problem is one of the most important tasks we face today.”June 2012