The World Bank has announced actions it plans to take as part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis, with up to $30 billion in existing and new projects in areas such as agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water and irrigation.
This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers, the World Bank said.
“Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable,” World Bank Group president David Malpass said.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Malpass said.
“Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertiliser, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage,” he said.
The World Bank is working with countries on the preparation of $12 billion of new projects for the next 15 months to respond to the food security crisis, the statement said.
These projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects, with the majority of resources going to Africa and the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia, the World Bank said.
In addition, the World Bank’s existing portfolio includes undisbursed balances of $18.7 billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
“Altogether, this would amount to over $30 billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months,” the World Bank said.
This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.
The statement said that the World Bank Group’s global response will address four priorities.
The first was to support production and producers: Take actions to enhance next season’s production by removing input trade barriers, focusing on more efficient use of fertilizers, and repurposing public policies and expenditures to better support farmers and output.
The second was to facilitate increased trade: Build international consensus (G7, G20, others) and commitment to avoid export restrictions that increase global food prices and import restrictions that discourage production in developing countries.
The third was to support vulnerable households: Scale up targeted, nutrition-sensitive social protection programs and replenish early-response financing mechanisms.
Fourth, to invest in sustainable food and nutrition security: Strengthen food systems to make them more resilient to rising risks (conflict, climate, pests, diseases), trade disruptions and economic shocks – balance immediate/short-term needs with long-term investments.
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