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Woman feeding child. Photo: UNOCHA/Damilola Onafuwa

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Virtual High-level Event: Action in Support of Preventing and Ending Famine Now

In collaboration with the Group of Friends on Action on Conflict and Hunger, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) convened a virtual high-level event on action in support of preventing and ending famine now, that took place on Monday, 4 October, 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. EDT  / 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Geneva (CET).

The purpose of the event was to take stock of recent efforts to stop the advance of famine and famine risk and give a clear direction of urgent actions the international community must take to address gaps in the current response to prevent further deterioration in the severity and scale of acute food insecurity.

full recording of the event is available online.


Joint Statement by the Group of Friends of Action on Conflict and Hunger, 4 October 2021


Concept Note
Programme (as of 30 September 2021)
Hunger Hotspots, August to November 2021 Outlook [PDF], FAO-WFP
Global Report on Food Crises 2021, FSIN and Global Network Against Food Crises, 2021
“IASC Members Ring the Warning Bells: Famine Risk in 2021”, IASC, 16 July 2021

Country-specific Documents

Burkina Faso
South Sudan


On 11 March 2021, at the UN Security Council debate on conflict and food security, the UN Secretary-General called for a swift, coordinated response and appealed to Member States and partners to take action to prevent famine and a further deterioration in emergency levels of food insecurity. The Secretary-General established a High-level Task Force on Preventing Famine to bring attention to and mobilize support for the most-affected countries.

In 2021, UN agencies confirmed that we now face unprecedented catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity, with half a million people (584,000) experiencing famine-like conditions (Catastrophe/IPC phase 5) in Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen. In recent months, vulnerable populations in Burkina Faso and Nigeria have also faced these same famine-like conditions (Catastrophe/IPC 5).

In addition, 41 million people worldwide face emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC 4), only one slight shock away from the edge of famine – a 50 per cent increase in just two years. Millions more are experiencing crisis levels of acute food insecurity (IPC 3) and are at real risk of rapid deterioration.

The international community must therefore act urgently and at scale before it is too late for millions of people.

Event Details

Monday, 4 October, 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. EDT  / 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Geneva (CET).

The event included opening remarks by:

  • Mr. Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
  • H.E. Mr. José Alfonso Blanco Conde, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the UN
  • Mr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
  • Mr. David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Ms. Abby Maxman, CEO and President of Oxfam America and Chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR)
  • Ms. Gloria Modong Morris, Executive Director of the Titi Foundation South Sudan

Moderator: Ms. Kate Warren, Executive Vice President and Executive Editor, Devex

Member States and partners then took the floor for interventions. Statements were limited to a maximum of two minutes.

Closing remarks were made by H.E. Mr. Nick Dyer, Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Government of the United Kingdom, as well as by USG/ERC Griffiths.


FAO logo WFP logo
Group of Friends on Action on Conflict and Hunger: Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Niger, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United States