Food security of Middle Eastern States: new solutions in the era of international tension | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Рубрика: Политология

Опубликовано в Молодой учёный №40 (435) октябрь 2022 г.

Дата публикации: 02.10.2022

Статья просмотрена: 11 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Попп, Э. А. Food security of Middle Eastern States: new solutions in the era of international tension / Э. А. Попп. — Текст : непосредственный // Молодой ученый. — 2022. — № 40 (435). — С. 155-157. — URL: https://moluch.ru/archive/435/95225/ (дата обращения: 27.03.2023).



Food insecurity has been a growing concern since 2008, when food crises led to regime change in the Maghreb and the Middle East. Some Arab States that have experienced a wave of change have tried to adapt their political systems to the model of Western democracy, although with little success. Although concern for food security has led to the creation of some global organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Children's Fund, there is a great need to focus on food security, which may be caused by a demographic explosion. The years from 2016 to 2025 have been declared the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition — the Decade of Nutrition [3].

By the end of 2022, the countries of the Middle East region faced many challenges, including inflation and rising cost of living. A separate topic of concern is the food prices increase, which primarily affects low-income segments of the population. The problem of the rise in the price of the food basket is aggravated due to the crisis in Ukraine, which along with the Russian Federation, is a major supplier of food to the Middle East and the world market as well. This causes difficulties in ensuring the food security of the countries in the region [7].

The decline in food exports because of the Russian special operation in Ukraine reduces the supply of some goods to international markets and leads to an increase in prices for commodities and derivative products. In 2021, Russia and Ukraine were the first and sixth largest wheat exports in the world, many countries in the Middle East region depend on both countries for the import of wheat and vegetable oil. The ongoing conflict disrupts the supply chains of cereals and oilseeds, raises food prices, and is expected to significantly increase domestic production costs in the agricultural sector. Russia and Ukraine account for more than 30 % of world trade in wheat, 32 % of barley, 17 % of corn and more than half of sunflower oil, seeds, and animal feed [2]. For example, Lebanon is heavily dependent on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia to produce its widely consumed traditional Arabic bread. Customs data show that Lebanon imported 81 % of its wheat from Ukraine and 15 % from Russia in 2020 [2]. In contrast, countries such as Turkey, Morocco and Israel are key exporters, allowing them to support themselves with agricultural products. In turn, the countries of the Persian Gulf, where the climate does not allow agriculture, depend on food imports. To solve this problem, international negotiations were held under the leadership of the United Nations and Turkey, which were aimed at opening Ukraine's maritime trade and increasing exports of Russian agricultural products by rail and road. This should help the countries of the Middle East to take a step away from the impending famine. But this is not the only way out, countries are still able to replace the interrupted imports of Ukrainian and Russian wheat with more expensive ones from other exporters.

On September 21, 2022, the 77th session of the UN General Assembly was held at the White House in Washington, where the current president of the United States, a country that is a member of the UN Security Council, put forward theses on the causes and ways to solve the food crisis both worldwide and in the Middle East. Speaking at the UN headquarters, Joseph Biden noted that the main cause of the food crisis is the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine. Biden also announced the continuation of a “new era of incessant diplomacy” [1], which is aimed at solving problems such as climate change, the issue of food around the world, and so on. He also noted that the climate crisis is one of the causes of increasing hunger and drought in the world. “Families are faced with an impossible choice, choosing who to feed among their children, and not knowing whether they will be able to survive.” [1] To solve environmental problems, the US administration has developed a PREPARE plan and allocated 11 billion dollars. However, climatic conditions are not the key cause of hunger. As J. Biden notes, there are now more than 193 million people in the world experiencing acute food insecurity. To this end, the President promised to allocate 2.9 billion dollars for humanitarian aid and assistance in ensuring food security. Excluding all the above about Russia's inability to supply wheat to the countries of the Middle East due to the imposed sanctions, Biden said that “our sanctions specifically provide for Russia's right to export food and fertilizers, without any restrictions.” [1] Who to believe in this situation remains a question.

The President of the United States presented a Call to Action in the form of a roadmap to eliminate global food insecurity. Biden also said that efforts are being made to develop the economy in countries in need, including the countries of the Middle East. He said that the United States, together with UN partners, is working to create a new economic ecosystem, “where every country — every country gets equal opportunities, and economic growth is sustainable and shared.”

Thus, some programs have great chances to become effective and help in the fight against hunger and drought, and some have yet to be implemented. Nevertheless, as it always happens, the problem cannot be solved definitively without eliminating the original source and the main cause of its occurrence.

Another reason for the food crisis in the Middle East is the so-called «Arab Spring» (2010–2015), which still does not allow the region to adjust the economic and political situation. The Arab Spring has clearly shown the weaknesses of food security in the Middle East and North Africa: low costs for research and development in the agricultural segment. The lack of proper irrigation systems and methods leads to the fact that the crop yield depends on the amount of precipitation. And now, the region is facing a drought due to environmental problems.

There is a shortage of fertilizers in these regions. At the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “Hope alone is not enough, action is needed.” [8] Next, the Secretary General proposed alternative ways out of the food crisis: to remove obstacles to the export of Russian fertilizers and their components, including ammonia (these goods should not fall under sanctions), he also called on the UN to pay attention to the problem of the impact of high gas prices on the production of nitrogen fertilizers.

Accordingly, now on the world stage we are witnessing one of the most difficult problems of our time, both for the States of the Middle East and for the whole world. Along with environmental reasons (drought), there are also political reasons, such as the aggravation of the conflict in Ukraine, which blocks the supply of agricultural crops (mainly wheat) to the countries of the Middle East and Africa. The main suppliers of this culture were Russia and Ukraine. The Middle East has been left without food and water, if no action is taken, 2022 will turn out to be a year of struggle for survival for the countries of the region. The UN (FAO) and UNICEF assume responsibility for food problems in the world. The main ways to solve the food crisis of 2022 were announced at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, where this topic was one of the leading ones. The solutions turned out to be simple to the point of banality: to remove obstacles to the export of Russian fertilizers and their components, including ammonia (these goods should not fall under sanctions), he also called on the UN to pay attention to the problem of the impact of high gas prices on the production of nitrogen fertilizers.

References:

  1. White House of the USA. Remarks by President Biden Before the 77 th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. 2022.URL: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/09/21/remarks-by-president-biden-before-the-77th-session-of-the-united-nations-general-assembly/
  2. CNBC News. With bread prices skyrocketing, Lebanon waits for crucial wheat imports and international aide. 27 July 2022. URL: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/27/lebanon-waits-for-crucial-wheat-imports-and-international-aide.html#:~:text=nearly %207 %20million.-,Lebanon %20imports %20most %20of %20its %20food %20and %20all %20of %20its,has %20sent %20bread %20prices %20skyrocketing.
  3. United Nations Decade of action on nutrition. 2016–2025. URL: https://www.un.org/nutrition/sites/www.un.org.nutrition/files/general/pdf/work_programme_nutrition_decade.pdf
  4. The middle East and a new reality. Valdai, 14 March, 2022. URL: https://ru.valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/blizhniy-vostok-i-novaya-realnost/?sphrase_id=541242
  5. International Red Cross. Worsening food shortages: millions of people in conflict zones are facing a severe crisis. 11 July 2022. URL: https://www.icrc.org/ru/document/obostryayushchayasya-nehvatka-prodovolstviya-millionam-lyudey-v-zonah-konfliktov-grozit
  6. Christopher M. Blanchard. Middle East and North Africa: Implications of 2022 Russia-Ukraine War // Congressional Research Service. — June 15, 2022. URL: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R47160
  7. Hala Mohsen, Yonna Sacre, Lara Hanna-Wakim and Maha Hoteit. Nutrition and Food Literacy in the MENA Region: a Review to Inform Nutrition Research and Policy Makers// Public Health. — July 2022. URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191610190
  8. The UN News. General secretary of the UN on the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. URL: https://news.un.org/ru/story/2022/09/1431891
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): URL, CNBC, FAO, MENA, PREPARE, UNICEF, USA.


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