A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
A new global governance
The G20 can begin the process of international reform this year – by tackling commodity speculation, agreeing new sources of innovative finance for climate change, and reaching consensus on export restrictions, food reserves and increased transparency in commodity markets. But the G20 mainly represents food powers (see Figure 21). Ultimately, governance of the food system must become broader-based, and include those countries most vulnerable to crises and shocks.
The UN’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) provides a forum in which a new governance framework can be negotiated and agreed. It is already working on critical issues such as food price volatility, land investment, climate change, and protecting livelihoods during protracted crises. More importantly, it is the only space in which all governments, civil society, international institutions, and the private sector can formally negotiate measures to ensure international food security.135
As we lurch uncertainly into the age of crisis, the CFS holds our best hope of ushering in a new era of co-operation – a system of multilateral rules that will enable governments to act collectively in the global interest, resolve conflict, align policies, and allocate resources more effectively.