Despite some notable progress towards the targets of Rome Declaration on foodcsecurity in some countries around the world, food insecurity rates continue to rise among the most vulnerable groups in recent years again. World Food Program estimated that as many as 783 million people were facing chronic hunger in 2023. The Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2021) reported that food insecurity rates reached crisis level in 55 countries/territories both in terms of severity of the situation and the numbers of people involved and a significant portion of these are warn torn countries. While rising inflation, COVID-19 and financial crisis are often blamed, one of the most significant contributors to food insecurity has been wars and other forms of armed conflict in certain parts of the world. Wars destroy lives, livelihoods and environment. Funds spent for armament also rub societies out of investing in social welfare and development.
Displaced peoples are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. According to the UNHCR, the numbers of people who fled their homes because of armed conflict and persecution reached to an unprecedented 100 million people around the world in 2022. Displaced people because of armed conflict have been the most significant contributors to rising food insecurity rates in recent decades.
Koc argues that food insecurity should be seen beyond the food system’s failure in food provisioning but located in the failure of the key institutions of power in modern societies: international agencies of governance, the nation states, and the market. Using examples from recent cases of armed conflict from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Palestine this paper examines how armed conflicts contribute to food insecurity at the national, regional and global levels.
About the speaker
Mustafa Koc is emeritus professor of Sociology and the Director Centre for Studies in Food Security at Toronto Metropolitan University. His research and teaching interests involve food studies, food security, food policy, and the sociology of migration. Professor Koc was among the founders of the Centre for Studies in Food Security, Food Secure Canada, and the Canadian Association for Food Studies. His publications on the sociology of agriculture and food, social change and development, and immigration, include For Hunger-proof Cities, Working Together (2001), Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Food Studies (2008), Küresel Gıda Düzeni: Kriz Derinleşirken, and Critical Perspectives in Food Studies. His current research focuses on culinary practices, food security, and food safety concerns of immigrants and refugees. Prof. Koc received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement award from the Canadian Association for Food Studies (2017).
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