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Aid organisations call on governments to give a single day’s military spending to fight hunger

A malnourished child being treated at a primary care centre in South Sudan.
A malnourished child being treated at a primary care centre in South Sudan. Photo: Jennifer O'Gorman

Only 26 hours of global military spending is enough to cover the $5.5 billion needed to help those most at risk in the world.

A year on since the UN warned of “famines of biblical proportions”, large donors have funded just five percent of the UN’s $7.8bn food security appeal for 2021. 

Concern Worldwide is one of more than 250 non-government organisations  who have signed an open letter today calling upon all governments to urgently increase aid to stop over 34 million people, from being pushed to the brink of starvation this year. 

The $5.5 billion additional funding recently called for by the UN World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation is equivalent to less than 26 hours of the $1.9 trillion that countries spend each year on the military. Yet, as more and more people go to bed hungry, conflict is increasing. 


At the end of 2020 the UN estimated that 270 million people were either at high risk of, or already facing, acute levels of hunger. Already 174 million people in 58 countries have reached that level and are at risk of dying from malnutrition or lack of food, and this figure is only likely to rise in coming months if nothing is done immediately. 

Globally, average food prices are now the highest in seven years. 

“Conflict is the biggest driver of global hunger, also exacerbated by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic,” Mr MacSorley said. “From Yemen, to Afghanistan, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria, conflicts and violence are forcing millions to the brink of starvation.” 

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic the UN Secretary General called for a global ceasefire to address the pandemic but too few leaders have sought to implement it. “Global leaders must support durable and sustainable solutions to conflict, and open pathways for humanitarians to access those in conflict zones to save lives,” Mr MacSorley said.

For media queries contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide, at or 087 9880524

Notes to the editor 


  • In the first quarter of 2021, donors have provided just 6.1% of the total $36 billion requested in the UN humanitarian appeals for the year. In the food security sector, donors met only 5.3% or $415 million of the total $7.8bn requested. (As of April 7, 2021) 







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