Food insecurity is a growing challenge in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The UN estimated that over 55 million people in the region (12% of the population) were undernourished before Covid-19. While population growth, climate change, and violent conflict are major drivers of food insecurity, in recent years, the issue has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain bottlenecks, and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on commodity prices. The growing challenge of food insecurity is projected to intensify in the coming few years and comes over-and-above political-economic crises already facing some countries in the region.
On Monday, October 31, the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, in partnership with the Arab Barometer, convened a panel of experts to examine diverse perspectives on the problem of food insecurity in the MENA region. Panelists explored the challenges and examined potential policy solutions to an issue that affects international, regional, and national stakeholders. What factors impacting the production, consumption, and distribution of food contribute to the crisis? How do the drivers and impacts of such a crisis differ from one country to another? Which communities are most affected by rising food insecurity and what can external and regional actors do to address these challenges?