Australia lobbied to act on famine crisis

This article originally appeared on The Canberra Times here.

Australia is being urged not to avert its eyes from the looming disaster of hundreds of thousands of African children starving to death, by taking action at major global forums.

A group of the nation’s aid and development organisations is calling on the Albanese government to be a world leader in advocating for greater humanitarian support to Somalia at COP27 and the G20.

They say a $150 million famine protection package should pledge emergency relief for the worst-affected hunger hotspots, including Somalia.

Australia should also rejoin the UN’s Green Climate Fund, to support developing countries with climate adaptation and mitigation measures, the group said.

Reverend Tim Costello, from the group Help Fight Famine, said November was the “last great chance to prevent hundreds of thousands of children in the Horn of Africa starving to death”.

“The world must act at COP27 and G20, and Australia must not avert its eyes,” he said.

“Developed countries, which are our biggest polluters, should take responsibility by compensating and supporting our vulnerable countries.”

The United Nations estimates more than 300,000 people in Somalia will be in famine within weeks, as the nation experiences its worst drought in 40 years.

The extreme conditions are being attributed to climate change.

Somalia also relies on Russia and Ukraine for products, particularly wheat, as Moscow’s blockade on exports in the Black Sea worsens the food crisis.

Climate finance and loss-and-damage payments for developing nations are the issues top of the agenda for the climate conference in Egypt this week.

A new loss-and-damage mechanism would see developing countries compensated for climate-related devastation by wealthier polluters.

Australian Associated Press

By Tess Ikonomou