As world faces unprecedented famine threat G7 should pay up and push for peace 

G7 leaders meeting in Taormina, Sicily, on 26-7 May should take the lead in fighting famine and immediately fund nearly half ($2.9 billion) of the UN’s urgent appeal to avoid catastrophic hunger and more deaths, Oxfam urged today. Without an immediate and sweeping response, this crisis will spiral out of control and cost more lives. 

Deadly famine is already affecting 100,000 people in parts of South Sudan and threatens to extend to Yemen, Somalia and north-east Nigeria. Widespread famine across all four countries is not yet inevitable, but G7 leaders need to act now with a massive injection of aid, backed with a forceful diplomatic push to bring an end to the long-standing conflicts that are driving this hunger crisis. 

If each G7 government contributed its fair share to the UN's appeal for $6.3 billion for all four countries, Oxfam estimates that this would raise almost half of the total required. The UN appeal is still only 30 per

Repaired Borehole

Repaired Borehole

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cent funded across the four countries. Collectively the G7 nations have provided $1.7 billion so far – just under 60 percent of their fair share. 

The UK is doing better than most G7 members having given its fair share of aid to three out of four affected countries – South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. Canada is the only member to have equalled this track record whilst Italy, France and Japan have failed to reach their fair share in any of the countries. 

Ed Cairns, Senior Policy Advisor at Oxfam, said: "Political failure has created this crisis and now political leadership is needed to end the agony of hunger. The world’s most powerful leaders must not walk away from Taormina without providing emergency funding and clear solutions to tackle the root causes. 

"Britain is doing more than most, but needs to deliver on its promises to provide more help to people at risk of starvation in Nigeria. It is hugely regrettable that none of the G7 nations has provided its fair share of funding to all four countries at risk of famine while thousands of people are already dying from disease and extreme hunger." 

In 2015, the G7 committed to lift 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition, yet 30 million people across the four countries are now experiencing severe hunger - 10 million of whom are facing emergency and famine conditions. The number of people experiencing acute food insecurity is estimated to have risen by about 40 percent over the last two years. G7 leaders should uphold the commitments they have made on hunger and malnutrition and give more attention to crisis prevention and building smallholder farmers’ resilience in order to reduce needs over time. 

In addition to funding the UN appeal, G7 leaders should press for immediate ceasefires and inclusive peace processes, as well as for safe access to places where aid agencies are having trouble reaching people in need. Conflict has driven millions of people from their homes and communities, cutting them off from their fields, jobs, food and markets.   

In Yemen, some G7 members including the UK continue to supply weapons for military action that could be used in contravention of the rules of war. Oxfam has been pressing these members to immediately halt arms sales and stop fuelling the war in Yemen. 



1.        Download Oxfam’s latest policy report on what governments need to do to avert the threat of global famine: 

2.        Oxfam will be attending at the G7 summit with spokespeople available for interview on the hunger crisis, migration, climate and inequality. Oxfam will be presenting a number of stunts over the period of the summit. The first, on the subject of the four famines, will take place on the morning of Thursday 25 May near the International Media Centre in Giardini Naxos. There will also be opportunities to visit some of Oxfam’s programmes working with migrants in Sicily. Please contact us for further details. 

3.        In addition to taking action on the hunger crisis, Oxfam is calling for a clear outcome on climate change action and the Paris climate agreement and a commitment to migration policies that uphold human rights and protect people’s dignity. 

4.        The UN ‘four famines’ appeal was originally launched for a total of $5.6 billion  and was later revised up to $6.3 billion after the Somalia response plan was updated earlier this month 

5.        There has been a 40 percent rise in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity over the last two years according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network: 

6.        Oxfam calculates its fair share analysis by comparing data from the UN’s Financial Tracking System (FTS) and information received from G7 members with their national income. The FTS website may not have been updated with recent pledges. 

As of 18 May, only 30 percent of the $6.3 billion needed had been received. Country by country, this means that Nigeria is only 21 percent funded; Somalia, 33 percent; South Sudan, 42 percent; and Yemen, 21 percent. 

Only one G7 leader (UK) has provided its fair share for Yemen, two (UK and Canada) for South Sudan, two (UK and Germany) for Somalia and two (Canada and Germany) for Nigeria. View or download Oxfam’s fair share analysis here: 

7.        About 30 million people are experiencing alarming levels of hunger in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. Some 10 million of them are facing emergency and famine conditions. 

8.        Climate change is helping to fuel a humanitarian disaster in East Africa where 13 million people are dangerously hungry and Somalia is on the brink of famine: 

9.        Oxfam is responding directly and with local organisations across the affected countries delivering food and other essential aid including cash so that people can buy from local markets. It is striving to ensure people have clean water to be used for drinking, cooking, washing and sanitation and to fight waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. 

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