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Gerd Müller told DW that a world without hunger would be possible if nations cooperated to pool an annual €14 billion. The comments follow UN calls to raise more funds to avoid pandemic-induced famine.
The political will to provide the annual sum of €14 billion ($16.5 billion) to curb global hunger is lacking worldwide, according to German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller.
"A world without hunger is possible," Müller told DW's Melinda Crane. If industrialized countries cooperated to gather the necessary funds every year until 2030, they "could help 500 million people, perhaps even more, out of absolute poverty and save them from hunger."
"So why don't we do this? There is a lack of political will worldwide, because €14 billion is not an impossible global sum," he said.
Müller's comments followed calls made on the part of the UN World Food Program (WFP), to raise more money to avoid coronavirus-related famine. The WFP said on Tuesday that it will need to raise $6.8 billion (€5.8 billion) over the next six months to avert famine triggered by the pandemic.
The organization said it has so far raised $1.6 billion. David Beasley, the UN agency's executive director, said that 7 million people had died from hunger this year, as the pandemic claimed over a million lives across the globe. That number, he said, could rise even further due to the effects of the pandemic.
"If we don't sort out COVID, the hunger death rate could be 3, 4, 5 times that," said Beasley.
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Müller criticized the lack of financial support for curbing hunger, comparing the €14-billion figure to other global investments. "In this year alone, arms spending has increased by an additional €70 billion," he said.
Germany is also investing more than a third of the Development Ministry's "total expenditure in food security," he said.
He added that the ministry is also investing further in decentralized energy supply, which he said will be used to support small farmers.
"What we're also doing is securing property rights and creating land registries. And we're also demanding equal access for women to land and property — and to loans too."
Global hunger was declining for several decades, but is now on the rise against since 2016, driven primarily by both conflict and climate change.
According to the Global Hunger Index, a tool that measures and tracks hunger globally, 37 countries will fail to even reach a low level of hunger by 2030.
That figure does not include countries for which data were insufficient to calculate the 2030 projections, and does not account for the impacts of COVID-19, "which may worsen hunger and undernutrition in the near term and affect countries' trajectories into the future."