According to the four UN agencies, millions of enterprises face an existential threat following the global economic contraction that has originated from the rapid spread of the coronavirus crisis across the world. Nearly half of the world's 3.3 billion workforce are at risk of losing their livelihoods with tens of millions of people at risk of falling into extreme poverty.
Anti-COVID-19 measures such as border closures, trade restrictions and confinement policies have been preventing farmers from accessing markets and agricultural workers from harvesting crops. The pandemic has been affecting the entire food system in a way that the number of undernourished people could increase by up to 130 million by the end of the year, bringing the total to over 820 million worldwide.
In their joint statement, the UN agencies have warned that countries dealing with existing humanitarian crises or emergencies are particularly exposed to the effects of COVID-19. Without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many are unable to feed themselves and their families.
The UN agencies are calling for global solidarity and support, particularly in the emerging and developing world and with the most vulnerable in wealthier societies. They also argued long-term sustainable strategies to address the challenges facing the health and food sectors must be developed so that food security and malnutrition challenges can be tackled as priorities.