LONDON, ENGLAND – The Food Assistance Committee (FAC) convened for its ninth formal session on Nov. 10 with participants focusing discussions on the unprecedented levels of global food and nutrition insecurity. The participants also outlined their current food assistance operations.

The meeting was chaired and led by the Secretariat of the International Grains Council in London, under the Chairpersonship of Matthew Nims, acting director, Office of Food For Peace, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID representing the United States.

The session was attended by: Australia, Canada, the European Union, Finland, France, Japan, Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. Additionally, representatives from Republic of Korea, Action for Hunger (ACF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on Food Assistance (TAFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP) were present as observers.

Discussions were geared toward the adverse role of conflict in driving historic levels of displacement. Emergency food needs in places like Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria also was discussed in depth. The FAO and E.U. DEVCO presented the first annual Global Report on Food Crises 2017, which was published this year and can be a useful resource to FAC members.

Members confirmed their minimum annual commitments for 2018 and agreed to organize the committee’s second joint field mission. The location and date is pending confirmation. FAC members conducted the first joint field mission to Haiti in 2016.

With regard to the appointment of officers for 2018, Shuichi Akamatsu, Minister for Economy, Embassy of Japan, London, was appointed as chair and Katharina Jenny, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, was appointed as vice-chair of the FAC for 2018.

The formal session was preceded on Nov. 9 by a seminar entitled “Sahel – A forgotten food and nutrition crisis,” which focused on the current food and nutrition security situation in the Sahel. An overview of the unique challenges faced in addressing food insecurity in the Sahel was presented by the FAO, and Action Against Hunger provided a contextual analysis of the nutrition crisis and response. The United States, E.U., DFID and others discussed the need to work in the humanitarian-development nexus to address the unique challenges faced in the region.