WFP chief David Beasley
WFP chief David Beasley

The UN agency's chief has warned that conflicts and consequent food crisis are causing people to leave their homes and countries. The entire world needs to "wake up" and respond to the emergency.

"The migrant emergency is serious and the world must wake up," World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasely said in presenting a report in Rome on the main causes of migration flows that Europe and the world are currently dealing with.

He warned that food insecurity and conflicts were causing the unprecedented exodus of people. There is a need to "wake up the entire world [to respond] to the emergency underway. If no intervention is made into the causes behind the migration, the situation will only get worse," he said.

"In 2050, the world's population will rise to nine billion and I believe that it is impossible to achieve the aim of ridding the world of hunger by 2030," he added. Beasley was speaking at a conference in Rome to present a report called, "At the Root of Exodus: food security, conflict and international migration."

Record number of people forced to migrate in 2015

The study analyzes the impact of food insecurity and conflicts on migration. It includes interviews conducted with migrants of ten different nationalities, who have been living in the  reception camps of five countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Italy and Greece.

The number of those forced to migrate, including refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers has risen to a record high. 65.3 million people have left their homes. However, despite the number increasing over the past ten years, the percentage of migrants compared with the entire world population has remained stable at 3 percent.

Migration, food security and peacekeeping are interrelated and humanitarian and development aid policies are focused on these more than ever, with a vision that is increasingly getting integrated with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

"Through working together, we can hope to achieve this objective," the WFP executive director said. "But unless we work on the causes, we will never manage to solve the emergency underway," he added. "When hunger increases by 1 percent, we see a 2 percent increase in migration flows."

Intervention by the international community, Beasley said, could be more effective by cooperating and investing in the migrants' countries of origin and in all countries where armed conflicts and poverty force millions of people to migrate. 

"There is the need to invest in the places themselves and create jobs,'' he said, adding that after a few years, this would lead to a gradual drop in the level of financial support necessary.

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