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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 August 19 - 25  > Japan should commit more funds to global fight against locust crisis
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2020 August 19 - 25 [WORLD]

Japan should commit more funds to global fight against locust crisis

August 24, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Many farmers in African and Asian countries have been severely hit by a locust plague in addition to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns of a looming food crisis for 42 million people. The international community needs to step up joint efforts and implement necessary measures without delay.

Clouds of desert locusts have invaded a wide area ranging from southern Africa and the Middle East to southwestern Asia, devastating crops such as corn. They fly a long distance in large groups and eat plants equivalent to their body weight each day. It is estimated that an army of adult locusts contains 80 million insects per square kilometer which consume an amount of food that can otherwise provide for the needs of 35,000 people daily.

International cooperation is vital to combat the plague as the insects can swarm swiftly without being deterred by borders. Industrialized countries’ commitment is especially important. Japan earlier this year decided to provide African and central Asian countries with an emergency financial aid of over two billion yen.

However, Japan’s budget allocation for ODA programs for developing countries in 2018 amounted to only 0.28% of the country’s gross national income (GNI). Under an international agreement, developed countries are supposedly agreed to use 0.7% of their GNIs for ODA. Japan should spend much more to directly support peoples in developing countries to help fight the locust crisis and other challenges rather than promote locally-unpopular large-scale development projects or use aid programs as a tool to enhance Japanese business interests.

The occurrence of the large locust outbreak is linked to extreme weather events such as heavy rains and severe cyclones, and global climate change is thought to play a significant role. It is vital for humans to limit the rise of the average global temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial revolution level.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. Measures to mitigate crop damage caused by locusts are indispensable. Countries need to mobilize scientific and technological expertise and developed countries in particular should beef up financial support to deal effectively with the issue.

Past related articles:
> Japan should change its ODA policy to one truly contributing to poverty reduction [August 8, 2020]
> Local protest wins cancellation of Japan’s ODA-funded development program in Mozambique [July 29, 2020]
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