Ahead of the BRICS summit, Shashwat Saraf, IRC Emergency Regional Director for East Africa, said, “As world leaders convene in Johannesburg for the BRICS summit, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is urging Global South leaders to use this opportunity to address the global food security crisis. The conference is the first multilateral agenda-building opportunity since the devastating expiration of the Black Sea Grain Deal. Nearly 40% of the global population will be represented on the Summit stage, many of whom are experiencing the compounding effects of the deal's expiration on their nations' economies, livelihoods, and ability to feed themselves. East Africa in particular relies heavily on grain exported from Russia and Ukraine - 80% of grain imports before the war. The Black Sea Grain Deal helped ensure some grain could reach those most in need and helped prevent catastrophic food price increases. The IRC is concerned that without the deal now, wheat prices could skyrocket soon, decreasing household purchasing power and driving up rates of food insecurity. As leaders of the Global South, BRICS leaders must protect food market stability and ensure grain reaches the communities that have been heavily impacted by the ripple effects of the Deal’s expiration.

“This week's gathering is a unique opportunity for the global south to mobilize the political will to stave off hunger, build new solutions to revitalize livelihoods in Ukraine, as well as support countries – such as Somalia – to establish new lifelines in feeding their nations. With over 50 million people across East Africa facing hunger at crisis levels and with food prices up by nearly 40% this year, it is vital that BRICS members take action to support countries most at risk of famine and communities most vulnerable to food price instability. 

“The joint communique issued by BRICS leaders should call for three clear actions to help fight food insecurity: adopting innovations and efficiencies like the simplified combined protocol for treating acute malnutrition among children, reenergizing the United Nations High-Level Task Force on Preventing Famine to focus political will and resources on the countries most at risk of famine, and renewing the Black Sea Grain Deal with a long term extension. Efforts to support nations facing food insecurity must be echoed in upcoming gatherings, including the United Nations General Assembly, G7, and G20.”