We are very pleased to announce that Alex de Waal’s article “The end of famine? Prospects for the elimination of mass starvation by political action” published in the journal Political Geography has been selected from thousands of recently published articles to be awarded the Elsevier Atlas. Each month a single Atlas article is selected from published research from across Elsevier’s 1,800 journals by an external advisory board made up of individuals from NGOs including the following organizations, among several others: Benevolent Organisation for Development, Health and Insight (BODHI), Health Informational for all – HIFA, International Training and Outreach Center in Africa (ITOCA), University of California, Berkeley (Centre for Effective Global Action), Health & Global Policy Institute, United Nations University, OXFAM, and WWF.

Political Geography has made the article available through open access, so you don’t need a subscription to access it. Here is a peak at the award-winning article:

Famine returned to the news headlines in 2017. It was a disagreeable re-entry after twenty years in which mass starvation had been fading as a matter of concern to all but historians. On 10 March, Stephen O’Brien, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told the UN Security Council that, ‘We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations.’ (O’Brien, 2017) O’Brien’s claim was at once hyperbolic and carefully scripted. As this paper demonstrates, the 2017 crises are by no means the worst for seventy years, and by all sensible metrics we are at a historic low in terms of the scale and lethality of famines. But O’Brien was sending a well-crafted political message, at a time when humanitarian principles and budgets were under threat. He was correct that 2017 potentially represents a critical point in contemporary history, at which a long-term historic decline in mass starvation, which can be dated to the end of World War Two, has stalled and may be in the process of being reversed.

Atlas articles showcase research that can (or already has) significantly impact people’s lives around the world and we hope that bringing wider attention to this research will go some way to ensuring its successful implementation.

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