In 2018, around 820 million people did not have enough food, compared to 811 million in the previous year: the increase was recorded for the third consecutive year. This highlights the magnitude of the challenge of achieving the Zero Hunger Sustainable Development Goal by 2030.
The increase in global data on hunger mask the fact that 31 countries, out of 79 monitored by FAO, have experienced a significant decline in the number of undernourished people since the 1990s.
A report published today entitled „Pathways to success“ highlights the progress made by 16 of these countries, which have already reached the goal of halving hunger by 2019, or are on the road right to do it.
The number of hungry people has reached the historic peak of 1.02 billion. More than 60 Heads of State have confirmed their participation in the World Summit on Food Security which will take place in Rome from 16 to 18 November, to discuss the most effective strategies to increase agricultural production and eliminate hunger.
The times of progress made to halve the number of stunted children and reduce the number of those with low birth weight are too slow, which – according to the report – makes it even more difficult to achieve the nutritional goals of OSS 2.
At the same time, these challenges are compounded by overweight and obesity, which continue to increase worldwide, particularly among school-age children and adults.
The chances of food insecurity are higher among women than men on all continents, with the largest gap in Latin America.
„Our interventions to address these worrying trends will have to be more decisive – not only in terms of scope, but also in terms of multi-sector collaboration“, the leaders of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization called for in their joint preface. ‚Agriculture (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
We must promote a structural and inclusive transformation in favor of the poor, centered on people and put communities at the center to reduce economic vulnerabilities and put us on the right track to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition „, they have said the leaders of the United Nations.
This year’s report introduces a new indicator to measure food insecurity at different levels of severity and monitor progress towards OSS 2: the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity. This indicator is based on data obtained directly from people through surveys on their access to food in the last 12 months, using the New Food Insecurity Scale (FIES). People exposed to moderate food insecurity face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food, and to survive they have had to reduce the quality and / or quantity of food they consume.
According to the report, over 2 billion people – especially in low and middle income countries – do not have regular access to healthy, nutritious and sufficient food. However, irregular access is also a challenge for high-income countries, including 8% of the population in North America and Europe.
This requires a profound transformation of food systems to provide healthy and sustainably produced diets to the world’s growing population.