Liliana Mosca, SI Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), blogs about global progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger.
“According to the new report ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World‘ (SOFI)*, people suffering from hunger worldwide were 828 million in 2021, i.e., some 46 million more since 2020 and 150 million more from the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, commented: “These are depressing figures for humanity. We continue to move away from our goal of eradicating hunger by 2030. Most likely, the knock-on effects of the global food crisis will make the figure even worse next year. We need a more determined approach to ending hunger. IFAD is ready to play its part by strengthening its activities and impact. We hope to have everyone’s support”.
For David Beasley, Executive Director of the WFP, “There is a real danger that these figures will get even worse in the coming months. The hikes in world food, fuel and fertiliser prices that we are seeing, following the crisis in Ukraine, threaten to push countries around the world to the brink of famine. The result will be global destabilisation, starvation and unprecedented mass migrations. We must act today to avert this looming catastrophe”.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) offers new evidence that we are regrettably far away from eradicating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030′ looking at the giving updates on food security and the state of nutrition worldwide. The report next investigates how the authorities should reconsider their sustenance for agriculture to decrease the expense of a healthy diet, due to the limited resources in many nations.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, reports that “Every year, 11 million people die because of unhealthy diets. Rising food prices will only exacerbate this situation. The WHO supports countries’ efforts to improve food systems, whether through taxation of unhealthy foods, subsidies for healthy choices, protecting children from harmful marketing, or ensuring that nutrition labels are clear. We must work together to achieve the 2030 global nutrition targets, to fight hunger and malnutrition and to make food a source of health for all”.
The report found that the gender gap in food insecurity widened again in 2021. Worldwide, 31.9 % of women suffered moderate or severe food insecurity, compared to 27.6 % of men: a gap of more than 4 percentage points, compared to 3 in 2020. An estimated 45 million children under the age of five suffered from wasting, the deadliest form of malnutrition, which increases the risk of death by up to 12 times in infancy. In addition, 149 million children under the age of five suffered stunted growth and development due to chronic deficiencies of essential nutrients in their diets, compared to 39 million overweight children.
Catherine Russell, UNICEF Director-General, comments: “The unprecedented scale of the malnutrition crisis also calls for an unprecedented response. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable children have access not only to nutritious, safe and affordable diets, but also to services for early prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition. With so many children’s lives and their futures at stake, now is the time to set even more ambitious goals for child nutrition. And there is no time to waste”.
What will be the future? According to the report: “In 2030, nearly 670 million people (8 % of the world’s population) will still be hungry”, but this is only if there is a global economic recovery. And it recalls that this is “A similar figure to that of 2015, when the goal of eradicating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition by the end of this decade was launched as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The report points out that it’s important to take bolder action to build resilience against future crises i.e. conflicts, extreme weather events and economic crises, combined with growing inequalities and that “governments could do more to reduce trade barriers to nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables and pulses” and continue their global support for the food and agriculture sector.”
For more information about SI’s position on Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger, read our Position Paper on food security.
*The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ (SOFI) – published by the FAO, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).