Pandemic increasing undernourishment, reversing positive trend: FAO

by | Feb 18, 2022 | News

We’re doing it tough in parts of New Zealand. But spare a thought for the poorest parts of the world, where food insecurity has increased since 2020, reversing decades of positive trends. According to the FAO:

The world is in a very different place to where it was six years ago when it committed to the goal of ending hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. At the time, we were optimistic that with transformative approaches, past progress could be accelerated, at scale, to put us on track to achieve that goal.

Yet, the past four editions of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) revealed a humbling reality. The world has not been generally progressing either towards ensuring access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all people all year round (SDG Target 2.1), or to eradicating all forms of malnutrition (SDG Target 2.2).

Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns are the major drivers slowing down progress, particularly where inequality is high. The COVID-19 pandemic made the pathway towards SDG2 even steeper.

According to the FAO, in 2020, between 720 and 811 million people faced hunger.After remaining virtually unchanged from 2014 to 2019, the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) climbed to around 9.9 percent in 2020, from 8.4 percent a year earlier.

In terms of population, taking into consideration the additional statistical uncertainty, it is estimated that between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020. Considering the middle of the projected range (768 million), 118 million more people were facing hunger in 2020 than in 2019 – or as many as 161 million, considering the upper bound of the range.

 

About the Author

Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa is a communications strategist, writer, marketer and PR expert specialising in tech, investment, and sustainability. He was co-founder of Idealog, Stoppress and Good magazines and helped establish the Science Media Centre. He is the host of a podcast ‘This Climate Business’, co-founder of The Feed.co.nz, and a trustee of the Adventure Specialties Trust. And there's nothing he loves more than a good story. vincentheeringa.com

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