The number of people affected by hunger in the world has increased to reach 828 million in 2021, an increase of approximately 46 million compared to 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a UN report published on Wednesday.
The 2022 edition of “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” was published jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Looking to the future, it is expected that nearly 670 million people (8% of the world’s population) will still suffer from hunger in 2030, even in the event of a global economic recovery. This figure is similar to that of 2015 when the goal of ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition by the end of the current decade was set as part of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
At the time of the report, the war in Ukraine between two of the world’s largest producers of basic grains, oilseeds and fertilizers is disrupting international supply chains and driving up grain prices, fertilizers, energy and ready-to-use therapeutic foods for children suffering from severe malnutrition.
These issues come as supply chains are already feeling the negative effects of increasingly frequent extreme weather events, particularly in low-income countries, and could have serious consequences for food security and nutrition on a global scale.
“This report repeatedly highlights the intensification of the main factors of food insecurity and malnutrition: conflicts, extreme climatic phenomena and economic shocks, the effects of which combine with those of increasing inequalities”, the heads of the five UN agencies wrote in the foreword to the report. “The challenge is not to know whether other trials await us or not; rather, we need to take matters into our own hands with more courage and build resilience in the face of adversity”.
WFP chief David Beasley said there was “a real danger these numbers will climb even higher in the months ahead.”
The food, fuel and fertilizers crisis heightened by the war in Ukraine, could lead to famine, and result in “global destabilization, starvation, and mass migration on an unprecedented scale. We have to act today to avert this looming catastrophe.”
WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that each year, 11 million people died due to unhealthy diets.