9.2% of the world population suffered from hunger in 2022, well above the pre-pandemic figures
July 12 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Various United Nations agencies have warned this Wednesday that it will be impossible to put an end to hunger and food insecurity by 2030 “if efforts are not redoubled” at the international level, with levels of hunger in the world higher than those existing before of the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
The report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023 states that the number of people suffering from hunger in 2022 “remains relatively unchanged” compared to 2021, standing at 9.2 percent of the world population, a a figure much higher than the 7.9 percent registered in 2019.
Thus, it is estimated that “between 691 and 783 million people suffered from hunger in the world in 2022”, which implies that, if it is assumed that the figure is between the two and is 735 million, this would mean 122 million more people than in 2019, latest data before the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
“Between 2021 and 2022, progress has been made towards reducing hunger in Asia and Latin America, although the numbers continue to rise in Western Asia, the Caribbean and all subregions of Africa,” the document states, which points out that projections indicate that close to 600 million people could suffer from chronic malnutrition in 2030.
The figure would mean 119 million more than in any scenario in which neither the pandemic nor the war in Ukraine had taken place and some 23 million more than if the Russian invasion had not started, which represents “an immense challenge” for achieve the goal of ending hunger by 2030, “particularly in Africa”.
“The prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity worldwide remains unchanged for the second consecutive year after the drastic increase between 2019 and 2020. About 29.6 percent of the population, some 2.4 billion people, were insecure moderate or severe food insecurity, including 900 million -11.3 percent of the population- in a situation of severe food insecurity,” he specified.
The report also includes that “food insecurity disproportionately affects people living in rural areas” and specifies that “moderate or severe insecurity affects 33.3 percent of adults residing in rural areas in 2022, compared to 28.8 percent in peri-urban areas and 26 percent in urban areas”.
On the other hand, more than 3.1 billion people – around 42 percent of the world’s population – “could not afford a healthy diet in 2021”, while about 148.1 million children under five years of age (the 22.3 percent) were stunted, 45 million (6.8 percent) were bloodless, and 37 million (5.6 percent) were overweight.
The report further notes that “increasing urbanization, with seven out of ten people projected to live in cities by 2050, is causing changes in agricultural systems in rural and urban contexts, presenting both challenges and opportunities to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and affordable diets”.
In this context, the possibility of being able to afford a healthy diet “is increasingly critical in households in peri-urban and urban areas because they depend more on buying food”, therefore increasing access to these diets and achieving food security ” It will require policy stance and legislation that take into account the increasing connectivity between rural and peri-urban areas and cities of different sizes.”
AN “OVERWHELMING” CHALLENGE
For all these reasons, the signatory agencies of the report –the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), the World Organization of Health (WHO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)– have pointed to “an overwhelming challenge”.
“While the world is recovering from the global pandemic, this is happening unevenly between countries. In addition, the world is facing the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which has shaken food and energy markets,” they explained. in your submission of the document.
For this reason, they have emphasized that “agrifood systems continue to be highly vulnerable to shocks and alterations derived from conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic contraction” and have argued that “these factors, combined with growing inequalities, continue to challenge the capacity of agri-food systems to provide nutritious, safe and affordable diets for all”.
“These great vectors of food insecurity and malnutrition are our ‘new normal’, so we have no choice but to redouble our efforts to transform agri-food systems and bring them closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”, they have stated.
“There is no room for complacency, given that hunger continues to increase in Africa, Western Asia and the Caribbean”, they have indicated, before acknowledging that “the concerns are not only due to hunger”, but also derive from the difficulties of 2.4 billion people to achieve “nutritious, safe and sufficient” food and the increased cost of a healthy diet due to rising inflation.
Likewise, they have recognized that “these figures and trends can be a considerable disappointment, but for the children and people affected it is an underlying fact in their lives, which fuels the determination to continue finding solutions”, before abounding in the need to ” take strong action to improve resilience in the face of these adversities”.
The agencies have also called for other global “megatrends” to be taken into account, including urbanization, which “is reshaping agri-food systems in ways that can only be understood through a rural-urban continuum lens that addresses everything from production to food processing and distribution, as well as marketing and consumer behavior.
“For this reason, in our efforts to put an end to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in a world that is urbanizing, we cannot continue to operate under the usual model of a rural-urban divide”, they have defended, before insisting on that “these major changes are affecting people’s food security and nutrition in ways that differ, depending on where they live on this continuum.”
Finally, they have pointed out that “actions, political interventions and investments will have to be informed by a clear understanding of how the rural-urban continuum and agri-food systems interact and how, given this interaction, urbanization affects access to healthy and accessible diets.