A new UN report shows that we have lost ground in our efforts to end hunger and
malnutrition around the world.
In 2021, up to 828 million people in the world were affected by hunger – an increase of 46
million people on the previous year.
Africa is bearing the heaviest burden. One in five people on the African continent were affected by
hunger in 2021. Indeed, the largest increase in global hunger was in Africa.
The Coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other factors reversed decades of progress
in the fight against global hunger.
The UN’s 2022 report on ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ says
that key metrics of global food security are off-track, and that 8% of the world population
could be facing hunger by 2030 – the date initially set by the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) to achieve one of its primary targets, zero hunger.
Other key findings of the report included:
● Almost 3.1 billion people could not afford a healthy diet in 2020 – 112 million more
than the year before.
● Around 2.3 billion people were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021 – 350
million more people than in 2019.
● The gender gap in food insecurity – which grew in 2020 owing to the pandemic –
widened even further in 2021, primarily in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.
So, how did we get here? The major drivers behind recent food insecurity and malnutrition
trends, including climate change, economic shocks, and conflict, alongside Covid-19, have
all intensified the problem within the last few years.
The worst drought in the Horn of Africa for a generation and the Covid-19 pandemic
highlighted fragilities in our global agri-food systems, as well as overall inequality – driving
increases in world hunger and food insecurity. This year, the devastating war in Ukraine is
disrupting supply chains and impacting grain, fertiliser and energy prices, as well as driving
up the cost of food all over the world.
“Although the report did offer some positives, these are very challenging times ahead for more people worldwide than expected. To achieve the SDGs by 2030 will be a mammoth task. Many of the communities that Self Help Africa work with will continue to need support to cushion them from continued high levels of food and nutrition insecurity and malnutrition” said Self Help Africa’s nutrition adviser Mary Corbett.
UN FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu described the new report as ‘a wake up call’ for the
world, and added that “We need to urgently transform our agri-food systems to be more
efficient, more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable.”
Agriculture is vital for the overall economy and livelihoods in all of the African countries
where Self Help Africa operates. We believe that governments must prioritise investment in
food and agriculture, and address gaps in agricultural productivity of nutritious foods, in
climate adaptation, and in measures that can support the world’s poor to both grow, and
generate the incomes needed to produce a healthy and balanced diet for their families.