The reasons for hunger and food insecurity are many and vary from country to country, but generally, it is a result of conflict, poverty, economic shocks such as hyperinflation and rising commodity prices and environmental shocks such as flooding or drought.
According to the UN, 345 million people are facing acute food insecurity in 82 countries
Zero Hunger Challenge:
Projections now show the world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger by 2030 and, despite some progress, most indicators are also not on track to meet global nutrition targets. The food security and nutritional status of the most vulnerable population groups is likely to deteriorate further due to the health and socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report.
The latest edition of that report, which was published mid-2021, estimated that between 720 and 811 million people went hungry in 2020. High costs and low affordability also mean billions cannot eat healthily or nutritiously. 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.
The world faces a global hunger crisis of unprecedented proportions.
We are at a critical crossroads. We need to rise to the challenge of meeting people’s immediate food needs, while at the same time supporting programs that build long-term resilience. The alternative is hunger on a catastrophic scale.
Conflict is the biggest cause of hunger globally, and is responsible for 65% of the people facing acute food insecurity. From Mali to Syria to Mozambique, protracted fighting destroys livelihoods and forces families to flee their homes, leaving countless children, including girls, facing hunger. It also makes it extremely difficult and dangerous for humanitarian organisations to reach communities in need.
It is estimated that over 14 million people in the Central Sahel countries of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Climate change has contributed to food insecurity by changing weather patterns such as rainfall, increased climatic shocks such as hurricanes, cyclones, floods and droughts which all have an impact on harvests. Climate change has also increased the prevalence of crop pests such as locusts, which damage and destroy harvests.
Inflation and economic shocks has impacted the access to food for many people. Even if food is available, for many people it is too expensive to buy reducing people’s access to food. Linked to the Pandemic, many people have lost their livelihoods and income, again reducing families’ ability to purchase food.