UN Report: 2 Billion People Faced Food Insecurity Worldwide in 2019

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to upend progress on eliminating hunger.

Why SANDDEF Should CareThe United Nations warns that the world is far from achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2: End Hunger by 2030. The UN calls on countries to transform food systems to address this crisis. 

An estimated 746 million people suffered from severe food insecurity in 2019 — an increase of 60 million from 2014, when global hunger rates began to climb for the first time in decades — according to the United Nations’ The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report released Tuesday. 

Factoring in the additional 16% of the global population that experienced moderate food insecurity, or the lack of access to sufficient or nutritious food, the report estimates that a total of 2 billion people suffered from food insecurity in 2019.

The report shows that the world is far from achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 of ending world hunger by 2030, estimating that 840 million people will face severe food insecurity by the end of the decade, a sobering forecast of the inability of political leaders to address this urgent humanitarian crisis, even as the world produces enough food to feed everyone a nutritious diet. 

The global rise in hunger is largely due to the growing number of conflicts worldwide, as well as the escalating consequences of climate change and global inequality. The report calls on policymakers to address hunger as part of a broader push for expanding human rights and economic prosperity.

“We cannot continue thinking of agriculture, the environment, health, poverty, and hunger in isolation,” Gilbert F. Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said at the virtual launch of the report. “World problems are interconnected, and the solutions are intertwined. The current pandemic is a wake-up call to all of us.”

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