Our window of opportunity for achieving SDG 2 — eradicating hunger and malnutrition and ensuring access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food for all by 2030 — is closing rapidly. However, far from moving closer to that goal, the world has seen a resurgence of hunger and food insecurity.
The number of undernourished people around the world rose from 653 million in 2015 to 690 million in 2019. According to a recent policy brief produced for the Food Systems Summit, more than 840 million people could suffer from by 2030, putting Sustainable Development Goal 2 – the eradication of hunger and malnutrition by 2030 – in serious jeopardy.
When Ellen Piwoz joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2007, the global nutrition field seemed to be struggling. The community “lacked a common narrative and agenda for action,” she said. It was also difficult to engage outsiders who did not understand the nutrition community’s techno-speak, and the field was also critically underfunded with a narrow donor base.
Global hunger continues to rise, urgent climate action needed - new State of Food Security and Nutrition Report
The challenges facing global food security continue to increase, driven by ongoing conflict and climate shocks. According to the 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report (released last week by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO), 821 million people were undernourished around the world in 2017; this represents a further rise from the 815 million estimated by the 2017 report. This troubling rise in undernourishment reverses progress seen over the past decade.
The 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI), released today, reports that between 2000 and 2016, hunger levels around the world declined by 27 percent. While impressive, however, this progress should not mask the remaining food security challenges faced at the global, national, and sub-national levels. In 2017, South Sudan declared a state of famine – the first instance of famine in the world in six years. Three other countries – Somalia, Yemen, and Nigeria – also faced imminent famine in 2017, putting a total of 20 million people worldwide at risk of starving to death.