After a decade long decline, world hunger is back on the rise, UN report says
Over the last 10 years, progress has been made to reduce global hunger, end malnutrition, and build sustainable food systems for impoverished countries. But as climate change and conflict plague communities around the world, global hunger is once again on the rise.
The “Zero Hunger” initiative was developed by the United Nations and is the second of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals created in 2015. It aims to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030 and double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, among other goals.
A recent UN report estimates that the number of undernourished people increased to 821 million in 2017, which means one in every nine people do not have enough food to eat. This is 38 million more people than the year before. The report is the first of its kind to be released since the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.
Although many governments and organizations have reached significant milestones in reducing global hunger, rates have regressed to where they were almost a decade ago. Cindy Holleman, Senior Economist at FAO, explained to UN News in an interview on Tuesday that “this is an alarming signal” and believes this increase is a result of the intensification of conflict, an economic downturn, and the effects of climate change.
The report also highlights increasing rates of obesity. According to the report, more than one in eight adults in the world are now endangering their health from being overweight; or more than 672 million.
Nearly 151 million children, five years and younger, are still affected by stunting, another component of the “Zero Hunger” campaign that has not seen significant improvement. Wasting continues to affect over 51 million children aged five years and younger, placing them at a higher risk of morbidity and mortality. Stunting and wasting are two forms of malnutrition that the UN hopes to end by 2030.
Addressing the many causes of global hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequality, and marginalization, will be difficult but essential in order to achieve “Zero Hunger” by 2030 and the rest of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
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