Acute hunger still affecting over 100 million people worldwide – Report

A Global Report, presented jointly by European Union, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN World Food Programme (WFP), shows that around 113 million people in 53 countries experienced acute food insecurity in 2018, compared to 124 million in 2017.

There has been a slight improvement in fighting hunger from last year but food insecurity remains a global challenge, Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, told a joint press conference at the launch of the report in Brussels on Tuesday. “Today’s Global Report highlights the need for a strengthened cooperation between humanitarian, development and peace actors to reverse and prevent food crises. A stronger Global Network can help deliver change on the ground for the people who really need it,” he said.

Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, said, “Food crises are becoming more acute and complex and we need innovative ways to tackle and prevent them from happening. “The Global Report provides a basis to formulate the next steps of the Global Network by improving our coordination mechanisms,” Stylianides, of Cyprus, added.

The report says that nearly two-thirds of those facing acute hunger are in just 8 countries: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In 17 other countries, acute hunger either remained the same or increased. “It is clear from the Global Report that despite a slight drop in 2018 in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity – the most extreme form of hunger – the figure is still far too high,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said. “We must act at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations. To save lives, we also have to save livelihoods,” he pointed out.

On his part, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said, “To truly end hunger, we must attack the root causes: conflict, instability, the impact of climate shocks.” “Boys and girls need to be well-nourished and educated, women need to be truly empowered, and rural infrastructure must be strengthened in order to meet that Zero Hunger goal. “And one thing we need world leaders to do as well: step up to the plate and help solve these conflicts, right now,” he added.

The Global Report is produced each year by the Global Network against Food Crises (GNFC) – an international initiative launched at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul in May 2016 in collaboration with humanitarian and development partners, including the FAO, WFP, UNICEF, OCHA, EU and the USAID. This year’s report is being presented at a two-day high-level event, ‘Food and agriculture in times of crisis’, that began in Brussels today and will look at innovative approaches and solutions for preventing and addressing food crises, plus a roadmap for joint future action.