Hunger is on the rise for the first time in 10 years, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. According to the agency’s global food security and malnutrition report, in 2016, about 815 million people, more than a tenth of the world’s population, suffered from hunger. It is 38 million more than the previous year. Ending hunger by 2030 is one of the UN’s sustainable development goals after years of progress, but this goal is getting out of reach due to faltering fight against malnutrition.
“It is a shameful failure of our leaders and international institutions. The progress that we struggled to obtain during these past decades has been compromised. The United Nations’ warning is the final evidence of this,” said Clara Jamart of Oxfam France. “Unfortunately, this backtracking trend is likely to continue in the coming years, as the number of people suffering from hunger will increase from 10 to 20% by 2050 due to climate change,” she added.
The worsening situation concerning food security and hunger around the world is mostly the result of the combination of the rising number of conflicts and climate change. Out of 815 million people suffering from hunger, 489 million live in conflict-ridden countries. “Famine spread to certain regions in South Sudan in the beginning of 2017, and the risk of seeing it strike again in certain regions – especially Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen – is high,” the FAO stated in its report. The situation has, however, also worsened in some peaceful settings, particularly those affected by economic recessions. A number of countries heavily dependent on commodity exports have witnessed dramatically reduced exports and fiscal revenues in recent years.