Weather shocks, conflict pushing millions into hunger, UN warns
United Nations (UN), yesterday, warned that over 122 million more people are facing hunger in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, weather shocks and conflict, including the war in Ukraine.
This was contained in a joint report by five UN agencies: Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
Titled, ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023’, the report notes that the number of people experiencing hunger worldwide reached between 690 and 783 million in 2022, a stark increase of 122 million people compared to pre-pandemic figures.
It notes that while global hunger figures stalled between 2021 and 2022, there are many places in the world facing deepening food crises. The report notes that approximately, 2.4 billion individuals, largely women and residents of rural areas, did not have consistent access to nutritious, safe, and sufficient food in 2022.
It notes that child malnutrition is still alarmingly high. In 2021, 22.3 per cent (148.1 million) children were stunted; 6.8 per cent (45 million) were wasted and 5.6 per cent (37 million) were overweight.”
According to the report, as urbanisation accelerates, there is noticeable increase in consumption of processed and convenience foods, leading to a spike in overweight and obesity rates across urban, peri-urban, and rural areas.
Also, previously self-sustaining rural regions, especially in Africa and Asia, are now found to be increasingly dependent on national and global food markets. The report projects that by 2050, 70 per cent of the global population will reside in cities.
“This significant demographic shift necessitates a reorientation of food systems to cater to these new urban populations and eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition,” it states.
In an increasingly urbanised world grappling with the aftermath of global pandemic and major geopolitical conflicts, our global food systems face unprecedented challenges. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023, provides a comprehensive overview of these complexities. This report captures the state of global hunger, malnutrition, and the rapidly changing dynamics of food security.
Urbanisation, once thought to blur the lines between rural and urban food accessibility, is now drastically reshaping food systems and affecting the availability and affordability of healthy diets.”
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