Hunger is on the increase across the globe once again after a decade of declines. The slowdown in global growth in recent years, which led to a collapse in the prices of numerous commodities, also had a negative impact on the ability of people in many countries to feed themselves.
According to the annual UN report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017, Some 815 million people, or 11 percent of the world’s population, were chronically undernourished in 2016. The increase, 38 million more people than the previous year, is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks.
Some 155 million children aged under five are stunted (too short for their age), the report says, while 52 million suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height. An estimated 41 million children are now overweight. Anaemia among women and adult obesity are also cause for concern. These trends are a consequence not only of conflict and climate change but also of sweeping changes in dietary habits as well as economic slowdowns.
The report is the first UN global assessment on food security and nutrition to be released following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 as a top international policy priority. It singles out conflict – increasingly compounded by climate change – as one of the key drivers behind the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition.