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  • Ryan Wittler

The World Is Losing the Fight Against Hunger and Malnutrition


A new report from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggests Russia’s war in Ukraine and increasingly frequent climate events are moving the world further away from its goal of ending hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition by 2030.

Report highlights:

This year’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report estimates as many as 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021, an increase of 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since 2019.

  • Around 2.3 billion people were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021, up 350 million compared to 2019.

  • That includes 924 million who were severely food insecure last year, an increase of 207 million from 2019.

The report estimates 45 million children under the age of five are at a low weight for their height, suffering from what’s called “wasting.”

  • Wasting is considered the deadliest form of malnutrition, increasing a child’s risk of death up to 12 times.

  • In all, an estimated 149 million children under five have stunted growth and development due to a chronic lack of essential nutrients in their diets.

What’s behind it:

The FAO says Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine is disrupting international food supply chains, as it involves two of the world’s biggest producers of cereals, oilseeds, and fertilizer.

  • Increasingly frequent extreme climate events, particularly in low-income countries, are also impacting global food security and nutrition.

Going forward:

The report projects nearly 670 million people (around 8% of the world’s population) will still be facing hunger by 2030.

  • The figure is relatively unchanged from 2015, when the goal of ending hunger by 2030 was launched.

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