A UNon Monday found that dealing a massive setback to efforts to ensure everyone has access to food. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an estimated 18 percent increase in people facing hunger. The world was already off track to eradicate hunger by 2030, but the report warned that direction.
The “economic downturns as a consequence of COVID-19 containment measures all over the world have contributed to one of the largest increases in world hunger in decades,” said the annual food security and nutrition report compiled by several UN agencies.
Although the fullcannot yet be determined, the report estimated around 118 million more people faced hunger in 2020 than in 2019, an increase of 18 percent.
The rise in moderate or severe food insecurity was equal to the previous five years combined.
“Nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have adequate food in 2020, an increase of almost 320in just one year,” the report said.
One in 10 people was undernourished.
The report said that more than half of the malnourished people lived in Asia (418 million), more than one-third in Africa (282 million), and eight percent or 60 million in Latin America. The increase in hunger was widespread as the economic downturn affected almost all low and middle-income countries. But the most significant impact was in countries with climate-related disasters, conflict, or both.
In some countries, “in particular the poorest,” measures to fight the pandemic hampered circulation and prevented subsistence farmers from selling produce on local markets, noted Dominique Burgeon, a director of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Meanwhile, in cities, “there were problems with supply, which meant that prices rose,” he said in comments to AFP.
The report states, “The COVID-19 pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg.
“More alarmingly, the pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities forming in our food systems overdue to significant drivers such as conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns. The UN agencies said there is a unique opportunity to reverse the dynamic this , thanks to two primary food and nutrition summits and the COP26 meeting on climate change.
The report was jointly published by the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the UNOrganization (WHO).
We have no excuse for billions of people to lack access to a healthy diet in a world of plenty. This is unacceptable,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. We are running out of global temperature rise,” he added. “This is why I’m convening a global Food Systems Summit this September. We must come together to make a change urgently.”