The United Nations released a report in September saying global hunger increased from 2015 to 2016, with the number of chronically undernourished reaching 815 million people, or 11 percent of the global population. The report is the first for “regular monitoring of progress towards achieving the food security and nutrition targets set by the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development],” which includes the goal to eradicate hunger and prevent other forms of malnutrition across the globe by 2030.
Titled State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017, the report is a collaboration between the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The authors recommend a conflict-sensitive approach to food insecurity—one that includes immediate humanitarian aid as well as long-term development and policies for sustained peace. Coinciding conflict and climate shocks, the authors say, could also increase as climate change intensifies, suggesting that “climate change not only magnifies problems of food insecurity and nutrition, but can also contribute to a further downward spiral into conflict, protracted crisis, and continued fragility.”
The leaders of the five U.N. agencies add that the world will require strengthening of common efforts to address underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition—including humanitarian, peace, and development strategies from across sectors—to achieve the second SDG of eliminating hunger by 2030. They emphasize that achieving the second SDG through building resilience for peace and food security with new methods and renewed effort is integral to the achievement of other SDGs, as well.
“For the first time, our agencies have jointly produced a far-reaching assessment of global food security and nutrition,” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, celebrating the report’s publication. This 2017 report marks the first time that WHO and UNICEF have joined FAO, WFP, and IFAD in producing a comprehensive report on hunger, reflecting a shift to a broader view on global hunger, malnutrition, and health.