Despite international commitments to end global hunger over the next 13 years, chronic undernourishment still persists for at least 815 million people, with major hunger drivers, including an escalating number of conflicts worldwide and devastating climate change impacts, threatening any meaningful progress by 2030, according to new research written by the Inter-Agency Regional Analysts Network (IARAN) and commissioned by Action Against Hunger.
“Whilst climate change is an exacerbating factor contributing to food insecurity, violent conflicts and the lack of respect for international humanitarian law are the main causes of the severe food crises we are currently witnessing and they undermine relief efforts to combat hunger,” says Danny Glenwright, Executive Director of Action Against Hunger Canada.
“In the beginning of 2017, a famine was declared in South Sudan, and the nutrition crises in Somalia, Yemen, and Northeast Nigeria had almost descended to that level. Famines are mostly man-made and it is a disgrace that malnutrition, wasting and stunting are still issues in 2017. We hope that by 2030 we’re no longer dealing with such hunger crises, but our report shows that far more integrated and holistic efforts need to be implemented to prevent famine and hunger in all its forms.”
The IARAN’s new report, An Outlook on Hunger; A Scenario Analysis on the Drivers of Hunger Through 2030, lays out five scenarios representing archetypal futures based on how nine key hunger drivers – from natural disasters, population density and economic inequality to women’s empowerment, food, energy and climate change policies, purchasing power, commodity prices, and trade – may unfold over the coming years.
“The scenarios cover a range of possible trajectories, from rosy to bleak,” explains Tyler Rundel, IARAN Global Analyst.
“’Strong and Equitable Growth’ and ‘Rise of the Rest’ represent two potential courses to a more optimistic future, with the former based on a more equitable form of Western-led development, and the latter on the growth coming from the strong, and at times tumultuous, development of the non-Western world.”
Conversely, the reports’ ‘Slow and Fragile Growth’ scenario envisages a business as usual situation and warns that without major changes, hunger will be a pressing issue for hundreds of millions of people for decades to come, while the final scenario, ‘System Shock’, illustrates the catastrophic effects on current hunger mitigation strategies if a series of major shocks were to occur in the near future.
“The combined effects of growing populations, economic inequality, social exclusion, climate change, and natural disasters will affect progress towards ending hunger by 2030, since these persistent issues simply cannot be resolved within that timeframe,” says Rundel.
“However, if the committed, multi-dimensional programming needed to affect these heavy trends is combined with the immediate gains that can be made by targeting the key drivers of hunger, we can certainly achieve substantive results by 2030 and ultimately bring about a world free from hunger.”
Action Against Hunger recommends that international donors and governments from developing countries should increase both their humanitarian and long-term funding as well as supporting long-term small-scale farming and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.