Action Against Hunger warns of dangerous disparities as inequality worsens between regions
Toronto – July 12, 2023 – Globally, as many as 783 million people—more than the total population of North America—suffer from hunger, according to the State of the Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report released today by four United Nations (U.N.) agencies; the Food and Agriculture Organization; World Food Program; International Fund for Agricultural Development; and UNICEF, the U.N.’s Children’s Fund.
Compared to pre-pandemic levels, 122 million more people face hunger today. While average global hunger rates fell slightly in 2022, there are sharp regional disparities, with hunger rising in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Across Africa, 11 million more people suffer from hunger now compared to the previous year. The report also found that people in rural areas face greater challenges accessing affordable, healthy food.
“Hunger is a complex global issue that goes far beyond the availability of food,” said Onome Ako, CEO of Action Against Hunger Canada, ““Persistent inequality drives these trends. The SOFI report serves as a vital warning we cannot ignore, as climate change and conflicts further exacerbate life-threatening malnutrition rates.”
The SOFI report includes actionable insights into hunger’s rural-urban divide, food affordability, and policy solutions. Key figures in this year’s SOFI report show that:
- More than 3 billion people, or 42% of the world’s population, do not have access to a healthy diet, which costs 6.7% more today than before the pandemic. In Africa, 78% of people cannot afford a heathy diet, the highest rate in the world.
- 2.4 billion people suffer from severe or moderate food insecurity, meaning they must cope with uncertainty about food availability and affordability. Many have to skip meals or are forced to compromise on food quality.
- Nearly 148 million children under five years old—more than one in five of the world’s young children—suffer from chronic malnutrition, or stunting. 45 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of hunger.
The looming risk of famine in countries like Afghanistan and Somalia highlights the inadequacies in our current global initiatives to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. To ensure food security as a fundamental human right, it is crucial for governments, corporations, and private donors to increase support for locally-led, climate-resilient food systems.
According to Action Against Hunger’s 2023 Hunger Funding Gap report, there is a shocking 53% gap in hunger funding for countries facing “crisis” levels of hunger or worse. In fact, in the countries most in need, only 3% of hunger programs are fully funded.
“As hunger levels continue to rise, a paradigm shift in how we approach hunger crises is desperately needed,” says Ako, “Swift intervention at the earliest signs of a potential threat can save both lives and money. Urgent investments are required to safeguard global food security and prevent hunger from devastating communities around the world.”
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About Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger is a nonprofit leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocates for change, and reaches more than 28 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 55 countries, its 8,900 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.