New Report Explores High Threshold for Affordable Healthy Diets

July 22, 2020

SOFI 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets.

The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report released in July 2020 explores the ongoing rise in global hunger. Since the world committed to ending food insecurity and malnutrition in 2015, global hunger has steadily increased. While previous reports have focused on climate and economic barriers, this year’s report focuses on broadening the scope of food security and nutrition to include diets which are healthy and sustainable for all, especially for our environment.

Last year, SOFI reported 821.6 million people living in hunger — this year it is reporting 690 million living in hunger. At first glance, this looks like a downward trend, but, for a clear picture, we need to consider the new way in which the number is reported. This report reflects the impact of new data collected on China’s undernourishment rates, last updated in 2000. Once we’ve considered China’s data accuracy, the number of hungry people in the rest of the world continues to climb.

5 facts about world hunger

  1. 690 million people (1 in 11) in the world are chronically hungry; while 750 million people (1 in 10) are living in severe food insecurity.
  2. Asia is home to 381 million hungry people, Africa 250 million and Latin America and the Caribbean report 48 million people.
  3. In total, 2 billion people live every day with some form of food insecurity or hunger.
  4. There are nearly 60 million more undernourished people now than in 2014.
  5. If this trend continues, more than half of the hungry people will live in Africa by 2030 — the year by which we’re working to end hunger.

To address this growing challenge, The Hunger Project has committed to creating powerful solutions by bridging the efforts of grassroots and government leaders. Through a sustainable, holistic, community-led approach, our partners enact change within governments, food systems, education, health and communities. Partnered with other organizations and community leaders around the world, our focus on positioning women as change agents fosters a ground-up approach in which communities create solutions to their own unique challenges.

Augmenting the consistent increase in those facing extreme hunger, the COVID-19 pandemic is placing tremendous strain on global food systems. This year’s report projects that anywhere from 83 million to 132 million additional people may face chronic hunger in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by COVID-19.

“We’re seeing now in the pandemic that community leaders – particularly women – are stepping forward to meet the challenge.”

In response to the report, Dr. John Coonrod, Executive Vice President of The Hunger Project and global coordinator for the Movement for Community-led Development said, “While The Hunger Project doesn’t itself work in emergency and conflict situations where hunger is increasing, our partners in the Movement have demonstrated that the same principles apply – that when grassroots women and men are respected as key change agents rather than passive beneficiaries, they generate solutions that are effective and sustainable. We’re seeing now in the pandemic that community leaders – particularly women – are stepping forward to meet the challenge.”

But the pandemic alone is not responsible for the resource disparity we see worldwide. Prior to the pandemic, the international poverty level (US$1.90 per day) was widely recognized as insufficient to provide healthy, nutritious diets for all and this report emphasizes that ending global hunger must include access to nutrient-rich foods in sufficient quantities. According to the FAO’s estimates, approximately 3 billion people cannot afford a diet of these standards – a number which is certain to skyrocket as a result of COVID-19.

The answer to these global challenges lies in strategic collaboration, now more than ever. Together, and with the full agency and partnership of those living in hunger, we can achieve the commitments the world has made with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn more about The Hunger Project’s strategic collaborative partnerships as a member of the Movement for Community-led Development.

The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report was published jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (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).