The Global Report on Food Crises presented yesterday jointly by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) revealed that around 113 million people in 53 countries experienced acute food insecurity in 2018, compared to 124 million in 2017.
The report stated that nearly two-thirds of those facing acute hunger are in just 8 countries, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
It noted that in 17 countries, acute hunger either remained the same or increased.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said, "Food insecurity remains a global challenge. That's why, from 2014 to 2020, the EU will have provided nearly €9 billion for initiatives on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture in over 60 countries. Today's Global Report highlights the need for a strengthened cooperation between humanitarian, development and peace actors to reverse and prevent food crises. A stronger Global Network can help deliver change on the ground for the people who really need it."
Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said "Food crises continue to be a global challenge, which requires our joint efforts. The EU continues to step up its humanitarian efforts. Over the last three years, the EU allocated the biggest humanitarian food and nutrition assistance budget ever, with nearly EUR 2 billion overall. Food crises are becoming more acute and complex and we need innovative ways to tackle and prevent them from happening. The Global Report provides a basis to formulate the next steps of the Global Network by improving our coordination mechanisms."
According to the report, the figure of 113 million people facing food crises was down slightly from the 124 million figure for 2017.
"However, the number of people in the world facing food crises has remained well over 100 million in the last three years, and the number of countries affected has risen. Moreover, an additional 143 million people in another 42 countries are just one step away from facing acute hunger. Climate and natural disasters pushed another 29 million people into acute food insecurity in 2018. And 13 countries - including North Korea and Venezuela - are not in the analysis because of data gaps."
"It is clear from the Global Report that despite a slight drop in 2018 in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity - the most extreme form of hunger - the figure is still far too high. We must act at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations. To save lives, we also have to save livelihoods," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
"To truly end hunger, we must attack the root causes: conflict, instability, the impact of climate shocks. Boys and girls need to be well-nourished and educated, women need to be truly empowered, rural infrastructure must be strengthened in order to meet that Zero Hunger goal. Programmes that make a community resilient and more stable will also reduce the number of hungry people. And one thing we need world leaders to do as well: step up to the plate and help solve these conflicts, right now," said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
The report's findings are a powerful call for strengthened cooperation that links together prevention, preparedness and response to address urgent humanitarian needs and root causes, which include climate change, economic shocks, conflict and displacement. It further highlights the need for a unified approach and action across the humanitarian and development dimensions of food crises, and for more investment in conflict mitigation and sustainable peace.
The Global Report is produced each year by the Global Network Against Food Crises, which is made up of international humanitarian and development partners. This year's report is being presented at a two-day high-level event, 'Food and agriculture in times of crisis', that begins in Brussels today and will look at innovative approaches and solutions for preventing and addressing food crises, plus a roadmap for joint future action. For more key findings from the report, see the Global Report fact sheet.
Acute food insecurity is when a person's inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger. It draws on internationally accepted measures of extreme hunger, such as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and the Cadre Harmonisé.
Chronic hunger is when a person is unable to consume enough food to maintain a normal, active lifestyle over an extended period. The FAO's most recent State of Food Security and Nutrition report, in September 2018, found that 821 million people on the planet are going hungry.
Partners involved in producing the Global Report on Food Crises 2019 are (in alphabetical order): Comité Permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS), European Union, Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), FAO, Global Food Security Cluster, Global Nutrition Cluster, Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Global Support Unit, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNICEF, USAID and WFP.