The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.

  • 17th July 2019
  • by secretary

15 July 2019.  New York. A special side event at the meeting of the high-level political forum on sustainable development in 2019 convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council launched The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report, presenting the latest estimates for food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition at global and regional levels.

The report’s findings are an important yardstick to measure the world’s progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 Zero Hungry by 2030. The event was co-organized by FAO, IFAD, WFP, WHO and UNICEF.

The report: what’s new?
  • First-time release of the estimates and related findings of the new indicator, the prevalence of food insecurity at moderate and severe levels. Going beyond hunger, this indicator captures more moderate constraints on food access that likely affect the quality of the diet
  • Greater focus on overweight and obesity, including child overweight and adult obesity, to better understand the different dimensions of these big nutrition challenges of our times. 
  • In-depth themed analysis on the impacts of economic slowdowns and downturns on food security and nutrition that unpacks how these impacts are shaped by the root causes of hunger and malnutrition: poverty, inequality and marginalization.
An estimated 820 million people did not have enough to eat in 2018, up from 811 million in the previous year, which is the third year of increase in a row. This underscores the immense challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030, says a new edition of the annual The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report.

The pace of progress in halving the number of children who are stunted and in reducing the number of babies born with low birth weight is too slow, which also puts the SDG 2 nutrition targets further out of reach, according to the report.

Slow progress in Africa and Asia
The situation is most alarming in Africa, as the region has the highest rates of hunger in the world and which are continuing to slowly but steadily rise in almost all subregions.

  • In Eastern Africa in particular, close to a third of the population (30.8 percent) is undernourished. In addition to climate and conflict, economic slowdowns and downturns are driving the rise. Since 2011, almost half the countries where rising hunger occurred due to economic slowdowns or stagnation were in Africa.
  • The largest number of undernourished people (more than 500 million) live in Asia, mostly in southern Asian countries. Together, Africa and Asia bear the greatest share of all forms of malnutrition, accounting for more than nine out of ten of all stunted children and over nine out of ten of all wasted children worldwide. In southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, one child in three is stunted.
  • In addition to the challenges of stunting and wasting, Asia and Africa are also home to nearly three-quarters of all overweight children worldwide, largely driven by consumption of unhealthy diets.