Hunger remains “severe” in more than 50 countries and crises hamper outlook
In more than 50 countries, hunger levels remain “severe” and “alarming”, and progress remains “too slow”, the latest edition of the Global Hunger Index says, warning in addition of the impact of the various crises that have taken place in 2020.
“Although hunger worldwide has gradually declined since 2000, in many places progress is too slow and hunger remains severe. These areas are highly vulnerable to a worsening of food and nutrition insecurity exacerbated by the health, economic, and environmental crises of 2020,” the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020 launched this month declares, a statement which yesterday set the tone for an online conference on the theme.
The GHI indicates that levels of hunger remain very high in more than 50 countries worldwide and warns that, although the United Nations (UN) has inscribed the eradication of hunger in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, 37 states will not be able to reach a low level within the next 10 years.
“Alarming levels of hunger have been identified in three countries—Chad, Timor-Leste, and Madagascar—based on GHI scores. Based on other known data, alarming hunger has also been provisionally identified in another eight countries—Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen,” the document reveals.
Venezuela, Angola, Mozambique, India, Pakistan, North Korea or Afghanistan are among the 40 countries (some provisionally classified) where hunger is classified as “serious”.
“In the 2020 Global Hunger Index, Mozambique ranks 103rd out of the 107 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2020 GHI scores. With a score of 33.1, Mozambique has a level of hunger that is serious,” reads the country’s summary report
The GHI classifies and orders the hunger situations in the countries on a 100-point scale, where 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst. In practice, none of these extremes are reached, therefore the index has five levels of hunger: low, moderate, serious, alarming and extremely alarming.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) scores are based on the values of four component indicators: undernourishment (share of the population with insufficient caloric intake), child wasting (share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition), child stunting (share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition), and child mortality (mortality rate of children under age five, partly reflecting the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).
Based on the values of the four indicators, the GHI determines hunger on a 100-point scale where 0 is the best possible score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst. Each country’s GHI score is classified by severity, from low to extremely alarming.
On a global scale, hunger is currently classified as “moderate”, with a score of 18.2, lower than the 28.2 points recorded in 2000 and which then represented a scenario classified as “severe”.
However, according to the report, world figures remain too high. “Far too many individuals are suffering from hunger and undernutrition: nearly 690 million people are undernourished; 144 million children suffer from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition; 47 million children suffer from wasting, a sign of acute undernutrition; and in 2018, 5.3 million children died before their fifth birthdays, in many cases as a result of undernutrition,” the report says.
These numbers vary widely from region to region.
Africa South of the Sahara and South Asia have the highest hunger and undernutrition levels among world regions, with 2020 GHI scores of 27.8 and 26.0, respectively – both considered serious.
Child mortality in Africa South of the Sahara is exceptionally high. The region’s under-five mortality rate, at 7.8 percent in 2018, is the highest of any world region. As for South Asia, the region has the largest number of undernourished people in the world.
According to the GHI, hunger levels in Latin America and the Caribbean or in North Africa are characterised as “low” or “moderate”, although hunger is high among certain groups within the countries of these regions.
The GHI warns that the various 2020 crises are aggravating the prospects for hunger, which, according to the document, is “the greatest moral and ethical failure of our generation”.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, as well as a massive outbreak of desert locusts in the Horn of Africa, are exacerbating food and nutritional insecurity of millions of people, as these crises add to the existing hunger caused by conflicts, extreme weather conditions and economic shocks,” the report warns.
Despite the data presented in the document not yet reflecting the impact “of the overlapping disasters of 2020”, the IGF predicts that in the “hot spots”, where food insecurity and malnutrition are already serious, the current events will increase the risks of “acute” and “chronic hunger” in the future.
Despite highlighting that the consolidated experience in the last two decades revealed the possibility of progress , the Global Hunger Index emphasises that the multiple crises that simultaneously mark the present and the near future require “persistence” and a “collective effort”, namely in the reformulation of food systems.
“At this crucial moment, we must act to reshape our food systems as fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly in order to address the current crises, prevent other health and food crises from occurring, and chart a path to Zero Hunger by 2030,” it concludes.
The Global Hunger Index, written by the organisations Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, with the participation of experts from Chatham House and the European Centre for Development Policy Management, seeks to “comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels”.
Read the full Global Hunger Index 2020 report HERE
Source: usa / GHI