United Nations published this video item, entitled “”Nearly 1 in 3 people didn’t have access to adequate food in 2020″ – FAO Press Conference (12 July)” – below is their description.
Press Conference by Mr. Máximo Torero, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Chief Economist and Mr. Arif Husain, World Food Programme (WFP) Chief Economist on the launch of the flagship report “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021”
“Nearly one in three people in the world, 2.5 billion people didn’t have access to adequate food in 2020,” the FAO Chief Economist told reporters in New York on Monday, while his counterpart from the WFP called for investing in “changing people’s lives and in minimizing conflict.”
The first global assessment of its kind in the pandemic era, the report is jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the UN World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.
“Globally, nearly one in three people in the world, 2.5 billion people didn’t have access to adequate food in 2020 and that is an increase of nearly 320 million people in one year. So, the numbers are pretty dramatic, and this also applies to all the other malnutrition indicators,” FAO’s Chief Economist Torero said at the press conference.
As outlined in last year’s report, transforming food systems is essential to achieve food security, improve nutrition and put healthy diets within reach of all. This year’s edition goes further to outline six “transformation pathways”. These, the authors says, rely on a “coherent set of policy and investment portfolios” to counteract the hunger drivers.
“One of the things that this report does is combine different drivers. So, we started with the typical drivers that we’ve been analyzing which is conflict, climate extremes and vulnerability and economic downturns and slowdowns. And we see how many of these happen at the same time,” said Torero.
Asked specifically about the Middle East, Torero said “there would be more than one or even two of the drivers happening simultaneously and that’s where the challenge is bigger because it exasperates even more the conditions.”
In many parts of the world, the pandemic has triggered brutal recessions and jeopardized access to food. Yet even before the pandemic, hunger was spreading; progress on malnutrition lagged. This was all the more so in nations affected by conflict, climate extremes or other economic downturns, or battling high inequality – all of which the report identifies as major drivers of food insecurity, which in turn interact.
On current trends, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World estimates that Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger by 2030) will be missed by a margin of nearly 660 million people. Of these 660 million, some 30 million may be linked to the pandemic’s lasting effects.
To reduce these numbers, the WFP’s Arif Husain proposed investing “in changing people’s lives and in minimizing conflict.”
“I think what’s needed is a political will, a political commitment like the SG’s call for ceasefire but even more so to make sure that we kind of reduce some of these conflicts so that needs can actually come down,” Husain said.
Already in the mid-2010s, hunger had started creeping upwards, dashing hopes of irreversible decline. Disturbingly, in 2020 hunger shot up in both absolute and proportional terms, outpacing population growth: some 9.9 percent of all people are estimated to have been undernourished last year, up from 8.4 percent in 2019.
More than half of all undernourished people (418 million) live in Asia; more than a third (282 million) in Africa; and a smaller proportion (60 million) in Latin America and the Caribbean. But the sharpest rise in hunger was in Africa, where the estimated prevalence of undernourishment – at 21 percent of the population – is more than double that of any other region.
On other measurements too, the year 2020 was sombre. Overall, more than 2.3 billion people (or 30 percent of the global population) lacked year-round access to adequate food: this indicator – known as the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity – leapt in one year as much in as the preceding five combined. Gender inequality deepened: for every 10 food-insecure men, there were 11 food-insecure women in 2020 (up from 10.6 in 2019).
Malnutrition persisted in all its forms, with children paying a high price: in 2020, over 149 million under-fives are estimated to have been stunted, or too short for their age; more than 45 million – wasted, or too thin for their height; and nearly 39 million – overweight. A full three-billion adults and children remained locked out of healthy diets, largely due to excessive costs. Nearly a third of women of reproductive age suffer from anaemia. Globally, despite progress in some areas – more infants, for example, are being fed exclusively on breast milk – the world is not on track to achieve targets for any nutrition indicators by 2030.United Nations YouTube Channel
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