Global hunger on the rise, slides back to rates from a decade ago

Friday, September 14, 2018

War in South Sudan has disrupted life across the country. In Kapoeta County, a group of women and children walk home after receiving emergency food from Foodgrains Bank member ADRA Canada. Conflict and increased climate variability and extremes are key drivers in the growing number of hungry people around the world. (Photo: Matthew Sawatzky)

Conflict and climate variability named key drivers of growing number of hungry people

The number of hungry people in the world is on the rise for the third year in a row—and back to levels not seen for a decade.

That’s according to a new report on global hunger from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

The report notes that increased climate variability and extremes combined with conflict are the key drivers eroding and reversing the substantial gains that have been made in reducing the prevalence of hunger. It is estimated there are now about 821 million people, or one in nine people around the world who go to bed hungry each night.

“We are deeply concerned that after decades of progress, we are now falling back in the fight against hunger,” says Canadian Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to work toward the goal of a world without hunger. This means finding ways to reduce conflict and helping vulnerable people increase their resiliency to climate variability and extremes,” he says. “We need to equip people and communities to prepare for and adapt to climate-related emergencies and changes.”

In 2017-18, almost half of all Foodgrains Bank programming went toward responding to hunger emergencies caused by conflict in places like South Sudan, Syria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Foodgrains Bank also works to respond to the challenges of increasing climate variability by training small-scale farmers in adapting their farming to better withstand drought, erratic rain and other severe weather conditions.

“In the face of rising hunger, it’s more important than ever for Canada to lend its support to its global neighbours, supporting peace-building efforts and helping to finance adaptation,” says Cornelius.

“We know ending hunger is an achievable goal, and we invite Canadians to join with us in helping to reach that goal.”

–Amanda Thorsteinsson, Communications Coordinator