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UN food security report highlights scale of challenge facing the world

'Out now' image of the 2021 SOFI report
Photo: FAO 2021

Global hunger levels increased last year, with up to 811 million people facing hunger at the end 2020 under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, and up to 928 million people experiencing food insecurity, according to a UN report published today.

The 2021 ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ report is the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020. It illustrates the scale of impact that the pandemic has had on the world’s food security.

The increase in the number of undernourished people in 2020 was the largest annual rise in 20 years – five times higher than any other annual increase during this period.

The report also highlights the scale of the challenge facing the world if it is to eliminate hunger by 2030, in line with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.

Concern’s Director of Strategy, Advocacy and Learning Connell Foley, said the report confirms that this target will be missed unless bold actions are taken to accelerate progress, especially actions to address inequality in access to food.

“Access to nutritious food is a basic right and it is increasingly challenging for people living in crises -and constantly affected by conflict, climate change and Covid-19 - to feed themselves and their families,” he said.

“The prospect of multiple famines in 2021 is a global moral failure. We have the data and the knowhow to ensure everyone has enough nutritious food to eat. We need the political will to make it a reality. Governments must do more to prevent crises from worsening, strengthen policies on climate action and put the necessary resources in place to end hunger.”

Anushree Rao, Director of Policy and Campaigns, said: "This report makes it clear that current global levels of hunger and malnutrition are too high for us to ignore. We were already off track to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, but Covid-19 has hindered progress, worsening the gender gap on hunger and holding healthy diets out of reach for 3 billion people. Once again, those in the world’s poorest places are being hit hardest.

The global community must invest and act urgently to prevent this catastrophe worsening. Now more than ever, we urge the UK government to reverse the aid cuts, which are having devastating consequences on the food security, health and livelihoods of millions living in extreme poverty."

To read the ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ report 2021, visit:

For media queries please contact Hannah Myerson, Senior Communications Officer, Concern Worldwide (UK) at [email protected]

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