Today is World Hunger Day, a date deliberately put in the diary to remind us that despite living in an era of commercial space travel and artificial intelligence, preventable hunger still costs too many lives.
Last year nearly 150 million children had their growth stunted (where their bodies and brains are not properly developed), and another 50 million children were ‘wasted’, which means that they have a low weight for height. Globally, around 821 million people – equivalent to the combined populations of the EU and the USA - suffered from acute hunger. Nor should we forget those here in the UK who struggle to put enough nutritious food on the table for their family.
In 2015, the world’s governments committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG2, to end global hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Despite big improvements in food security in many countries over the last decades, globally we are off track to meet this goal. SDG2 is critical as it underpins many of the other goals (you won’t get much improvement in people’s health or school performance, without ensuring people have enough nutritious food to eat).
A particular challenge remains in rooting out severe malnutrition in the world’s poorest and most fragile countries, where increasingly the burden of acute hunger falls. Paradoxically our analysis is that many of the countries that need the help most, don’t get it from the international community.