KORE - Knowledge Sharing Platform on Resilience

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World

Building climate resilience for food security and nutrition
12/09/2018

Evidence continues to signal a rise in world hunger. According to available data, the number of people who suffer from hunger has been growing over the past three years, returning to levels from almost a decade ago. The absolute number of people in the world affected by undernourishment, or chronic food deprivation, is now estimated to have increased to nearly 821 million in 2017 from around 804 million in 2016. The situation is worsening in South America and most regions of Africa; likewise, the decreasing trend in undernourishment that characterized Asia until recently seems to be slowing down significantly.

Multiple forms of malnutrition are evident in many countries. Poor access to food and particularly healthy food contributes to undernutrition as well as overweight and obesity. It increases the risk of low birthweight, childhood stunting and anaemia in women of reproductive age, and it is linked to overweight in school-age girls and obesity among women, particularly in upper-middle- and high-income countries. The higher cost of nutritious foods, the stress of living with food insecurity and physiological adaptations to food restriction help explain why foodinsecure families may have a higher risk of overweight and obesity. Additionally, maternal and infant/child food deprivation can result in foetal and early childhood “metabolic imprinting”, which increases the risk of obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases later in life.

Climate variability and extremes are a key driver behind the recent rises in global hunger and one of the leading causes of severe food crises. The changing nature of climate variability and extremes is negatively affecting all dimensions of food security (food availability, access, utilization and stability), as well as reinforcing other underlying causes of malnutrition related to child care and feeding, health services and environmental health. The risk of food insecurity and malnutrition is greater nowadays because livelihoods and livelihood assets – especially of the poor – are more exposed and vulnerable to changing climate variability and extremes.

This year’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World launches an urgent appeal to accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity in the face of changing climate variability and increasing extremes.

Part 1 presents the most recent trends in hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms with a focus on monitoring progress on SDG Targets 2.1 and 2.2. This year the report also provides a deeper exploration of the indicator of wasting among children under five years of age.

Part 2 closely scrutinizes the extent to which climate variability and extremes are undermining progress in the areas of food security and nutrition through different channels. The analysis ultimately points to guidance on how the key challenges brought about by climate variability and extremes can be overcome if we are to achieve the goals of ending hunger and malnutrition in all forms by 2030 (SDG Targets 2.1 and 2.2) as well as other related SDGs, including taking action to combat climate change and its impacts (SDG13).

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