Chapter 1 Sustainable Development Goal 2.1: undernourishment and food insecurity

Key messages
  • By disrupting economic and livelihood activities, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic economic downturn in Asia and the Pacific and exacerbated hunger and food insecurity.
  • Economic downturns and contractions had a larger effect on the affordability of food than did increased food prices.
  • Progress in reducing undernourishment in Asia and the Pacific slowed during the past few years, and the number of undernourished increased substantially (17 percent) between 2019 and 2020.
  • In 2020, 375.8 million people in the region were undernourished, an increase of 53.9 million people over 2019. Most of these people (305.7 million) live in Southern Asia.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 443.8 million people in the region suffered from severe food insecurity in 2020, while an additional 667.4 million suffered from moderate food insecurity.