Local impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and nutrition - A survey by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE)
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has spread rapidly and extensively around the world since late 2019, has had profound implications for food security and nutrition. The crisis continues to affect food systems and threaten people’s access to food via multiple dynamics. We have witnessed not only a major disruption to food supply chains in the wake of lockdowns triggered by the global health crisis, but also a major global economic slowdown and highly uneven recovery as new variants of the virus circulate and cause further threats to public health and food security. These crises have resulted in lower incomes and higher and more volatile food prices, putting food out of reach for many, and undermining the right to food and stalling efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: “Zero hunger.” The situation remains fluid and dynamic, characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. The COVID-19 crisis, and its devastating fallout, is far from over. The virus has already circulated for over 20 months and most health analysts predict that this virus will continue to mutate and circulate for at least several more years.
In March 2019, the chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Ambassador Thanawat Tiensin, decided to convene an exceptional virtual meeting of the CFS Bureau and of its Advisory Group and requested the HLPE to produce a first draft issue paper as a basis for discussions, before developing a new version, released in September 2020.
It is vital that the global community continue to monitor the situation closely, respond in necessary ways to avert the worst outcomes with respect to food security and nutrition, and carefully consider how to build more resilient food systems and ensure the right to food, in order to achieve SDG 2.
The HLPE have recently updated and extended the HLPE’s earlier analyses by providing a comprehensive and in-depth review of the main trends affecting food systems that have resulted from COVID-19 and associated lockdowns.
The present survey aims to complete this general analysis by allowing an understanding at finer geographical scales of the consequences of the pandemic according to the six dimensions of food security and nutrition.
The results will be presented to the Committee on World Food Security in October 2021 and shared with survey participants.
The deadline to respond is 16 September at 6.30 a.m. GMT.