Data by DeliveryRank: click here
Covid-19 felt like the biggest health crisis in 100 years, and yet, it’s easy to forget about a problem that dwarfs even the most deadly of diseases: extreme hunger. In a bid to highlight the depth of the international hunger crisis, Delivery Rank has compiled all of the most important facts and statistics on world hunger in 2023.
World hunger has been a significant issue since records began, and over the last century, mankind has taken huge strides towards solving the crisis. But more needs to be done. The world produces enough food to feed all 7.7 billion inhabitants, yet millions of children still go to bed hungry every night.
This article will provide facts and stats on the state of hunger in some of the poorest regions in the world. We’ll cover the biggest contributors to world hunger, hunger’s effect on children, the role of Covid-19, and what can be done, both on a personal level and an institutional level, to help resolve what is the biggest humanitarian crisis on planet Earth.
What is Hunger?
Before we get into the main content of this article, we must highlight some key terms and definitions.
Often, when people talk about ‘hunger’ they are referring to the feeling of ‘being hungry.’ However, hunger is a complex term, and it consists of several different aspects and ‘mini-definitions.’
According to the WHO, ‘hunger’ can be broadly referred to as:
‘the term used to define periods when populations are experiencing severe food insecurity—meaning that they go for entire days without eating due to lack of money, lack of access to food, or other resources.’ The WHO also states that hunger is synonymous with ‘chronic undernourishment.’
Hunger can be defined, in part, by the distress associated with this lack of proper nutrition, or access to food.
Hunger consists of several different elements. Each element, explained in detail below, could be used to describe the topic of hunger on its own, but it is probably best to think of ‘hunger’ as the combination of all of these terms.
Refers to an individual’s caloric intake. When someone consumes less than 1800 calories per day, they are considered undernourished.
Does not refer specifically to calories, but instead highlights an individual’s deficiencies in energy, protein, and/or essential vitamins and minerals.
Refers more generally to the issue of an unbalanced diet. Encompassed within Malnutrition is undernutrition and overnutrition.
The most severe, and damaging, form of malnutrition. When someone is starving, their caloric intake is less than what is required to sustain life. Starvation over a prolonged time can cause irreparable damage to the individual’s body, potentially resulting in death. This is called inanition.
Refers to the availability of food to populations or individuals, and how well people can access food that meets their preferences and dietary needs. If someone has adequate food security, they have enough safe and nutritious food to support an active and healthy lifestyle.
What is ‘World Hunger’?
World hunger refers to hunger on a global level. Encompassed within world hunger are all of the definitions of hunger, and their effects around the world.
Statistics About Hunger
Let’s get into some general statistics about hunger. Important facts that show us the state of the hunger crisis across the globe.
How Many People are Hungry in the World?
The sheer number of people who suffer from hunger is staggering. According to the latest research by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), nearly 700 million people are hungry in the world.
We’ve Gotten Better at Containing Famines
The term ‘famine’ refers to a situation where whole regions or populations have an extreme inadequacy of nutrition and access to food. This widespread lack of access causes malnutrition, illness, starvation, and ultimately death on a huge scale.
Famines throughout the 19th and 20th centuries were a common occurrence, and hundreds of millions of people died from famines throughout this period.
The risk of famine is still a huge problem. In 2023, there are several countries that are either already experiencing famine, or on the verge of descending into one, and we must aid in whatever way we can:
South Sudan was declared a famine in 2017, as persistent conflict today means 60% of the population requires humanitarian assistance.
Yemen is also in a desperate situation, with conflict between Saudi-led coalition soldiers and Houthi rebels deteriorating food security.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some 20 million people require aid, again because of internal conflict.
A mix of environmental factors and conflict is causing Somalia to experience worrying levels of food insecurity.
In Afghanistan, terror groups are causing fearful citizens to flee their homes and livelihoods.
Economic hardship in Venezuela means people do not have access to food.
Meanwhile, parts of Northeast Nigeria and Burkina Faso are under the grip of the same conflict, which posits both at risk of a famine.
However, stopping these outbreaks of widespread hunger has significantly improved. With better food aid programs and charitable organizations, humans have gotten much better at containing famines, and preventing deaths:
Global Hunger is Getting Worse
Despite an increasingly effective response to famines and widespread hunger, there is still much to do.
After a period in which the damaging effects of world hunger have been declining every year, the hunger epidemic is now gradually getting worse.
The scale of global hunger is expected to worsen for years to come. If the number of hungry people around the world continues to grow, global hunger could reach staggering heights over the next decade.
Food Insecurity is on the Rise
Access to food sources is a direct contributor to hunger and nourishment.
Unsurprisingly, with world hunger an increasingly significant problem, the same upward trend can be seen in food insecurity data.
Fewer people have access to quality food, and therefore fewer people can eat food that is nutritious enough to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle.
This trend looks set to continue throughout the next few years.
Food Aid is Increasing
One could be forgiven for thinking that the increasing severity of the global hunger crisis is down to a lack of support from developed nations.
In reality, there are several factors causing an upward trend in starved and food insecure individuals. Conflicts and natural events caused by global warming are massive contributors.
The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is a group of 24 countries that have come together to help fight the world hunger crisis. The project is organized, and in-part, funded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The DAC analyzes data to identify trends in world hunger. DAC provides a forum for major aid donors and aims to coordinate a humanitarian response that is as effective as possible.
Global aid has been gradually increasing over the last few decades. In response to the surging number of food insecure & hungry people, DAC nations have significantly stepped up the scale of their aid operation.
Since 2015, DAC spending on food aid has increased from $3.28 billion to well over $4.5 billion.
Included in the DAC are nations with huge spending potential. The United States, Germany, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom are just five affluent economies involved in the program.
Released in 2020, the OECD’s latest analysis of DAC spending shows the USA is the biggest spenders on food aid, at nearly $3.1 billion.
Germany, Turkey, and the UK have still donated a significant amount of money to DAC food aid at 678m, 643m, and 425m respectively – although these nations are some way off the USA’s current spend.
Amid an increasingly volatile global hunger crisis, what is the ultimate effect on human life?
What Causes World Hunger?
Here we will break down the biggest factors at play in the world hunger crisis.
Poverty is the number one reason people go hungry. It has a huge impact on one’s access to food, in poor and developed nations alike.
People who live in poverty can face severe food insecurity, and often they do not have the technology to store or prepare their food safely.
Without an adequate income, these people often live in poorer areas that have issues affecting food security and hunger. People living in poverty may not have proper access to safe drinking water, and there may be a lack of support for people suffering the effects of hunger. Many poorer nations also have inadequate health services, for example.
In the same sense, poor areas generally have a dysfunctional education system, or one not accessible for many residents. A lack of education works to compound the problem of hunger.
Hunger Traps People in Poverty
Hunger and poverty go hand-in-hand, and the effects of each work to create a ‘vicious circle’ that traps people in a desperate situation.
People who are born into poverty, are often born into situations where they do not have adequate access to food. A lack of nutrition means children could become stunted, where they are too short for their age, or wasted, where children don’t weigh enough compared to their height.
Women may also be undernourished whilst pregnant. This affects the development of the child in the womb, and babies born under these circumstances are often premature, or underweight.
As these children, or anyone suffering from starvation, become increasingly hungry, they also grow weaker, more prone to disease and illness, and less productive. This makes it impossible for some adults to work, and earn enough money to feed their family.
In children, the growing effects of hunger make focusing at school a difficult task. This will affect a child’s educational performance, as they struggle to focus and complete their work. Hunger can also slow the mental development of a child, and reduce their physical and mental capacity in adulthood.
Ultimately, lower grades and physical deterioration will hinder a child’s job opportunities down the line. Of course, with less chance of earning money, the child is more likely to be stuck in poverty and hungry as a result.
Many poor people have a weaker immune system because of prolonged undernourishment and starvation. As such, they are more likely to become infected by an incapacitating virus or disease. Again, this would limit an individual’s access to food, as they cannot work, farm, or even beg.
As you can see, hunger traps people in poverty, which results in prolonged starvation. The whole situation works like a vicious circle.
Smallholder Farmers are the Most Affected
Small farmers, herders, and fishermen often work with minuscule amounts of land, and in developing countries, they are one of the largest groups affected by hunger.
Small farmers, herders, and fishermen, as a whole, produce around 70 percent of the world’s food. Yet without enough money to buy proper technology to safeguard their crops, cattle, or fish, this group is extremely vulnerable to food insecurity.
Smallholder farmers are at particularly high risk of going hungry. In developing nations, smallholder farmers are the largest group that is stuck in extreme poverty.
Frequently, smallholder farmers don’t own a big enough piece of land to grow sizable harvests. This means they cannot grow enough food to sustain themselves, or their families, and they don’t make enough money from their crops to purchase food, should it become limited.
Wars & Conflicts
Another huge factor that negatively impacts the world hunger epidemic is war, and conflict. Internal conflicts in several Middle Eastern and African nations, such as Afghanistan and Libya, are worsening as political and social unrest grows.
Wars and conflicts have a massive effect on food security. As conflict breaks out in an area, many farmers must flee their land and can no longer harvest their crops. People who are displaced must also abandon their possessions, and are likely to be left with nothing – not even enough money to buy food.
Infrastructure, like roads and irrigation tanks, is destroyed. Food can therefore not be accessed, and crops drown or fail to grow – all leading to scarce supplies and a more expensive product. The lack of security in an area also negatively affects trade.
Hunger, poverty and conflict also works in a self-fulfilling vicious circle. As people become desperate, they are more likely to rob or kill for the food they need. Some people may be frustrated with governments who do not support hungry populations, and this can be a huge reason for civil-wars and widespread conflict.
In the latest report from the World Food Programme (WFP), three war-torn countries had the largest populations in IPC Phase 3* food crisis or worse. Together Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan accounted for one-third of the world’s people in a food crisis.
*IPC ranks the severity of food insecurity on a scale of 1-5, with phase 5 the most severe level of food insecurity. At level 3, food insecurity is classified as a ‘crisis:’ (1) Minimal/None, (2) Stressed, (3) Crisis, (4) Emergency, and (5) Catastrophe/Famine.
Climate Change & Natural Disasters
A natural disaster is a natural event that causes a significant amount of damage or even a loss of life. Included within natural disasters are earthquakes, and extreme weather events like floods, droughts, and hurricanes.
These extreme conditions, otherwise known as climate shocks, lead directly to hunger crises on a massive scale. Droughts and floods can obliterate harvests for hundreds of miles in any direction, and without infrastructure and support from governments, poor farmers have no way of rebuilding their farms and feeding their families.
Too much rainfall can flood pastures, while not enough rainfall kills the vegetation that cattle need to feed. Extreme events like hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes can destroy herds of cattle in one moment.
All of this equates to a devastating loss of food security. Climate shocks can force the poorest of people to abandon their homes, farms, and everything they own. Crops are destroyed, and people may slaughter cattle that are needed for milk or use up their supply of seeds, just so they can eat a meal.
People in areas of climate shocks often slip into extreme poverty and can’t afford food as a result. Climate change is only making this worse. The shifting global climate is making extreme weather events and natural disasters more common, and more severe.
Other Important Contributors
Inequality, whether it is class-based, racial inequality, or gender inequality, has a massive effect on hunger.
Just one 1% of the global population owns half of the world’s wealth. This results in a small number of people taking control of economies and resources, leaving billions who live in poverty with nothing left for themselves.
Even in the share of food between women and men, inequality is a prevalent issue. Women and girls make up 60% of all food-insecure people in the world, and they represent over 70% of people suffering from chronic hunger.
The same can be said about the share of wealth, and food, between indigenous and non-indigenous populations. In Guatemala, 61% of indigenous children experienced stunting, compared to just 34% of non-indigenous children.
Prejudice is a recurring issue in every walk of life. Unfortunately, when it comes to hunger, prejudice impacts the distribution of food as well.
Unfair Global Trade
Inequality can occur on a political level, too.
Rich nations can form unfair trade agreements with poorer countries, while subsidies and bilateral deals create better market access and prices for developed nations. Developed economies can also resell natural resources from developing nations, taking most of the profits for themselves.
With less money in the pocket of enterprises within developing nations, economies suffer, and people in developing countries do not have enough money to buy food to sustain themselves.
Unfair trade agreements mean food prices are higher than they should be in developing countries, and food is distributed to poor countries unfairly. Both of these factors increase food insecurity, by making food less accessible.
Poor Governance and Infrastructure
Governments in poor states are often badly run, with a lack of policy and strategy when it comes to dealing with poverty. Infrastructure in developing nations is generally inadequate for consistent, sustainable, and affordable food production. A lack of good roads, irrigation systems, and good education systems means crops cannot be properly watered, food cannot be distributed on roads, and children will likely struggle for work as they grow older.
Land grabbing preys on smallholder farmers who may have farmed a piece of land for generations, but do not have legitimate papers. With no legal documentation, governments and big companies take this land by force, leaving people with no source of income or food.
Currently, 33 million people across the globe have lost their means of sustenance through land grabbing from large foreign investors and corporations.
When someone loses their job or is not paid enough money to cover their bills, they can be plunged into poverty and hunger as a result. This problem is a massive reason for hunger in developed nations.
Entire households could go hungry if the main earner in the family loses their job. One only needs to look at the recent pandemic as evidence for this issue’s effect on hunger. In America, as many people lost their jobs due to the pandemic, food bank use rose by 60% during 2020.
There are desperately hungry people in the world, yet one-third of all food that is produced is never even consumed – that’s 1.3 billion tonnes of wasted food every year.
Wasting food also wastes natural resources. Threatening ecosystems in this way can deprive people in developing countries of productive land further down the line, worsening the effects of poverty and hunger.
We have enough food to feed the global population. We must find better ways to distribute this food fairly so that everyone gets exactly what they need to be sustained.
Which Regions Are Most Affected by World Hunger?
Hunger has an impact on every nation across the world. Even in developed countries, hunger is still a massive issue, with families unable to afford enough food.
Hunger, though, still causes widespread damage in some regions more than others.
South America, Asia, and Africa are the three continents that are most affected by hunger.
The Food Security Information Network (FSIN) conducted studies in the primary regions in which hunger is a massive problem.
They collected data on how many people are in a food crises (IPC Phase 3 or above) across 5 primary regions:
Which Countries are Starving?
Several countries are particularly affected by hunger, starvation, and a lack of food security.
There is always a delay in the collection and distribution of data, but the latest figures, published in late 2020, show that in 2019 a number of countries received a significant amount of food aid:
According to the 2020 Global Report on Food Crises, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan had the largest number of people in a food crisis, or worse.
These three countries are home to 32% of the total number of people currently in a food crisis, and famine threatens other regions like South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Haiti, an alternative set of issues, such as poor harvests, bad infrastructure and economic collapse, are having a damaging effect on food security in children.
Here are three countries that are among the worst-affected by hunger for different reasons.
In Yemen, a calamitous mix of events is leading to one of the biggest humanitarian crises.
Conflict, economic collapse, and a lack of funding to help ease the hunger crisis are all playing their part in Yemen’s situation.
Like Yemen, conflict in Afghanistan is playing a huge role in the deterioration of food security. Since the withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan in 2014, fighting between Afghan National Security Forces, the Taliban, and Islamic State (IS) has intensified greatly – destroying civilian infrastructures like schools, hospitals, irrigation systems, and roads.
The conflict, drought, and economic crisis in Afghanistan is leading to a sharp decline in food security.
The IPC estimated that from November 2020 to March 2021, 3.1 million more people could have faced Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher stages of food insecurity – that’s a 6% increase from 11.1 million.
In 2023, roughly 40% of Afghanistan’s population could ultimately endure Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity. The IPC’s estimations can be seen in the map below.
September 2021 Update
In late 2021, Afghanistan’s situation continued to worsen. Extreme weather ravaged the country’s agriculture, with 40% of crops lost to drought. The economic effects of COVID-19 still linger. With failing crops and less accessible food, costs are simply unaffordable. Wheat prices increased 24% above Afghanistan’s five-year average in 2021.
The Taliban takeover of the country is not helping Afghanistan’s dire food security, either. 300,000 people were displaced over 2 months due to the Taliban’s advances across Afghanistan – an offensive that ended with the capture of the nation’s capital, Kabul, on August 15th, 2021.
The Taliban have inherited a severe water and food shortage that needs desperate and immediate humanitarian assistance. According to UNICEF, 10 million children in Afghanistan need humanitarian aid, 1 million children are in imminent danger of dying without treatment.
There are no signs of respite for Afghanistan’s people as we head into the winter. The UN estimated the nation could run out of food in late September 2021 without an upturn in aid distribution.
Haiti has long been one of the poorest, and hungriest, countries in the world, and the issues are only getting worse. In 2020, Haiti rose to rank as the 4th hungriest country on the Global Health Index rankings.
The country is poverty-stricken, and many people do not have access to basic human amenities like electricity, water, sanitation, healthcare, or even education. These issues compound Haiti’s problems. For example, in 2019, hospitals in Haiti had to close due to access constraints and a lack of supplies.
Poor agricultural performance means Haiti struggles economically, and the nation is also regularly ranked as one of the most prevalent areas for climate shocks and extreme natural events.
Unfortunately, these issues have combined to a horrific extent. The brunt of Haiti’s food security issue has a profound effect on children.
We have highlighted these three countries, but in reality, there are dozens of desperately poor nations. The Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Chad, Zambia, Liberia, and Sudan are just a few of the other countries in urgent need of aid.
World Hunger and Children
We have looked at how children are affected at points throughout this article, but what do the numbers say for the state of hunger in children across the world?
The State of Child Hunger
Malnutrition, hunger, and starvation in children lead to a reduction in physical and mental development.
Hunger negatively impacts a child’s growth, and two definitions allow us to gauge hunger’s impact on physical development:
Wasting refers to the situation where a child is underweight for their height, usually as a result of malnutrition and starvation.
Stunting is when a child is too short for their age because of chronic malnutrition or starvation.
So, how are children affected by wasting and stunting?
Sadly, prolonged malnutrition, which leads to stunting and wasting, can have terrible consequences.
When children are starved for too long, and cannot access aid or healthcare, the tragic result is death.
The children die because their bodies lack the basic nutrients to maintain life.
The issue of child hunger shows no signs of abating. With global food insecurity and starvation getting worse year-on-year, the horrific effects on children will only continue to intensify.
What Impact Did Covid-19 Have on World Hunger?
The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening world hunger and its effects in rich and developing nations alike.
Covid-19 has proved to be ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ for a number of impoverished regions, which are already dealing with conflict, climate change, inequality, and poor infrastructure. The pandemic has only worsened the damages to food security that all of these aspects have.
In fact, 2020 marked one of the most severe increases in global food insecurity.
But why does Covid-19 have such a detrimental impact on food security and hunger?
International borders slammed shut during the pandemic, with the majority of countries going into lockdown. This has resulted in a significant reduction in trade, and millions of people have lost their jobs as a result.
Higher unemployment rates mean people do not have enough money to put food on the table. The World Bank estimates that up to 150 million people will had fallen into extreme poverty due to the pandemic by 2021. To make matters worse, food prices have risen, making proper nutrition even more inaccessible for families living in poverty.
When you consider that poor individuals must spend a higher percentage of their low-income on food, the pandemic has ultimately led to millions of people cutting back on their portions, or who are simply unable to eat.
Closed borders and the subsequent reduction in imports and exports also increase food insecurity, as food distribution is hindered. Particularly in developing nations, there is not enough food available to go around.
The pandemic has not only impacted food security in low- and low-middle income nations. Mass unemployment has also ravaged food security levels for millions of people living in developed economies.
People who have lost their job have lost their source of income, and therefore cannot feed themselves, or adequately provide for their families.
With a well-documented unemployment crisis and lots of available data, the United Kingdom is a good barometer for the situation.
The UK’s unemployment rate rose exponentially in 2020, and will likely continue to rise as long as the nation is held in the grip of Coronavirus.
An increase in unemployment across the world has led to people relying on food banks more often.
Poor families can not afford to feed themselves, let alone their children who would normally receive free school meals. More than 368 million children are missing meals and snacks due to school closures.
Data from the UK government shows that 7.7 million adults reduced their portion sizes or skipped meals altogether in the first weeks of lockdown, while 3.7 million adults received food from charities or food banks.
Although food bank use has been rising in the UK for the last decade or so, food bank use in late-2019 and 2020 has increased rapidly to reach record levels, as can be seen in the following graph.
The Next Steps to Solving World Hunger
There are several ways we can combat world hunger, both through the work of institutions and national committees, all the way down to the positive change we can make on an individual level.
The Sustainable Development Goal for hunger
The Sustainable Development Goal for Hunger, otherwise known as Goal 2: Zero Hunger, is part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals or ‘SDGs.’
With the initiative, the UN has outlined a number of specific objectives that must be met by the year 2030 to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition across the world. The plan aims to provide every person, and especially every child, with a consistently adequate level of nutrition. It includes aspects of sustainable agriculture, support for smallholder farmers as well as improved and ethical access to land, technology, and markets for everyone, no matter their financial or geographical position.
Goal 2 is one of 17 SDGs set by the UN for the betterment of the human race. Included in Goal 2: Zero Hunger are several specific elements:
Goal 2: Zero Hunger.
To end hunger, and to ensure access for everyone (especially the poor and vulnerable) to adequate nutritious food every year, by 2030.
To end malnutrition in all forms by 2030. 2.2 aims to reduce stunting and wasting in children under 5 years old, and meet the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons.
To double productivity and income in small-scale food producers by 2030, including women, indigenous people, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, through equal access to resources.
To implement sustainable food production and resilient agricultural practices by 2030, to increase productivity, maintain ecosystems, and adapt to climate change and extreme weather events.
To maintain the biodiversity of cultivated land, including seeds, plants and farmed/domestic animals, while promoting access to genetic resources and any associated traditional knowledge.
To increase investment by improving international cooperation. Investment should be increased in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension, technological development, and plant and livestock gene banks to increase production in developing countries.
Prevent trade restrictions in global farming markets by eradicating subsidies and export measures.
Ensure that food commodity markets, and their derivatives, function correctly – with adequate access to market information. This should limit the volatility of food prices.
Zero Hunger Challenge
Initially launched in 2012 by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, the Zero Hunger Challenge contains five aspects of the sustainable development goal for hunger.
These are the most important elements that, together, can put an end to malnutrition whilst building sustainable, and easily accessible, food systems.
The Zero Hunger Challenge echoes the goal of stopping world hunger by the year 2030. However, the challenge also acknowledges that this goal cannot be achieved by a few people. We must all contribute, on an international and individual level, and the challenge calls for committee and cooperation in the pursuit of zero hunger.
The Zero Hunger Challenge
Sustainability in every food system, from production to consumption.
End poverty in rural areas, doubling the productivity and income of small-scale producers.
Stop food loss and waste, through developing food systems.
Access to an adequate supply of food for everyone, all year round.
Put an end to malnutrition, in every sense of the word.
By bringing together individuals, organizations, nations, and entities at every level, the Zero Hunger Challenge believes we can effectively end poverty and hunger.
Through the structure of the Zero Hunger Challenge, governments can share strategies and knowledge with each other, and the community, while the program also promotes regional cooperation towards the zero hunger goal.
Are We on Course to Achieve These Goals?
The goals set out by the Zero Hunger Challenge and the Sustainable Development Goals for Hunger are reliant on large-scale collaboration and funding.
However, there is still additional funding needed if we are to end hunger by the year 2030.
Based on IISD research, an increase of finances by some $11 billion per year is needed between now and 2030 to reach the UN’s hunger goals. $4 billion of this funding must come from donors, and $7 billion from low- and low-middle income nations themselves. An unlikely increase given the financial implications of Covid-19.
This funding would generate an extra $5 billion of private investment each year until 2030.
Unfortunately, other trends in the global hunger epidemic mean that hunger, malnourishment, and food insecurity are all increasing in seriousness, as has been outlined in this article.
840 million people are expected to be hungry by 2030, a significant increase on the 690 million undernourished people in the world today, and even further from the goal of zero hunger by 2030.
The Covid-19 pandemic, a growing global population, and the intensifying presence of climate change and climate shocks are all contributing to this matter. Though, it must be said that the goals set out in the SDG and Zero Hunger Challenge remain integral if we are to effectively fight world hunger.
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme (WFP) is one of the biggest humanitarian organizations in the world. It is an entire branch of the United Nations, and it is the part of the UN that presides over the goal to end world hunger by 2030.
The program aims to combat inequality, climate change, and disaster risks while providing sustainability, nutrition, and support to people and smallholder farmers across the world. The WFP won a Nobel peace prize in 2020 for its continued work.
In 2020, the WFP expanded its humanitarian program to help a record 138 million people, up from 97 million in 2019. The WFP’s network is vast, with more than 5,500 vehicles and 20,000 staff distributing 15 billion rations across the world every year. Each ration costs around $0.61.
The WFP provides aid and rehabilitation primarily in countries experiencing war and conflict, where two-thirds of its work takes place.
The WFP raised a record $8 billion in funding in 2019, raised by charitable and voluntary donations. The program works with over a thousand non-government organizations and is partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Any Other Initiatives?
There are other large-scale initiatives and NGOs (non-government organizations) that are committed to ending world hunger.
The Hunger Project is a non-profit organization with operations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Like the WFP, the hunger project aims to end world hunger and promotes sustainability, while also emphasizing women-centric strategies to this effect.
The World Bank is an international institution that provides loans and financial support to emerging enterprises across more than 189 countries, with offices in 130 different locations. The project centers on two specific goals: to reduce the share of the global population that lives in extreme poverty to 3% by 2030 and to increase the incomes of the poorest 40% of people in each nation across the world.
Care, like other humanitarian projects, is a charitable organization that aims to end hunger while promoting equality, social justice, and equal opportunities for everyone. Care adheres to the implementation of its core values, including transformation, integrity, diversity, excellence, and equality. Last year, 1300 Care projects took effect in more than 100 countries, helping 90 million people in the process.
What Can Be Done by Nations?
Each country’s adherence to the Sustainable Development Goals is a must when conducting aid operations in low- and low-middle income countries. Projects that meet these criteria have the best chance of creating lasting change in the fight against poverty and hunger.
That being said, there are a number of ways nations can help in the fight against hunger. Donating to NGOs is one strategy. Many charitable organizations already have a huge global infrastructure, and donating money can help them up-scale their reach further. The United Nations regularly donates grants to NGOs, on the basis that they are well established within their field of expertise, and nations may look to adopt this approach within their own borders.
UNICEF is another organization doing great work in the fight against hunger. UNICEF is funded primarily by governments, while NGOs and private investors also support UNICEF’s projects. The organization primarily works to help children, and ending child poverty and hunger is one of its biggest goals.
So too are there ways for countries to be directly involved. As mentioned before, DAC brings together more than 20 nations in order to strategize an effective response to world hunger. The organization works as a committee and is funded by member states. DAC then carries out aid operations across the world.
What Steps Can We Take in Our Own Lives?
At an individual level, there are small things we can do every day to help in the fight against hunger.
Food waste is a major concern. Making sure we do not waste food in our own lives is a necessary step towards reducing waste on a national, and even international level. We can donate leftovers to food banks, or beggars in the street who go hungry every night. Millions of people rely on food banks and donating whatever we can is important – whether it is tins of beans, soup, or bread.
We can support local markets, too. Buying produce from your local seller puts money in the pockets of small-scale farmers who need it most, rather than paying big corporations who make massive profits each year.
Elsewhere, donating to charitable organizations is something that a lot of people do regularly. If you’re passionate about helping others, you can volunteer at a charity and help deliver aid to the people who need it most, whether that is within your own country or by moving abroad.
World hunger is still an issue of an unimaginable scale in 2023. In disaster zones across Africa, and some of the poorest regions in Asia, and South America, poverty and hunger is a wide-scale issue that threatens the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
But for those of us who are fortunate enough to live a healthy life in a developed economy, we mustn’t forget that hunger is never too far around the corner. Hunger is a truly global epidemic, and it is only getting worse. We must do whatever we can in our own lives to help the cause, and educating others on the state of world hunger is the first step in promoting a unified response.