Kampala, Uganda | XINHUA | The latest edition of the “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” estimated that the number of hungry people in the world increased by around 10 million last year, putting the world “off track” for reaching the United Nations’ goal of ending food insecurity and malnutrition by 2030.
The report, released Monday by the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), estimated that nearly 690 million people went hungry in 2019, an increase of 10 million compared with 2018 and up by nearly 60 million from five years earlier.
The report did not cover 2020, citing preliminary information as showing that the global coronavirus outbreak is “intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems.” Because of the pandemic, the report said, the number of hungry people in the world could increase by an additional 130 million by the end of this year.
The report said the worsening trend pushes the world “off-track to achieve the objective” of ending “hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition” by 2030. Those goals were part of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed on by UN members in 2015.
The report said the decrease in poverty in China, which it called the “single largest factor” in the reduction of global hunger over the last decade, continued but was offset by conditions in other parts of the world.
The comprehensive food security and nutrition report was produced by FAO in collaboration with four other UN entities: the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP) — like FAO, IFAD and WFP are based in Rome — as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), based in New York, and the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva.
FAO is headed by Qu Dongyu, who had served as China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.