Hunger is a serious crisis facing many in developing countries. Extreme hunger and malnutrition remains a barrier to sustainable development and creates a trap from which people cannot easily escape. Hunger and malnutrition mean less productive individuals, who are more prone to disease and thus often unable to earn more and improve their livelihoods. There are nearly 800 million people who suffer from hunger worldwide, the vast majority in developing countries.

New evidence continues to signal that the number of hungry people in the world is growing, reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people.
Hunger has been on the rise over the past three years, returning to levels from a decade ago. This reversal in progress sends a clear warning that more must be done and urgently if the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger is to be achieved by 2030. The situation is worsening in South America and most regions of Africa. With enough food to feed everyone on the planet, why are there so many hungry people? Poor harvesting practices, as well as food wastage have contributed to food scarcity. Wars have also had a negative impact on the availability of food and have led to a destruction of the environment, which is critical to grow food.

  • Globally, one in nine people in the world today (815 million) are undernourished
  • The majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 per cent of the population is undernourished.
  • Asia is the continent with the hungriest people – two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly.
  • Southern Asia faces the greatest hunger burden, with about 281 million undernourished people. In sub-Saharan Africa, projections for the 2014-2016 period indicate a rate of undernourishment of almost 23 per cent.
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45 per cent) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year.
  • One in four of the world’s children suffer stunted growth. In developing countries, the proportion can rise to one in three.
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
  • By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
  • By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.
  • By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
  • By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
  • By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.
  • Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries.
  • Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round.
  • Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.
  1. You can make changes in your own life—at home, at work and in the community—by supporting local farmers or markets and making sustainable food choices, supporting good nutrition for all, and fighting food waste.
  2. You can also use your power as a consumer and voter, demanding businesses and governments make the choices and changes that will make Zero Hunger a reality.
  3. Join the conversation, whether on social media platforms or in your local communities.
  4. You can join the Global Movement for Zero Hunger by joining the Zero Hunger Challenge
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