According to a United Nations annual report, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been linked to a dramatic increase in the number of hungry people for decades.
A United Nations report released on Monday finds that the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in the number of hungry people in the world.
The report’s findings are a setback for U.N. efforts to ensure people have enough to eat, and the world is moving away from a goal of ending hunger by 2030.
What did the report find?
The U.N. agency reports that hunger rates have increased by an estimated 18 percent. In 2020, 118 million more people will be affected by hunger than in 2019.
Using the average estimate of the possible three, 768 million people, this would represent almost 10 per cent of the world’s population.
The report’s authors conclude that by 2020, hunger will “outpace population growth”.
“By 2020, nearly one-third of the world’s population [2.37 billion] will lack access to sufficient food, an increase of nearly 320 million people in just one year,” the annual report on food security and nutrition states.
According to the report, Africa is the continent with the largest increase in the number of hungry people, with an estimated 21 per cent of the population undernourished.
An estimated 149 million children under the age of five are stunted because they are too small for their age. More than 45 million children are underweight for their height.
Three billion adults and children are still unable to eat healthily, mainly because of the high cost,” says the UN agency.
At the same time, the report notes that nearly 39 million children are overweight.
While the full impact of the pandemic is uncertain, the report notes that the recession has hit almost all low- and middle-income countries.
Based on the trends highlighted in the report, the United Nations goal of eradicating hunger by 2030 “will be missed by a gap of nearly 660 million people,” the authors say, about 30 million of whom “could be linked to the lasting effects of the pandemic.”
But the pandemic “is only the tip of the iceberg,” the report says.
“Most alarmingly, the pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities that have developed in our food systems in recent years due to important factors such as conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic downturns and recessions.”
The UN agency said there may be an opportunity to reverse these dynamics as two major food and nutrition summits and the COP26 on climate change will take place this year.
The report was conducted by several UN agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, the Ifad Relief Fund, and the World Food Program.