While progress has been made toward eliminating global hunger, the world is now facing an unprecedented global food security and malnutrition crisis. Hunger is rising globally due to the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and changing climates, entrenched conflicts, economic crises, and disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. For many communities, especially those already marginalized, the compounding shocks have eroded the resilience of their food systems and pushed them to their breaking point. The global effects of the conflict in Ukraine could be the final blow.
Responses must not only address immediate needs but tackle long term root causes that drive hunger and poverty. Strategic investments in food security, agricultural research and development, and nutrition are proven ways to build resilience and reduce vulnerability to food shocks and stresses while addressing chronic poverty and hunger. In fact, studies show for every $1 invested in resilience efforts, $3 is reduced in humanitarian assistance down the line. U.S. global food security and nutrition programs provide healthy safety nets for the most food-insecure populations, strengthen food systems, and equip people with the knowledge and tools to feed themselves.
In 2021, the number of people unable to afford a healthy diet around the world rose by 112 million to almost 3.1 billion.
Between 702 and 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021. The number has grown by about 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Projections estimate that nearly 670 million people will still be facing hunger in 2030—8% of the world population.
Between October 2022 and January 2023, an estimated 45 million people in 37 countries were projected to have so little to eat that they will be severely malnourished and at risk of death or starvation.
Malnutrition is a global challenge. In 2020, an estimated 22% of children under five years of age were stunted (low height for age), 6.7% were wasted (low weight for height), and 5.7% were overweight.