The organization's officials urged the world to secure the funds and transform their global food supply system to provide for those in need.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused hunger to cast a heavier shadow over humanity, a report compiled by five agencies of the United Nations found.
In 2020, the undernourished people on the planet rose to 768 million, almost 10 percent of the world’s entire population, compared to 650 million only a year ago, the report said.
Our worst fears are coming true. Reversing such high levels of chronic hunger will take years if not decades.
The percentage of people suffering from hunger had remained virtually unchanged for five years before the advent of the pandemic.
‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ report, the first to assess the impact of the pandemic on food security worldwide, also indicated that Africa was the region hit hardest by the rising levels of hunger.See Also: EPA Plans to Tackle Food Waste in Effort to Reduce Carbon Emissions
A total of 282 million people, which translates to 21 percent of its population, the highest percentage of any other region in the world, faced the threat of hunger in 2020. More than half of the world’s undernourished people, however, 418 million, live in Asia.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to expose weaknesses in our food systems, which threaten lives and livelihoods,” the U.N. agencies that co-authored the report said in a joint statement. “No region of the world has been spared.”
The authors of the report also warned that the goal of the U.N. to eliminate world hunger by 2030 might no longer be realistic.
“Our worst fears are coming true,” Arif Husain, the chief economist of the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), said. “Reversing such high levels of chronic hunger will take years if not decades.”
The head of WFP, on the other hand, David Beasley, was critical of the incapacity of the world to gather the funds required to fight global hunger.
“The fact that we’re begging and screaming [for funds] is a disgrace on the face of humanity,” Beasley said.
Global food insecurity, defined as the lack of consistent access to enough food for all persons in a household, had already started to re-emerge in the mid-2010s after decades of decline.
António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, called for action to create a food supply system to provide for people deprived of sufficient food resources.
“In a world of plenty, we have no excuse for billions to lack access to a healthy diet,” Guterres said. “This is why I’m convening a global Food Systems Summit this September.”
“[Investing in] changes in our food systems will initiate a shift to a safer, fairer, more sustainable world,” he added. “It is one of the smartest – and most necessary investments we can make.”