nearly one in ten people suffer from hunger in the world, a figure that has been rising sharply for two years

This is a new major alert: hunger continues to grow in the world. After jumping from 8% to 9.3% of the world’s population between 2019 and 2020, undernourishment continued to rise in 2021. Now, 9.8% of the world’s population is affected, i.e. nearly one person out of ten (between 702 and 828 million people), according to the latest report on world food security (SOFI report) published on Wednesday July 6 by five UN agencies – the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO ), the World Food Program (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef.

Although food insecurity indicators have been in the red since 2015, the outlook has darkened considerably with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shut down part of the world’s economies, and in particular the informal sector on which most vulnerable populations. The restrictions put in place have thus had the effect of increasing the number of undernourished people by 150 million in two years (103 million more people in 2020, and 46 million in 2021).

The inventory carried out by the UN agencies, which relates to consolidated data for the year 2021, is all the more worrying in that it does not yet include the consequences of the military invasion of Ukraine by Russia since February. The conflict, which involves two major players in the export of cereals, oilseeds and fertilizers, has led to supply tensions on international markets, accentuated food price increases and renewed concern for very dependent on imports, in Africa and the Middle East in particular. “This report comes out in the midst of a food crisis. We are in an extremely critical moment since the reality today is much worse than what the report documents”warns Maureen Jorand, head of advocacy at CCFD-Terre solidaire, an NGO for international solidarity and development.

“Fragility of our system”

While the impact of the war in Ukraine is still difficult to assess, UN agencies believe that the conflict could lead to an increase in the number of people affected by hunger. 8 to 19 million people depending on the scenarios envisaged and the international response provided. “The Covid crisis, then the war in Ukraine highlighted the fragility of our food system, which has been entirely specialized, and the lack of food sovereignty of many countries, analyzes Emile Frison, member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-food), a think tank based in Brussels. Those who suffer the most are the countries that have specialized in cash crops, [comme le cacao en Afrique de l’Ouest] and are dependent on imports. »

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