Amidst technological breakthroughs and economic advancements, a significant portion of the global population continues to lack adequate food and nutrition. According to the recent The State of Food Security and Nutrition 2023 Report, the number of hungry individuals in 2022 ranged from 691 million to 783 million. This is an increase of 122 million people since 2019, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even more alarming is that 2.4 billion people, or 29.6% of the world's population, lacked regular access to food.
Key Findings from the Report
The rise in hunger is more acute in Western Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. Africa has the highest regional percentage of hungry people at 20%.
Latin America confirms the effectiveness of social protection systems. The region did not experience a drastic increase in hunger due to a more robust social protection system that provided food security for its population during the pandemic.
In contrast, Africa's challenge lies in its limited ability to implement such systems and the negative impact of rising fertilizer prices, largely stemming from global events such as the war in Ukraine.
The lack of access to nutritious food remains a significant concern. In 2021, about 3.1 billion people (42% of the global population) could not access healthy diets.
The Road Ahead
The goal eliminating hunger by 2030 (SDG 2) seems challenging in light of the current trends. The obstacles posed by the pandemic, unrest, and economic disparities have undeniably pushed us further from this objective.
In a recent interview with Devex, FAO Chief Economist Máximo Torero emphasized the role of the public sector in supporting agriculture:
“The public sector already supports agriculture, and there’s where we need to find and understand where changes have to happen so these public expenditures are aligned towards creating incentives to produce healthy diets,” Torero said. “I honestly think that if we look carefully at the financing mechanisms … and look at the challenges that we have to solve, we can really target interventions that could have a big payoff.”
Torero's insights find echoes in the functionalities of the Millennium Institute’s iSDG model. When it comes to accelerating the achievement of SDG2 (Zero Hunger), the model allows:
Identifying Systemic Strengths and Vulnerabilities in Food Security: Through the model, countries can gain deeper insights into their food security framework, understanding what increases food availability and where interventions are most needed. This enables nations to identify key leverage points that can advance their fight against hunger.
Understanding SDG2's Connections: While focusing on hunger, the iSDG model shows how SDG2 is intricately linked with other goals, emphasizing the interconnected nature of sustainable development. For instance, how advancements in agriculture can impact economic growth, health, and education.
Policy Design: The iSDG model provides countries with the capability to simulate various policy scenarios. This assists in identifying effective approaches to enhance food security. With the model, countries can transform data into practical and informed policy decisions.
The scope of our work extends beyond data analysis. Utilizing the insights derived from the iSDG model, we contribute to policy design, aiming to create policies that increase payoff. By partnering with international organizations, national governments, and local entities, we strive to translate these strategies into tangible actions.
Given the myriad global challenges, from health crises to geopolitical conflicts, the pursuit of SDG 2 goes beyond mere aspirations. With the aid of tools like the iSDG model and our focus on practical policy design, the Millennium Institute continues its efforts toward a world where hunger is systematically addressed.