Projections and analysis in a new study published by the Inter-Agency Regional Analysts Network (IARAN) and the international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger warn that the global effort to end hunger by 2030 could be in jeopardy without major efforts to break the cycle of hunger and conflict and address the root causes of food crises.
The number of hungry people in the world increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, according to a report issued in September by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In early 2017, the United Nations warned that 20 million people face the threat of famine in four countries. In many places in these countries, insecurity prevents aid delivery and food assitance, as is the case in many situations of armed conflict. This rise in world hunger cannot be understood without recognizing—and addressing—the links between conflict, climate, and food insecurity.
“Famine is manmade, and it is never unexpected,” said Andrea Tamburini, Chief Executive of Action Against Hunger. “Despite the lessons of history and despite the incalculable human toll, the number of people suffering from hunger in the world is rising. We know this rise is happening not only because of the surge in conflicts and extreme weather patterns, but also—and above all else—because hunger is not a global political priority.”
The new report from IARAN and Action Against Hunger analyzes relevant data to identify nine key drivers of hunger—with conflict chief among them—and projects how those drivers could steer five possible scenarios by 2030.
“One of the scenarios predicts strong and equitable growth and a trajectory toward a more equitable form of ‘Western-led’ development,” says IARAN Global Analyst Tyler Rundel. “Another trajectory projects growth coming from strong, perhaps tumultuous development of ‘non-Western’ economies and actors.”
Another projection in the IARAN analysis predicts possible slow and fragile growth, or a “business as usual” situation in which, without major changes, hunger continues to affect hundreds of millions of people for decades to come. Still another scenario projects “system shock,” and illustrates the catastrophic outcome if a series of major shocks were to occur in the near future.
Action Against Hunger emphasizes that that there are multiple, major drivers of hunger threatening progress, including: poverty; inequality; conflict and displacement; climate change; inadequate agricultural policies; and poor governance and weak infrastructure.
In recognition of World Food Day on October 16th, Action Against Hunger urges:
- National governments and the international community to exert political pressure to end crises, avert famine, and break the vicious circle between hunger and conflict.
- International donors and governments from developing countries to increase both their humanitarian and long-term funding and to support small-scale farming for the long term, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
“In order to achieve the ambitious goal of ending hunger by 2030, the international community must exert stronger political will and mobilize more resources,” said Tamburini. “Without a multidimensional approach that focuses on key drivers, hunger will persist.”