Getting to grips with global acute hunger crises

Identifying the root of a problem such as acute hunger is particularly difficult when drivers are systemic, but the Global Network Against Food Crises is attempting just that, courtesy of its latest report.

acute hunger crises

Agencies have been making such efforts for years, but the problem of wide-spread hunger in certain regions of the world remains a growing one. The Global Network Against Food Crises was founded by the European Union, FAO and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in 2016 with the aim of concerted efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to food crises and support the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger.

The group has just published its Global Report on Food Crises – the result of a consensus-based analytical process from 17 international humanitarian and development partners.

Highlighting the extent of the problem, the document reveals that around 193 million people in 53 countries or territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021 – an increase of nearly 40 million people from the already record numbers of the previous year.

Acute food insecurity is defined as a person’s inability to consume sufficient food putting their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger.

Addressing one of the major causes of acute food insecurity, that of conflict, Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said in a recent statement: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine jeopardises global food security. The international community must act to avert the largest food crisis in history and the social, economic, and political upheaval that could follow.”

With key drivers behind rising numbers of acute food insecurity identified as conflict, weather extremes and economic shocks, such as those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, effective solutions will require holistic structural changes that bridge a myriad of sectors.

A statement from the FAO suggested that the report called for a greater prioritisation of smallholder agriculture as a frontline humanitarian response, not only to overcome access constraints but as a solution to reverse negative long-term trends. Amending the way that funding is distributed was also cited as a key means of establishing longer-term development strategies to tackle root causes of hunger.

A high-level launch event will bring together key humanitarian actors today, 4 May, to discuss the findings of the Global Report and chart a course for action.

Click here to read the full report.

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