This post was last updated October 15, 2018.
In a world of abundant wealth and resources, where enough food is produced to feed everyone on the planet, it is unacceptable that hundreds of millions of people suffer from hunger. Right now, poverty, conflict, and climate change are contributing to hunger and suffering around the world. And in four countries – South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and northeastern Nigeria – 20 million people are facing severe food insecurity and looming famine.
The United Nations and its agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) are working to reduce hunger by getting emergency food supplies to families in crisis, improving agricultural and food production, building resilience in communities, and other steps vital to eliminating hunger and malnutrition.
The good news is that the UN, along with the work of governments, businesses, civil society, and other partners, has made gains in the fight against hunger in recent decades. However, worsening impacts from conflict and climate change threaten to undo this progress. We know we have the ability to end hunger; now we need to mobilize the collective will across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Here are five reasons to care about stopping hunger worldwide:
- More than 820 million people suffer from hunger. According to the UN, 821 million people in the world were undernourished in 2017. This is equivalent to one in nine people on the planet. Additionally, about one in three people suffer from malnutrition.
- We can make a difference: The proportion of undernourished people declined from 15% in 2000-2002 to 11% in 2014-2016. While the current situation is dire, we are making significant progress in the effort to end hunger. The decrease in the proportion of undernourished people from 15% to 11% shows that global action can make a difference in people’s lives.
- We all have a right to food. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 states that: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food.”
- Hunger and malnutrition have a ripple effect that slows development. According to WFP, “Not only do the consequences of not enough – or the wrong – food cause suffering and poor health, they also slow progress in many other areas of development like education and employment.” Poor and inadequate nutrition also leaves children vulnerable to diseases and illness, and can cause stunted growth.
- We have a goal to end hunger in all its forms by 2030. Sustainable Development Goal 2, adopted by the world in 2015, sets a goal to end hunger in all its form by 2030 to ensure that everyone everywhere can lead a healthy life. We all have a role to play in achieving this goal.
What you can do to help fight hunger?
First, stay informed. An informed public is the first step to any meaningful action. Learn more about the global goal to eradicate global hunger by 2030, and about the other Sustainable Development Goals.
Second, donate. UN agencies and other humanitarian partners urgently need funding to combat famine and hunger worldwide. Donate here to WFP, the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.
Third, use your voice. Let your leaders, friends, families, and social networks know that you care about ending hunger, you support the UN’s work, and you believe we need to provide funding and other resources to the UN and partners working to reach the goal of zero hunger.
[Photo: World Food Programme]