Global hunger levels have skyrocketed because of conflict, climate change and the economic impact of COVID-19; and one in five children around the world is stunted, UN agencies warned on Monday. 

New data that represents the first comprehensive global assessment of food insecurity carried out since the coronavirus pandemic began, indicates that the number of people affected by chronic hunger in 2020, rose by more than in the previous five years combined. 

Reversing this situation will likely take years if not decades, maintained the World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF

Global hunger

Food system reform call 

“The pandemic continues to expose weaknesses in our food systems, which threaten the lives and livelihoods of people around the world,” the heads of those UN agencies wrote in this year’s report.

It notes that around a tenth of the global population – between 720 million people and 811 million – were undernourished last year. 

Some 418 million of that number were in Asia and 282 million were in Africa. 

Globally, 2.4 billion people did not have access to sufficiently nutritious food in 2020 – an increase of nearly 320 million people in one year.  

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