The charity reacts to the FAO’s annual flagship report: “there is a growing disparity between regions and populations affected by hunger, now is not the time for complacency.”

The 2023 edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in The World (SOFI) report was published on Wednesday 12th July by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and is co-written by IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. The report estimates that up to 783 million people around the world suffered from hunger in 2022, while 2.4 billion (close to a third of the global population) were moderately or severely food insecure.The new research highlights some important findings, revealing that a staggering 3.1 billion individuals, accounting for 42 percent of the global population, faced challenges accessing a nutritious diet in 2021. Moreover, hunger rates have been escalating in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Alarmingly, if current trends persist, nearly 600 million people are projected to suffer from chronic undernourishment by 2030.

As the world’s leading charity dedicated to stopping life-threatening hunger in its tracks, Action Against Hunger welcomes the findings of the report and shares the view that it is crucial that global efforts to transform food systems are urgently intensified. Doing so is vital to getting back on track towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG-2) target of creating a world free of hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

Every year, the SOFI report highlights a particular theme and this year’s edition centres on urbanisation. According to the report, almost seven in ten people are projected to live in cities by 2050, and changes to global food systems are being driven by increasing urbanisation. We hope that the policy, technology and investment solutions shared in the report will be adopted and implemented by governments.

“After two years of dramatic rises in global hunger, precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, it would be easy to consider this year’s relatively unchanged global hunger levels as a success. However, this year’s SOFI report shows that there is a growing disparity between regions and populations affected by hunger, demonstrating that now is not the time for complacency, with hunger and malnutrition becoming especially prevalent in subregions of Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East.”

“In Syria for example, 15 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, as a result of the convergence of 12 years of conflict, the recent earthquake, and an inflation crisis. In Somalia, 8.3 million are struggling to survive a prolonged drought which has been exacerbated by climate change.”

“Charities such as Action Against Hunger provide vital support to affected communities, including access to nutritious food, health services, and livelihood programs. However, the scale of the challenge laid bare by the SOFI report requires a wide-ranging response from the UK and other governments; which must include the reversal of recent cuts to overseas aid budgets which have reduced the UK’s ability to assist people most vulnerable to hunger,” said Kate Munro, Action Against Hunger UK’s Head of Advocacy.