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World facing a worst global hunger crisis

Gs Paper-2

Syllabus: Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger.

 

Context:

As per the UN, global hunger is on the rise, reversing decades of progress.  Climate change, extreme weather events, conflicts and economic downturns are some of the factors driving growing food insecurity.

 

Status:

  • As per the FAO report (Global Report on Food Crises): Around 193 million people in 53 countries or territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels
    • Acute food insecurity is at a record high.
  • Hunger Hotspots: Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen are “hunger hotspots” facing catastrophic conditions.
    • A total of 750,000people are already facing starvation and death in Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.
    • The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the Sahel region, Sudan and Syria remain “countries of very high concern” where conditions are critical, and deteriorating.
  • Children: Some 13.6 million children globally under the age of five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
    • Even if these children survive, they may suffer from stunting, which has life-long consequences.
  • Rising inequality and economic instability could lead to social and political unrest in some of the worst-affected countries in the coming months.
  • Global Hunger Index 2021: India slipped seven places to rank 101 among 116 countries. The level of hunger in India was ‘serious’ according to the report.
  • India and Food Insecurity: India has the largest stock of grain in the world (120 million tonnes) but still accounts for a quarter of the world’s food-insecure population.
    • Estimates show that, in 2020, over 237 crore people were grappling with food insecurity globally, an increase of about 32 crores from 2019.

 

Causes of worldwide hunger:

  • Violence and conflict: They remain the primary drivers of acute hunger, and conflict levels and violence against civilians have increased in 2022.
  • Displacement: Conflict has led to new waves of displacement, forcing people to abandon their homes, land and livelihoods, reducing the amount of food locally available in their communities.
    • In the Sahel alone, close to 2.8 million people have been internally displaced.
  • Other reasons: The war in Ukraine has combined with the climate crisis, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unequal recovery to create a perfect storm of needs in developing countries.

 

Current Affairs

 

Solutions:

  • Investing in Development: As per the UN, it requires just $300 million — just 0.1 per cent of the overseas development aid spent in a year.  To put that figure into perspective, 62 new food billionaires have been created in the past two years.
  • Stabilize the global market: We must stabilize global markets, reduce volatility and tackle the uncertainty of commodity prices. We must restore fertilizer availability, especially for smallholder farmers now.
  • Food is a fundamental human right: We must alleviate immediate suffering through humanitarian assistance and by investing in social protection systems.  Invest in a long-term vision of a food systems transformation, (committed last year at the United Nations Food Systems Summit)
  • Country-specific responses: In Yemen, for example, the focus is on identifying key inefficiencies in the political economy of the food system. In Haiti, the emphasis is on diversification of the economy, improved livelihoods for women and youth, and strategic partnerships for agriculture and fisheries.
  • FAO solution: The international community calls for a shift towards better prevention, anticipation, and targeting to address the root causes of food crises

 

Insta Links

Global Hunger Index 2021

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Despite various interventions to tackle hunger in the country, the issue continues to be a persistent sore in the nation’s food security, undermining its developmental goals. Comment. (250 words, 15 marks)

Q. Which of the following is/are the indicator/indicators used by IFPRI to compute the Global Hunger Index Report? (UPSC CSE 2016)

  1. Undernourishment
  2. Child stunting
  3. Child mortality

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 3 only

Answer: C

 

Current Affairs

Sources: UNFAO,